Apple’s upcoming “iPhone 12” may not include a pair of EarPods in the box. Well-connected Apple industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple may do this to drive demand for the company’s popular wireless AirPods earbuds, sold separately.
Apple has included earbuds in the iPhone’s box since the first iPhone rolled off the assembly line in 2007. Likely since the original iPhone was promoted much like an iPod that made phone calls.
Kuo makes the claim in a TF International Securities research note issued to investors on Wednesday and shared by MacRumors. Kuo says he expects Apple to omit wired earbuds from the iPhone’s packaging, to increase demand for the Cupertino firm’s wireless AirPods.
Kuo sees demand for AirPods to increase in the second half of the year, thanks to the removal of earpods form the iPhone’s box, as well as an end to AirPods inventory shortages by the second half, and Apple’s expected AirPods promotion in late 2020.
Kup says AirPods shipments are likely to be at their lowest point in the second quarter, thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, with total shipments declining by 29% from the previous quarter to 17.2 million.
However, Kuo expects increasing demand during the third quarter of 2020, increasing through the second half of the year when Apple’s expected AirPods promotion takes place. Overall, Kuo predicts shipments to grow from his original estimate of 80-90 million pairs to 93.8 million pairs.