Ming-Chi Kuo Expects Upgraded AirPods to Launch in Mid to Late 2018

Apple will release an upgraded version of AirPods in the second half of 2018, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

airpods
An excerpt from Kuo's latest research note, a copy of which was obtained by MacRumors:

Media reports over the past few days on brisk AirPods demand and Apple struggling to keep up with holiday season demand align with our findings and positive predictions on AirPods in several previous reports. […]

In 2018, we predict AirPods shipments will grow 100% YoY to 26-28mn units. We forecast the ASP of RFPCB for upgraded AirPods in 2H18 may increase, further benefiting business momentum of Unitech and Compeq.

Kuo said one internal change on the second-generation AirPods will include a "smaller quartz component," but he didn't provide any further details about new outward-facing features or improvements to expect.

Kuo said the new AirPods will continue to be assembled by Taiwanese manufacturer Inventec, with individual components supplied by fellow Taiwanese companies such as Unitech, Compeq, TXC, and HLJ.

Apple will also be releasing a new inductive AirPods charging case that will enable the wireless earphones to be charged with its new AirPower charging mat, which it said launches at some point in 2018.

Apple teased the AirPower mat at its iPhone X event back in September. It will be able to charge the Apple Watch Series 3, an iPhone X or iPhone 8 model, and AirPods inside the new charging case simultaneously.

airpower charging mat
As for the current AirPods, Kuo said Apple's suppliers are unable to make them quick enough to fully satisfy what he believes is robust holiday season demand, which likely explains why AirPods are sold out until January.

Kuo, who keeps a close eye on Apple's supply chain in Asia, said Apple has recruited Luxshare to help make AirPods, but RF printed-circuit boards for AirPods batteries are proving to be a key production bottleneck.

Kuo also reiterated his estimate that AirPods shipments will double in 2018 to 26-28 million units on a year-over-year basis, suggesting Apple will have sold around 13-14 million AirPods worldwide by the end of this year.

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Top Rated Comments

iapplelove Avatar
85 months ago
I would love a black/SG pair to match my iPhone X.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HopefulHumanist Avatar
85 months ago
Better sound and noise cancelling and I’m in.
If they do this, I hope they a version without the noise cancellation. One of my favorite things about the AirPods is that I am not oblivious to the outside world while wearing them. I really like they I can still hear people trying to get my attention when I’m wearing them.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jclardy Avatar
85 months ago
What I want in AirPods 2:

- Wireless charging case included (hopefully that works on the same Qi charger for iPhone, but it might be too small for that.)
- Touch strip to allow for more precise controls on device. Slide up to increase volume, slide down to decrease. Keep the double tap controls, maybe add a single tap option to the top or bottom for next/previous.

Other than that, improved sound quality. I'm quite happy with everything else, even battery, though I guess battery on each individual AirPod could be improved. The case battery has been fine for me, I charge about once a week.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
emdub Avatar
85 months ago
This has been my top purchase of 2017. I have never used headphones as much... and I've had everything from the original beats, to bluetooth gym models, the Bose Quiet Confort (I still use these on planes) etc etc.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RecentlyConverted Avatar
85 months ago
Better sound and noise cancelling and I’m in.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleWarMachine Avatar
85 months ago
Bluetooth 5.0 please to along with my iPhone X :D
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)