Apple AirPods dominant, despite late entrance in 'totally wireless headphone' market segme...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2017
A new market analysis of the headphone market suggests that Apple's AirPods have driven the growth of the totally wireless headphone subcategory, accounting for nearly 85 percent of sales in the segment, as measured by dollars in the US.

Apple AirPods


Apple's AirPods have in part driven the headphone market by 22 percent when measured by dollar sales, according to a new study by market watchdog NPD. The study cites Bragi and Doppler Labs as being the first entrants into the totally wireless earbud market, but "the entrance of tech titans" have led to a spike in sales in the segment.

Since the start of the year, more than 900,000 totally wireless headphone units, by "mostly Apple" have been sold. Factors leading to the market segment dominance by Apple at present are "disruptive pricing, brand resonance, and excitement over the W1 chip."

To beat Apple in the market, new entrants, like Thursday's Bang and Olufsen and Sony offerings, will "have to provide some differentiation in features, sound quality, or associated services and applications" to challenge the AirPods in the market, according to NPD.

Apple's AirPods shipped to the public in December 2016. The $159 AirPods pair with an Apple iPhone 7 with the W1 wireless chip, and have a five-hour listening time with the included charging case boosting the total to over 24 hours of listening time
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    not surprising, they have not been able to keep them in stores long enough. my wife was going every day to an apple reseller here in Korea and they never had a pair, always sold out. 
    I tried one time coming home from work and luckily they had one.
    picked up husband of the year until January.
    tokyojimumacky the mackylostkiwiwatto_cobratmayanton zuykov
  • Reply 2 of 42
    Love them!
    my airpods are used at work for business and while running. This plug is for anyone one the fence- they sound great and have never once fallen out of my ear while running 6 - 8 miles of single track and full of sweat. They may look the same as the corded, but I can assure you that they are 2 very different products. 
    Switch back and forth from computer to iPhone is about a 10 second process in beta high Sierra. 
    Can recharge about 5 times using the included battery pack - about 15 minutes to fully rechatge. Plenty of low battery warning. 
    equality72521lostkiwistanthemanlolliverpscooter63watto_cobraanton zuykovcornchip
  • Reply 3 of 42
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,036member
    This is surprisingly amazing. Every eyes on the upcoming iPhone, but one Apple product goes under the radar.
    StrangeDayslostkiwipscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 42
    Had mine since Christmas and am still as thrilled with them now as I was then. Echo GrabAsnookie - great fit, great sound. Managed to run the earpieces down before my morning commute the other day, and was up and running again within 10 minutes following a case charge. Just superb. 
    lostkiwistanthemanwatto_cobracornchip
  • Reply 5 of 42
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,096member
    Just remember the caterwauling and sarcastic comments posted in AI forums when these were announced. Remember that AirPods were laughed at, ridiculed. Remember the comments about how ugly there were, how easily they would fall out of people's ears, how stupid the entire concept was because Bluetooth audio 'sucks.' You know, the same reaction we get with every single Apple product release... ever.
    StrangeDayspolymniamacky the mackylostkiwiLukeCagelolliverpscooter63Rayz2016watto_cobraequality72521
  • Reply 6 of 42
    The Sony, Bang & Olufsen entrants have to be designed for the Android market.  Compared to Apple's AirPods they are over priced ($199 and $299 respectively vs AirPod's at $159) with weaker (3 hours and 4 hours respectively vs AirPod's 5 hours) batteries and chargers (Sony 2X charge for total of 6 hours playback time vs AirPod recharge totaling 24 hours playback, B & O not listed).  I can't imagine an iPhone user buying these.

    Given that Apple competitors largely rely on price for product differentiation, I suspect that Apple is selling the AirPods at slightly over cost to drive switchers to iPhone.

    Just another reason, if you needed one, to buy iPhone.
    StrangeDayslostkiwilolliverRayz2016watto_cobraequality72521cornchip
  • Reply 7 of 42
    Love em. Use for the gym in morning and then work calls during day. 

    Only thing I’ve noticed is my phone drains faster with the BT and Apple Music streaming. 
    lostkiwiwatto_cobraequality72521waverboy
  • Reply 8 of 42
    One more who loves his AirPods. Brilliant. 
    lostkiwistanthemanlolliverwatto_cobraanton zuykovcornchip
  • Reply 9 of 42
    It's a natural selection. #gbm
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 42
    AirPods: A 150.000.000$ business. 
    lostkiwiwatto_cobraequality72521cornchip
  • Reply 11 of 42
    The Sony, Bang & Olufsen entrants have to be designed for the Android market.  Compared to Apple's AirPods they are over priced ($199 and $299 respectively vs AirPod's at $159) with weaker (3 hours and 4 hours respectively vs AirPod's 5 hours) batteries and chargers (Sony 2X charge for total of 6 hours playback time vs AirPod recharge totaling 24 hours playback, B & O not listed).  

    Just another reason, if you needed one, to buy iPhone.
    The Android market isn't buying these things either...too Damn expensive... "Hey mon, the wired ones came free with the phone..."
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 42
    danvmdanvm Posts: 755member
    lkrupp said:
    Remember the comments about how ugly there were, how easily they would fall out of people's ears, how stupid the entire concept was because Bluetooth audio 'sucks.'
    I think all of these points still valid.  Personally I found them ugly, and looks like many people think the same.  Regarding the size, there are cases where AirPods won't fit, and it will fell or you'll hear a lot of external noise.  And Bluetooth audio isn't the best.  

    But still people are purchasing them, and I think is more related to their practicality than sound quality or appearance. 
  • Reply 13 of 42
    I've had my AirPods since last December. I listen to them more often than my $1000 Westone W-60's (wired IEM's). Besides the excellent sound, I like the AirPods' ability to let in a certain amount of external sound so I can hear when someone talks to me, or the birds tweeting while riding my bike. Great sound, great design.
    lolliverpscooter63watto_cobraequality72521cornchip
  • Reply 14 of 42
    I've owned other Bluetooth earbuds in the past and didn't care for them. I've always found the latency while watching video to be unbearable. Can any AirPod owners explain their experience? Does they work well no matter what service is being used (iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, personal media, etc)? Can I use them to stream sound from an ATV so I don't keep my wife up when she falls asleep at 8:30?
    lollivercornchip
  • Reply 15 of 42
    wigbywigby Posts: 689member
    cmert42 said:
    I've owned other Bluetooth earbuds in the past and didn't care for them. I've always found the latency while watching video to be unbearable. Can any AirPod owners explain their experience? Does they work well no matter what service is being used (iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, personal media, etc)? Can I use them to stream sound from an ATV so I don't keep my wife up when she falls asleep at 8:30?
    I use them regularly to watch ATV for that very reason. I stream Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video and YouTube from my iOS devices too and have no sync issues at all.
    LukeCagewatto_cobraequality72521StrangeDayscornchip
  • Reply 16 of 42
    cmert42 said:
    I've owned other Bluetooth earbuds in the past and didn't care for them. I've always found the latency while watching video to be unbearable. Can any AirPod owners explain their experience? Does they work well no matter what service is being used (iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, personal media, etc)? Can I use them to stream sound from an ATV so I don't keep my wife up when she falls asleep at 8:30?

    I don't have the AirPods but I do have the Beats with the same W1 chip. There is no latency when I view video on my iPad, AppleTV (4th Gen) or my iPhone. The AirPods I can only assume would be just as good based on the W1 chip.

    I have used iTunes, Netflix and several other services across these devices and the experience was consistently great.

    I have tried other Bluetooth headphones and speakers which all had at least some degree of latency. Based on my experience I would not recommend any Bluetooth headphones for watching video unless they contained the W1 chip. 
    pscooter63watto_cobracornchip
  • Reply 17 of 42
    @AppleInsider: The W1 chip doesn't only pair with an iPhone 7 but all iOS 10 devices. 
    StrangeDayscornchip
  • Reply 18 of 42

    Let us look into the Big picture:

    • Active iPhone 7 generation phones in use - 200 million (Approximately)
    • Total active iPhones in use - 800 million (Approximately)
    • Total AirPods in use - 1 million (Approximately, taken from this article)
    • % of iPhone 7 generation owners who also own an AirPod - ~0.5%
    • % of all iPhone owners who also own an AirPod - ~0.125%

    Looking at the big picture, the questions that I have:

    i) Is "wireless" the "Future" as told by Apple for eliminating the 3.5mm jack? Is it valid anymore, with 99.5% of the people using the "much derided" outdated old technology - wired headphones, instead of embracing the future - i.e. "wireless headphones"?

    ii) Don't we have enough evidence already that Apple users (forgetting about tech media/critics etc for a moment) have NOT bought into the "wireless future" that Apple was portraying, with their wallets, with just <1% of them buying into the idea?

    iii) Many people in this forum claimed that "wireless is the future". Do you agree that the "actual sales" for about 8 months suggest otherwise, at least for now in 2017? Has "wireless" really arrived? Wasn't Apple putting the horse before the cart?

    iv) For those who would argue that the low quantity in sales is due to manufacturing capacity being extremely limited - If the demand for AirPods was 200 million instead of 2 million for the entire year 2017, wouldn't Apple have ramped up production to meet the extra-ordinarily high demand, at least not as low as 1 million for 8 months?

    Let me make this clear - I am not saying Airpods are bad. I don't have any clue because I have not bought them or used them. Going by the positive comments from the actual users, it seems to be pretty good. That is besides the point. The actual question is - Is wireless headphones the "future" as claimed by Apple and many people in this forum?

    edited September 2017
  • Reply 19 of 42
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,262member
    lkrupp said:
    Just remember the caterwauling and sarcastic comments posted in AI forums when these were announced. Remember that AirPods were laughed at, ridiculed. Remember the comments about how ugly there were, how easily they would fall out of people's ears, how stupid the entire concept was because Bluetooth audio 'sucks.' You know, the same reaction we get with every single Apple product release... ever.
    Most of the diatribe happens because people seldom remember who preached the hate and discontent when various claims are disproven by the shipping product, and call them on it.

    I'm really happy overall with mine, except for controlling the Music app with Siri or taps. The commands are too limited and too specific. I hope this improves.

    But they've been a great investment. I hope I feel the same way when their batteries die.
  • Reply 20 of 42

    Let us look into the Big picture:

    • Active iPhone 7 generation phones in use - 200 million (Approximately)
    • Total active iPhones in use - 800 million (Approximately)
    • Total AirPods in use - 1 million (Approximately, taken from this article)
    • % of iPhone 7 generation owners who also own an AirPod - ~0.5%
    • % of all iPhone owners who also own an AirPod - ~0.125%

    Looking at the big picture, the questions that I have:

    i) Is "wireless" the "Future" as told by Apple for eliminating the 3.5mm jack? Is it valid anymore, with 99.5% of the people using the "much derided" outdated old technology - wired headphones, instead of embracing the future - i.e. "wireless headphones"?

    ii) Don't we have enough evidence already that Apple users (forgetting about tech media/critics etc for a moment) have NOT bought into the "wireless future" that Apple was portraying, with their wallets, with just <1% of them buying into the idea?

    iii) Many people in this forum claimed that "wireless is the future". Do you agree that the "actual sales" for about 8 months suggest otherwise, at least for now in 2017? Has "wireless" really arrived? Wasn't Apple putting the horse before the cart?

    iv) For those who would argue that the low quantity in sales is due to manufacturing capacity being extremely limited - If the demand for AirPods was 200 million instead of 2 million for the entire year 2017, wouldn't Apple have ramped up production to meet the extra-ordinarily high demand, at least not as low as 1 million for 8 months?

    Let me make this clear - I am not saying Airpods are bad. I don't have any clue because I have not bought them or used them. Going by the positive comments from the actual users, it seems to be pretty good. That is besides the point. The actual question is - Is wireless headphones the "future" as claimed by Apple and many people in this forum?

    Yes
    jax44StrangeDayssuperkloton
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