New Apple AirPods with smaller components could launch in late 2018

Posted:
in General Discussion
Even though Apple struggles to keep up with demand for the current AirPods design, the company may be working on hardware improvements to debut in the second half of 2018, according to well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.




The KGI Securities analyst issued a pair of notes to investors on Tuesday, copies of which were obtained by AppleInsider, discussing the availability of AirPods at the moment, as well as the potential for new hardware next year. Specifically, he predicts that upgraded AirPods are on tap for the second half of 2018, which he said could have a higher average selling price, and a smaller quartz component from supplier TXC.

Little else was said about the possible AirPods update, suggesting that any potential improvements to the current design would not be major.

Launched in late 2016, Apple's AirPods remain a hot seller, and the company struggles to keep up with demand. With six days to go before Christmas, new AirPods orders won't ship until after the holiday, meaning last-minute gift buyers are out of luck.

Kuo acknowledged these issues in his notes on Tuesday, saying that Apple is "struggling to keep up with holiday season demand." In particular, he believes that battery radio frequency printed circuit boards are a key bottleneck for the completely wireless headphones.

He expects supply to improve heading into 2018, allowing AirPods shipments to grow 100 percent year over year to 28 million units. In a previous research note, Kuo declared AirPods "the most important accessory in Apple's wireless ecosystem."




AirPods shipped in late 2016, but Apple has struggled to keep up with demand for much of their availability. Despite the Christmas shortage, availability has improved in recent months, with an improved assembly process and increased capacity from adding a second manufacturer.

While Inventec used to be the sole supplier of AirPods, Luxshare-ICT has reportedly joined the mix recently. As a result, he sees Luxshare-ICT potentially edging its way into Apple's HomePod supply chain as well.

The $159 AirPods include Apple's custom W1 wireless chip, which allows easy pairing across a range of devices signed into the same iCloud account. The accessory is expected to soon be enhanced by a wireless charging case that will be compatible with Apple's AirPower charging mat.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    If it’s more expensive it has to be much better sounding AirPod!
    jahbladeschlackbrian green
  • Reply 2 of 32
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,861member
    Will they come with a faster ship date? /s
  • Reply 3 of 32
    AdambombAdambomb Posts: 12unconfirmed, member
    They need to be able to MUTE the microphone for phone calls on the ear pieces
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 4 of 32


    He expects supply to improve heading into 2018, allowing AirPods shipments to grow 100 percent year over year to 28 million units. In a previous research note, Kuo declared AirPods "the most important accessory in Apple's wireless ecosystem."


    I would like to know how much the Beats branded wireless headphones are selling. If this 28 million units figure is even remotely accurate, the Beats purchase was a very smart bye. 
    badmonk
  • Reply 5 of 32
    No surprise here. :) This is what Apple does. I love mine. It's the most Apple-like device I've bought recently! By that I mean, no one else has come close to duplicating the beautiful design and features!

    Reminds me when I got the first iPod Shuffle. White, one little light, very simple design. And it achieved 80% market share the Friday after it was released! :)

    Best.

    P.S. I would really recommend them to everyone. :)
    zroger73tjwolfjahbladeschlackbrucemcStrangeDaysbrian greenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 32
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,060member
    Of course analysts are free to prognosticate all they want but I feel for those users who take this stuff to heart and delay purchases because the improved model is ‘just around the corner.’ We always the wailing and gnashing of teeth when a new model does appear and the model a user just purchased is now last year’s product. Some are livid that Apple didn’t personally contact them to advise the new model was coming out the next day.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 32
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 213member
    The Watch Series 3 and iPhone X  have vastly better  battery life than their predecessors.  Maybe the Gen2 AirPods will also.  Not that it matters that much, the AirPods have always been fine.  But longer is always better, right?
    edited December 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 32
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 274member
    LukeCage said:


    He expects supply to improve heading into 2018, allowing AirPods shipments to grow 100 percent year over year to 28 million units. In a previous research note, Kuo declared AirPods "the most important accessory in Apple's wireless ecosystem."


    I would like to know how much the Beats branded wireless headphones are selling. If this 28 million units figure is even remotely accurate, the Beats purchase was a very smart bye. 
    What have you read to suggest that AirPods were designed by Beats engineers?  Aside from the fact that Apple's been building headphones for 10 years, most of the 'magic' of the AirPods actually happens in areas that have nothing to do with Beats' core expertise: Bluetooth, chip design (W1), and integration with the iOS/watchOS.

    jahbladepropodjbdragonpatchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 32
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,884member
    LukeCage said:


    He expects supply to improve heading into 2018, allowing AirPods shipments to grow 100 percent year over year to 28 million units. In a previous research note, Kuo declared AirPods "the most important accessory in Apple's wireless ecosystem."


    I would like to know how much the Beats branded wireless headphones are selling. If this 28 million units figure is even remotely accurate, the Beats purchase was a very smart bye. 
    Why would AirPod sales have anything to do with Beats? The W1 chip is all Apple.
    jahbladejbdragonpatchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 32
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,861member
    LukeCage said:


    He expects supply to improve heading into 2018, allowing AirPods shipments to grow 100 percent year over year to 28 million units. In a previous research note, Kuo declared AirPods "the most important accessory in Apple's wireless ecosystem."


    I would like to know how much the Beats branded wireless headphones are selling. If this 28 million units figure is even remotely accurate, the Beats purchase was a very smart bye. 
    The Beats purchase was a very smart purchase regardless. Its already more than paid for itself by far, and not just with headphone sales either. 
    schlackpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 32
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 274member
    No surprise here. :) This is what Apple does. I love mine. It's the most Apple-like device I've bought recently! By that I mean, no one else has come close to duplicating the beautiful design and features!

    Reminds me when I got the first iPod Shuffle. White, one little light, very simple design. And it achieved 80% market share the Friday after it was released! :)

    Best.

    P.S. I would really recommend them to everyone. :)
    Completely agree.  While the Apple Watch has helped me (finally) to shed quite a few pounds and live healthier, the AirPods are truly a pleasure to use.  There's just no describing the feeling of not fumbling with or untangling wires, of not having to answer Bluetooth connection questions, of not having to preface a Siri request with "Hey Siri", of almost never having to consciously having to charge the things (the Airpods' charge lasts long enough than I care to keep any device in my ear at a time; after putting them in their case for just a few minutes, they're ready to bring it on again.  I only charge the case once a week.)

    Even the lack of volume control and skip track - which I initially griped about - turns out to be a non-issue.  At least for Apple Watch owners - since when you play music, those controls automatically appear on the watch face.  Volume control is adjusted by turning the crown, you get skip/back/pause, and track title too.

    My only continued quibbles with AirPods are minor and revolve around the design: I don't have particularly big hands, but sometimes I struggle to get those things out of their case.  They're so damn slippery and rounded - no place to get a grip!  Also, I found out the hard way that while the AirPods themselves are relatively water proof, the case definitely is not!  So don't do like me and forget them in your jeans pocket when you start the wash :-(   Maybe a rubber seal around the lid?  That would also help with the loud sound whenever you close the lid - has woken up my wife on a couple occasion (the lid is slippery too!).  Also, things get pretty cruddy around the hinges if you keep 'em in your pocket.
    propodwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,579member
    LukeCage said:


    He expects supply to improve heading into 2018, allowing AirPods shipments to grow 100 percent year over year to 28 million units. In a previous research note, Kuo declared AirPods "the most important accessory in Apple's wireless ecosystem."


    I would like to know how much the Beats branded wireless headphones are selling. If this 28 million units figure is even remotely accurate, the Beats purchase was a very smart bye. 
    The possible 28M sales figure for 2018 is for the APPLE-branded Airpods, not Beats.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 13 of 32
    I LOVE my earpods; treating them like an extension of my vehicle's sound system. They did disappear for about a month and a half under the couch however 😕. 
  • Reply 14 of 32
    If they would just allow for the case to accommodate silicone ear hook (there are a bunch of third party suppliers) or even to include apple branded versions I'd buy these. Without this, they don't fit my ears, and I don't want to have to remove them and put them on each time I put the headphones in their charging case (which would be the only current solution). Battery life and dynamic response would also be great to improve. Sound quality was ok when I tested them out, but definitely worse than any of my other headphones (i.e. Sony/Bose/Koss). Oh, and damn, if they could drop in noise canceling, and address the above issues, I'd easily pay $269 for these.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 15 of 32
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,527member
    Any speculation as to what updated AirPods would have?  Better battery life would seem to be one.  Perhaps some sound cancelling functionality.  BT5 support.

    As I have said many times, a few additional colours would help drive demand.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 32
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    tjwolf said:
    No surprise here. :) This is what Apple does. I love mine. It's the most Apple-like device I've bought recently! By that I mean, no one else has come close to duplicating the beautiful design and features!

    Reminds me when I got the first iPod Shuffle. White, one little light, very simple design. And it achieved 80% market share the Friday after it was released! :)

    Best.

    P.S. I would really recommend them to everyone. :)
    Completely agree.  While the Apple Watch has helped me (finally) to shed quite a few pounds and live healthier, the AirPods are truly a pleasure to use.  There's just no describing the feeling of not fumbling with or untangling wires, of not having to answer Bluetooth connection questions, of not having to preface a Siri request with "Hey Siri", of almost never having to consciously having to charge the things (the Airpods' charge lasts long enough than I care to keep any device in my ear at a time; after putting them in their case for just a few minutes, they're ready to bring it on again.  I only charge the case once a week.)

    Even the lack of volume control and skip track - which I initially griped about - turns out to be a non-issue.  At least for Apple Watch owners - since when you play music, those controls automatically appear on the watch face.  Volume control is adjusted by turning the crown, you get skip/back/pause, and track title too.

    My only continued quibbles with AirPods are minor and revolve around the design: I don't have particularly big hands, but sometimes I struggle to get those things out of their case.  They're so damn slippery and rounded - no place to get a grip!  Also, I found out the hard way that while the AirPods themselves are relatively water proof, the case definitely is not!  So don't do like me and forget them in your jeans pocket when you start the wash :-(   Maybe a rubber seal around the lid?  That would also help with the loud sound whenever you close the lid - has woken up my wife on a couple occasion (the lid is slippery too!).  Also, things get pretty cruddy around the hinges if you keep 'em in your pocket.
    As Gruber's video showed, we're supposed to rotate them out of their recesses in the case by pushing out at the top. In other words, put your finger in the gap where the light is and push out, right for the right one, then left for the left one.

    Easy, but you have to do it with awareness. Very Zen. Gruber's video is how I found out about the trick.


    edited December 2017 pscooter63patchythepirateFoliotjwolfRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 32
    When they come out & if they get 8-10 hr battery life , I will replace my BeatsX ,which I also love thanks to the W1 & lightning charging.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 32
    ksecksec Posts: 1,558member
    I think, it is likely a new W1s ( Bluetooth only ) update to Bluetooth 5, better range, higher energy efficiency, a slightly longer battery. The higher ASP is interesting because for the first time ever I actually think the an Apple Product is pretty cheap.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,579member
    When they come out & if they get 8-10 hr battery life , I will replace my BeatsX ,which I also love thanks to the W1 & lightning charging.
    Ah, you're back....
  • Reply 20 of 32
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,051member
    I hope they take the chance to also improve audio quality while they're at it. They're some of the nicest earphones to use, though they still have that Earpod vaseline filter over the mids. 
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