Apple industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts new AirPods featuring a wireless charging case will debut in the first quarter of 2019. An “all-new design model” will follow, in the first quarter of 2020.
The prediction comes as part of a brief research note discussing Apple’s supply partners for the wireless earpods. Kuo says the updates will drive strong growth in the next few years.
Kuo, via MacRumors:
We attribute AirPods’ dramatic growth (14–16mn, 26–28mn, 50–55mn, 70–80mn and 100–110mn units in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively) to 1) the upgraded model with wireless charging support to benefit shipments to launch in 1Q19, 2) the all-new design model to boost replacement demand to launch in 1Q20, 3) an innovative user experience, and 4) high integration with iOS and Mac products. In summary, AirPods is Apple’s most popular accessory ever, and it currently has the best growth momentum among Apple products.
Kup mentions that less than 5% of iPhone owners currently also own AirPods. There are over 1 billion iPhone users worldwide, meaning there are “great potential growth opportunities” for the wireless earpods.
Kuo had predicted we would likely see a launch of upgraded AirPods in the second half of 2018. However, Apple’s difficulties with its AirPower charging mat may have impacted Apple’s AirPods plans a bit,