Updated AirPods with wireless charging case expected in early 2019, redesign coming in lat...

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has updated his predictions for Apple wireless earbud line, with a relatively minor upgrade expected in the next six months, and a more pronounced revision with design changes launching before the end of 2020.

Detail of the ear-facing part of Apple's AirPods


In a note seen by AppleInsider, Kuo is expecting AirPods with "wireless charging support" and a Bluetooth spec upgrade likely to Bluetooth 5.0 and possibly a revised W-series chip to ship in the first calendar quarter of 2019. This may be nothing more than the already-announced Wireless AirPods Charging case, though. Kuo said nothing in the note about the AirPower mat, still yet to be released after being shown off by Apple brass over a year ago.

More time is spent on the 2020 upgrade in the note, however. That revision will have an unspecified "all-new design," with Apple's intent for the release said to push replacement of the first generation of the product.

Also expected by Kuo is a nebulous "innovative user experience" from them, and a "high integration with iOS and Mac products."

Kuo appears to have unrealistic growth estimates for AirPods, though. While the estimates for about 16 million and 28 million AirPods sold in 2017 and 2018 seem reasonable, predictions of 55 million, 80 million, and 110 million units units sold in 2019, 2020, and 2021 respectively seem overly optimistic at first glance, despite Kuo expecting a larger push towards AirPods than iPhone upgrades.

Kuo was one of the first to get details about the AirPods correct, but he has missed the ball a few times on AirPods, however. Notably, at the tail-end of 2017, Kuo was expecting an improved model to debut in the second half of 2018, which has not materialized.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    irelandireland Posts: 17,474member
    Lest with forget Apple's inevitable price hike for them. $2,000 iPhone... you can do it, Tim. Sigh.
    edited December 2 avon b7mike54
  • Reply 2 of 32
    Anyone who thinks that adoption rate is unrealistic probably doesn't own a pair or know people who do.  My girlfriend just bought five pairs of these as Xmas gifts for people who work in her office, as they are *transformative* for people who work on the phone like they all do.  A doctor friend I had dinner with last night said that a number of admins in her ward were just issued them.  They are phenomenal.  I've been holding off pending release of the first major revision and I'm feeling extremely impatient about it.
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 32
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,725administrator
    Anyone who thinks that adoption rate is unrealistic probably doesn't own a pair or know people who do.  My girlfriend just bought five pairs of these as Xmas gifts for people who work in her office, as they are *transformative* for people who work on the phone like they all do.  A doctor friend I had dinner with last night said that a number of admins in her ward were just issued them.  They are phenomenal.  I've been holding off pending release of the first major revision and I'm feeling extremely impatient about it.
    We have several pairs, yes. While we agree that they are phenomenal, they don't feel like 110 million units sold in a single year phenomenal because of market forces. Those numbers from Kuo aren't total in the field, they are sales figures per year.

    110 million in the field in total by 2021? I'll go with that. 110 million sold in 2021 alone seems improbable. That's the think about analysts predicting sales numbers for products that don't get broken out individually -- we'll never know if they were right, and they can make the predictions and claim that they got it right without fear.
    edited December 2 chiabradchatelliermuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 32
    The lack of noise isolation is the one thing holding me back on these. Not only does the sound quality take a hit, but these are near useless while I am mowing the grass or flying, for example, and I have to turn them up way too loud at the gym. It's this reason that I am sticking with my trusty Powerbeats 3's.
  • Reply 5 of 32
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,282member
    Anyone who thinks that adoption rate is unrealistic probably doesn't own a pair or know people who do.  My girlfriend just bought five pairs of these as Xmas gifts for people who work in her office, as they are *transformative* for people who work on the phone like they all do.  A doctor friend I had dinner with last night said that a number of admins in her ward were just issued them.  They are phenomenal.  I've been holding off pending release of the first major revision and I'm feeling extremely impatient about it.
    We have several pairs, yes. While we agree that they are phenomenal, 110 million units sold in a single year isn't. Those numbers from Kuo aren't total in the field, they are sales figures per year.

    110 million in the field in total by 2021? I'll go with that. 110 million sold in 2021 alone seems improbable. That's the think about analysts predicting sales numbers for products that don't get broken out individually -- we'll never know if they were right, and they can make the predictions and claim that they got it right without fear.
    Oh I don’t know. How many iPhones are there? 

    Headphones have to be one of the top accessories purchased for an iPhone, maybe even over cases. It’s a must-have product for many, with wireless headphones a quickly growing segment.

    Albeit anecdotal, I’ve seen far more AirPods in the field than Apple Watches. And, I’ve seen them increase much more quickly than the watch. The watch needs the phone, but the phone needs the AirPods, and at a much lower price point. Given the size of the market both products have to potentially permeate, and given the perceived uptake by the AirPods relative to the watch in the first years of their launch, it would seem like the AirPods have a much greater chance to have a much larger uptake into the massive customer base that is the iPhone. 110 million AirPods is only 10% of the current installed iPhone base? That definitely seems doable in a year as wireless continues its growth, and the AirPods continue their development. By contrast, the watch is thought to be barely even something like 3% after as many years?
    edited December 2
  • Reply 6 of 32
    AF_Hitt said:
    The lack of noise isolation is the one thing holding me back on these. Not only does the sound quality take a hit, but these are near useless while I am mowing the grass or flying, for example, and I have to turn them up way too loud at the gym. It's this reason that I am sticking with my trusty Powerbeats 3's.
    My SO prefers them for this reason while running, needing to be aware of outside sound. 

    Besides work calls, I wear them in the gym and have never had a problem of needing to turn them up too loud, they serve this use case perfectly. 
    mwhitewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 32
    mac_128 said:
    Anyone who thinks that adoption rate is unrealistic probably doesn't own a pair or know people who do.  My girlfriend just bought five pairs of these as Xmas gifts for people who work in her office, as they are *transformative* for people who work on the phone like they all do.  A doctor friend I had dinner with last night said that a number of admins in her ward were just issued them.  They are phenomenal.  I've been holding off pending release of the first major revision and I'm feeling extremely impatient about it.
    We have several pairs, yes. While we agree that they are phenomenal, 110 million units sold in a single year isn't. Those numbers from Kuo aren't total in the field, they are sales figures per year.

    110 million in the field in total by 2021? I'll go with that. 110 million sold in 2021 alone seems improbable. That's the think about analysts predicting sales numbers for products that don't get broken out individually -- we'll never know if they were right, and they can make the predictions and claim that they got it right without fear.
    Albeit anecdotal, I’ve seen far more AirPods in the field than Apple Watches. And, I’ve seen them increase much more quickly than the watch. The watch needs the phone, but the phone needs the AirPods, and at a much lower price point. 
    False, the iPhone doesn’t need AirPods, as one can use any BT headphones, any wired legacy headphones, or the freebie lightning headphones in the box. 
    AppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 32
    AF_Hitt said:
    The lack of noise isolation is the one thing holding me back on these. Not only does the sound quality take a hit, but these are near useless while I am mowing the grass or flying, for example, and I have to turn them up way too loud at the gym. It's this reason that I am sticking with my trusty Powerbeats 3's.
    My SO prefers them for this reason while running, needing to be aware of outside sound. 

    Besides work calls, I wear them in the gym and have never had a problem of needing to turn them up too loud, they serve this use case perfectly. 
    Awesome, glad they work for you guys, they really are an impressive piece of tech! I love the benefits the W1 chip provides, and it's one of the main reasons I got the Powerbeats over other options like the Bose Soundsports. I wish music would auto pause/play when I take out and put in the Powerbeats buds, but I'm interested to see if Apple makes fully wireless Powerbeats 4's that will integrate this kind of feature.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 32
    macguimacgui Posts: 963member
    The lack of sound isolation with AirPods is a mixed blessing. I've found that walking city streets when traffic is heavy means cranking the volume to otherwise intolerable levels, and paying for it for hours later. On the other hand, it helps keep me aware of my surroundings.

    Because the W1 chip is helpful, I may consider some Powerbeats for city walks. For all other activity, I love the AirPods. I use them enough I wish the battery life was longer. Using them one at a time isn't really rewarding, and I hate taking recess to charge them, even though a 'quick charge' gives me a fair return on listening time.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 32
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,638member
    ireland said:
    Lest with forget Apple's inevitable price hike for them. $2,000 iPhone... you can do it, Tim. Sigh.
    Because nothing else in this world is also increasing in price...*sighs*
    king editor the grateStrangeDaysRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 32
    macxpress said:
    ireland said:
    Lest with forget Apple's inevitable price hike for them. $2,000 iPhone... you can do it, Tim. Sigh.
    Because nothing else in this world is also increasing in price...*sighs*
    Setting your sights too low... why not $3000? Surely the thought has crossed Tim Cook’s mind already. 😜
    irelandwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 32
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,374member
    $3000 is nuthun.  Cookie earned that before breakfast.
    ireland
  • Reply 13 of 32
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 3,253member
    Anyone who thinks that adoption rate is unrealistic probably doesn't own a pair or know people who do.  My girlfriend just bought five pairs of these as Xmas gifts for people who work in her office, as they are *transformative* for people who work on the phone like they all do.  A doctor friend I had dinner with last night said that a number of admins in her ward were just issued them.  They are phenomenal.  I've been holding off pending release of the first major revision and I'm feeling extremely impatient about it.
    We have several pairs, yes. While we agree that they are phenomenal, they don't feel like 110 million units sold in a single year phenomenal because of market forces. Those numbers from Kuo aren't total in the field, they are sales figures per year.

    110 million in the field in total by 2021? I'll go with that. 110 million sold in 2021 alone seems improbable. That's the think about analysts predicting sales numbers for products that don't get broken out individually -- we'll never know if they were right, and they can make the predictions and claim that they got it right without fear.
    My first thought when I saw that prediction was:   "Apple is headed towards all wireless iPhones" and dropping the price of Airpods substantially, perhaps by producing a "basic" set, could help them get there -- and sell a LOT more Airpods.

    Basically, I've been expecting an iPhone with NO ports -- no headphone jack, lightening or USB-C port.  But wondering how they would deal with the the earbud problem.  They certainly couldn't take away a port and simultaneously tack $150 or so onto the price of the iPhone for a pair of Airpods.  But, if they had a basic Airpod that cost a reasonable amount, they could supply them with the portless iPhones.

    Just a thought.  But I'd bet a million or so that Apple has already looked into it.
    mac_128
  • Reply 14 of 32
    AF_Hitt said:
    The lack of noise isolation is the one thing holding me back on these. Not only does the sound quality take a hit, but these are near useless while I am mowing the grass or flying, for example, and I have to turn them up way too loud at the gym. It's this reason that I am sticking with my trusty Powerbeats 3's.
    I would have thought that your wanting noise cancelling was finicky and frivolous -- until we got my grandson a pair of Bose news cancelling headphones -- WHAT A DIFFERENCE!  Not just in noisy environments but in most any environment -- it brings out the music so clean and pure.   Incredible!  

    So, yes, I've been thinking the same.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    macgui said:
    The lack of sound isolation with AirPods is a mixed blessing. I've found that walking city streets when traffic is heavy means cranking the volume to otherwise intolerable levels, and paying for it for hours later. On the other hand, it helps keep me aware of my surroundings.

    Because the W1 chip is helpful, I may consider some Powerbeats for city walks. For all other activity, I love the AirPods. I use them enough I wish the battery life was longer. Using them one at a time isn't really rewarding, and I hate taking recess to charge them, even though a 'quick charge' gives me a fair return on listening time.


    I'm not sure you would want (effective) noise cancelling while walking city streets -- my grandson's Bose has it and it blocks darn near everything.   It would be liking being deaf -- not able to hear horns or warnings, etc...   One could do it, but you would have to be very careful.

    But, his Bose provide the ability to select Full noise cancellation, moderate or none.   So, that might take care of that problem.
  • Reply 16 of 32
    bb-15bb-15 Posts: 236member
    mac_128 said:
    Anyone who thinks that adoption rate is unrealistic probably doesn't own a pair or know people who do.  My girlfriend just bought five pairs of these as Xmas gifts for people who work in her office, as they are *transformative* for people who work on the phone like they all do.  A doctor friend I had dinner with last night said that a number of admins in her ward were just issued them.  They are phenomenal.  I've been holding off pending release of the first major revision and I'm feeling extremely impatient about it.
    We have several pairs, yes. While we agree that they are phenomenal, 110 million units sold in a single year isn't. Those numbers from Kuo aren't total in the field, they are sales figures per year.

    110 million in the field in total by 2021? I'll go with that. 110 million sold in 2021 alone seems improbable. That's the think about analysts predicting sales numbers for products that don't get broken out individually -- we'll never know if they were right, and they can make the predictions and claim that they got it right without fear.

    Albeit anecdotal, I’ve seen far more AirPods in the field than Apple Watches. And, I’ve seen them increase much more quickly than the watch. 
    I’ve had the opposite experience (maybe because I’m not in school, I don’t belong to a gym & I don’t participate in runner/biking groups).
    I’ve seen multiple Apple Watches in the field (shopping & at doctor’s offices). 
    I’ve seen zero AirPods in public; where people need to pay attention to where they are going & are interacting with people.  
    In public an Apple Watch is a device which can simply be worn in almost any situation where it might be useful as needed (for quietly getting notifications or quickly making payments).  

    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 32
    macxpress said:
    ireland said:
    Lest with forget Apple's inevitable price hike for them. $2,000 iPhone... you can do it, Tim. Sigh.
    Because nothing else in this world is also increasing in price...*sighs*
    Apple’s gross magins have been bw 37-39% for years, including 2017-today. So, including iPhone X and now the XS. Higher component cost is more likely be the reason for higher price than whatever half baked narrative people make up. 
    Rayz2016watto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 18 of 32
    laytechlaytech Posts: 124member
    AirPods are excellent, the sounds is great, their convenience is terrific. When used with the AppleWatch, exercise is so enjoyable.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 32
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,282member
    Anyone who thinks that adoption rate is unrealistic probably doesn't own a pair or know people who do.  My girlfriend just bought five pairs of these as Xmas gifts for people who work in her office, as they are *transformative* for people who work on the phone like they all do.  A doctor friend I had dinner with last night said that a number of admins in her ward were just issued them.  They are phenomenal.  I've been holding off pending release of the first major revision and I'm feeling extremely impatient about it.
    We have several pairs, yes. While we agree that they are phenomenal, they don't feel like 110 million units sold in a single year phenomenal because of market forces. Those numbers from Kuo aren't total in the field, they are sales figures per year.

    110 million in the field in total by 2021? I'll go with that. 110 million sold in 2021 alone seems improbable. That's the think about analysts predicting sales numbers for products that don't get broken out individually -- we'll never know if they were right, and they can make the predictions and claim that they got it right without fear.
    My first thought when I saw that prediction was:   "Apple is headed towards all wireless iPhones" and dropping the price of Airpods substantially, perhaps by producing a "basic" set, could help them get there -- and sell a LOT more Airpods.

    Basically, I've been expecting an iPhone with NO ports -- no headphone jack, lightening or USB-C port.  But wondering how they would deal with the the earbud problem.  They certainly couldn't take away a port and simultaneously tack $150 or so onto the price of the iPhone for a pair of Airpods.  But, if they had a basic Airpod that cost a reasonable amount, they could supply them with the portless iPhones.

    Just a thought.  But I'd bet a million or so that Apple has already looked into it.

    My theory is that there will be a port in the form of the SmartConnector, or some descendent. Apple could route analogue audio over that port, along with USB 2.0 data speeds (which is what they do now over Lightning), and charging. So yet another proprietary dongle, but still the option would exist in the limited circumstances it would be necessary — including resetting a problem device.


    bb-15 said:
    mac_128 said:
    Anyone who thinks that adoption rate is unrealistic probably doesn't own a pair or know people who do.  My girlfriend just bought five pairs of these as Xmas gifts for people who work in her office, as they are *transformative* for people who work on the phone like they all do.  A doctor friend I had dinner with last night said that a number of admins in her ward were just issued them.  They are phenomenal.  I've been holding off pending release of the first major revision and I'm feeling extremely impatient about it.
    We have several pairs, yes. While we agree that they are phenomenal, 110 million units sold in a single year isn't. Those numbers from Kuo aren't total in the field, they are sales figures per year.

    110 million in the field in total by 2021? I'll go with that. 110 million sold in 2021 alone seems improbable. That's the think about analysts predicting sales numbers for products that don't get broken out individually -- we'll never know if they were right, and they can make the predictions and claim that they got it right without fear.

    Albeit anecdotal, I’ve seen far more AirPods in the field than Apple Watches. And, I’ve seen them increase much more quickly than the watch. 
    I’ve had the opposite experience (maybe because I’m not in school, I don’t belong to a gym & I don’t participate in runner/biking groups).
    I’ve seen multiple Apple Watches in the field (shopping & at doctor’s offices). 
    I’ve seen zero AirPods in public; where people need to pay attention to where they are going & are interacting with people.  
    In public an Apple Watch is a device which can simply be worn in almost any situation where it might be useful as needed (for quietly getting notifications or quickly making payments).  

    Well that’s anecdotal evidence for you. I work on a large corporate campus and I see them worn by professionals all day long. I see UPS drivers with them, I see fast food workers with them, I see people walking down the streets with them, in grocery stores, everywhere.

    I have no idea why your experience differs from mine, but I live in an urban area of 10 million people and I see them everywhere, all the time. Watches not so much.

    Given that the watch is an extension of the phone which people are already carrying, it makes sense why it wouldn’t be in massive demand, relative to the AirPods which people need to make calls and listen to music, especially since there is no headphone jack in the latest models, and the iPhone otherwise needs a dongle, or special Lightning headset to work with them. While I totally appreciate the watch for what it does, and have used, and purchased them for others, it’s just not a necessity for most people yet. Whereas headphones and headsets have been a part of mobile phone use since the iPhone and Android were released.
  • Reply 20 of 32
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 783member
    AF_Hitt said:
    The lack of noise isolation is the one thing holding me back on these. Not only does the sound quality take a hit, but these are near useless while I am mowing the grass or flying, for example, and I have to turn them up way too loud at the gym. It's this reason that I am sticking with my trusty Powerbeats 3's.
    I would have thought that your wanting noise cancelling was finicky and frivolous -- until we got my grandson a pair of Bose news cancelling headphones -- WHAT A DIFFERENCE!  Not just in noisy environments but in most any environment -- it brings out the music so clean and pure.   Incredible!  

    So, yes, I've been thinking the same.
    Yes, being able to cancel out the news would be incredible!
    douglas baileyfastasleep
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