Well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple is working on both updated AirPods and a pair of Apple-branded “high-end over-ear headphones.” Kuo says the new over-ear headphones will see a late 2018 release at the soonest. Kuo’s remarks came as part of a new research note.
Apple to have own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones with all-new design; to be as convenient as AirPods with better sound quality; shipments to begin 4Q18F at earliest; Primax & SZS will be the key suppliers & will benefit from high ASPs.
We believe that after AirPods and HomePod, Apple’s next addition will be high-end over-ear headphones, making its acoustic accessory lineup more complete. Existing suppliers Primax and SZS will be Apple’s partners on this new product.
Primax will receive assembly orders on its familiarity with the acoustic business, and SZS is likely to use MIM technology advantages as leverage to become the exclusive or main MIM part supplier.
The new headphones will be priced higher than AirPods and should help boost the business momentum of Primax as the assembly provider.
Kuo’s note about new AirPods comes on the heels of a report last week from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman that said the new AirPods should launch sometime this year. Kuo says to expect a second half 2018 launch for the updated wireless earbuds..
We think the main difference of the upgraded AirPods, which won’t look much different from current AirPods, will be the wireless charging case and the adoption of an upgraded W1 chip. We believe that the charging case will adopt different processes for the external appearance and to meet thermal requirements from wireless charging, the hinge price will rise 60-80%.
Bloomberg’s report also indicated that a second AirPods update, sometime in 2019, would bring water resistance to the wireless earbuds.