Apple’s AirPods are a bona fide hit, but it’s not a good idea to buy one right now. That’s because Apple is almost certainly working on a sequel to the wireless buds, as evidenced by Bluetooth certifications and spy photos.
TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has come out with two separate reports to further verify these rumors. According to him, Apple is going to release an upgraded AirPods model with wireless charging support in the first quarter of 2019.
Apple AirPods Changes
Looking even further into the future, he predicts that a completely redesigned AirPods will make its debut in early 2020. He’s pretty confident about the lineup’s growth since he expects sales to jump from 16 million in 2017 to 100 million in 2021.
Apple needs to do something special to fuel these new purchases. The note isn’t very forthcoming on what changes will be made. There’s talk of a ‘rigid-flex board’ internal component upgrade and a revamped hinge to support thermal and appearance changes. All this might raise the cost of the component by 60%.
The current AirPods are priced at $159, so the new ones will probably go higher. Other than wireless charging, the earphones’ Bluetooth spec is probably going to get refreshed. Speculation so far has suggested the accessories will get hold of health tracking features, sweat resistance, and Hey Siri integration.
Apple may not be the biggest player in the game by the time the new AirPods arrive though. Kuo claims both Amazon and Google are making their own AirPods rival. Details are light, but they’ll probably come out with the buds by the second half of 2019.
Google and Amazon will pose a big threat to Apple since their products generally work with both Android and iOS. Apple has chosen to keep the AirPods restricted to iOS. For now, Android users can choose to go with alternatives made by big brands like Bang & Olufsen and Bose.