Barclays Says AirPods Continue to Grow, HomePod Sales Have Been Underwhelming

Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis and his associates recently spent a week in Asia meeting with companies within Apple's supply chain, and today they shared research on iPhones, AirPods, and the HomePod gathered from their trip.


In terms of AirPods, the analysts expect Apple will continue to increase production of the wireless earphones. Barclays forecasts that AirPods shipments will likely approach 30 million units in 2018, within the ballpark of KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo's estimate of 26-28 million units.

AirPods remain backordered on Apple's online store, with orders placed today estimated for delivery within 12 to 13 days in the United States and several other countries. The wireless earphones have been in short supply since December after availability briefly improved during the fall months.

The lengthy shipping estimates for AirPods suggests Apple may still be having difficulties manufacturing the wireless earphones, can't keep up with strong demand, or is dealing with some combination of those two factors.

Apple doesn't disclose AirPod sales, but chief executive Tim Cook said the company's total revenue from wearables was up almost 70 percent year over year. Apple's broad "Other Products" category, including AirPods, Apple TV, and Apple Watch, set a new all-time record with $5.5 billion in revenue last quarter.

In contrast with the popularity of AirPods, Barclays says HomePod sales have been "underwhelming" so far. The research note says Apple planned an initial production run of 6-7 million units, but it's unclear how many have sold.

Apple will soon release a wireless charging case for AirPods to be used with its upcoming AirPower charging mat. Beyond that, Bloomberg reported that Apple may release new AirPods with "Hey Siri" functionality as early as this year, and a subsequent pair with water resistance as early as next year.

Barclays also believes Apple will release a new pair of AirPods in early 2019, but it's unclear if they are referring to the pair with "Hey Siri" functionality or the subsequent water-resistant ones.

And for the HomePod, a relatively sketchy rumor out of China suggests Apple may release a smaller version of the speaker later this year for between $150 and $200 in the United States. No further details were provided.

The research note corroborates Apple's widely rumored plans to launch a new iPhone X, a so-called iPhone X Plus, and a lower-priced 6.1-inch iPhone X-like device with some design compromises such as an LCD instead of OLED display, 3GB of RAM instead of 4GB, a single-lens rear camera, and no 3D Touch.

An excerpt from the research note, edited slightly for clarity:

Looking ahead, we expect iPhone X production to cease entirely before this year's launches and now believe the 6.1" LCD model could be half or even more of the mix in the second half of 2018. The LCD version will likely be tiered between the iPhone 8 and iPhone X2 with cut down features; we expect it will have only 3GB RAM, a single rear camera, and lack 3D Touch, but still have the new form factor with Face ID. In terms of lower Bill of Materials, we note the LCD screen module costs less than half the cost of an OLED one. Further, we expect the iPhone X2 and a Plus-sized version to also be launched, likely with 4GB of RAM, and Intel to gain modem share this cycle. However, rear 3D-sensing doesn't happen until 2019 or later.

The information about the new iPhones is entirely in line with research previously shared by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Related Roundups: HomePod, AirPods 2

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
33 months ago
Can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want this entirely competent assistant for the low price of $350

Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago
What did they expect? It has extremely limited capabilities versus the infinitely cheaper Amazon and Google options.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago
Because Siri is rubbish and it can't even do the same tasks as Siri on the iPhone.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago
HomePod, when you have more money than sense.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago
I have yet to speak to one person in my day to day life that purchased or wants to purchase a HomePod.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago
Late to market check ✅
Overpriced ✅
Inferior AI ✅

Not too surprising.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

'iPhone 12 mini' Name Reappears in Leaked Apple iPhone 12 Case Stickers

Friday September 25, 2020 1:58 am PDT by
Earlier this week a proven leaker claimed that the iPhone 12 lineup would be named "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max," and today the same nomenclature has appeared again in a photo depicting alleged stickers from unreleased Silicone iPhone cases originating from Apple's international distribution center in Ireland. The photo shows three stickers with the...

New Images Leak of iPhone 12 Braided USB-C to Lightning Cable

Thursday September 24, 2020 2:37 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's upcoming iPhone 12 models will ship with a new Lightning to USB-C cable that includes a braided fabric design. Images of the purported cables were leaked in July, and today leaker Mr White has shared new images that give us a closer look at what we might get included in the iPhone 12 box. The photos show a USB-C to Lightning cable with a clearly braided design rather...

New Version of Microsoft Office Coming Next Year That Won't Require a Subscription

Thursday September 24, 2020 1:53 am PDT by
Microsoft will next year offer a new perpetual release of Microsoft Office for Mac and Windows that doesn't require a subscription to use, according to the software giant (via Windows Central). "Microsoft Office will also see a new perpetual release for both Windows and Mac, in the second half of 2021," said Microsoft in a blog post announcing the next version of its Exchange server,...

Apple Releases iOS 14.0.1 With Fix for Bug That Resets Default Apps After Rebooting

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:12 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 14.0.1, the first update to the iOS 14 operating system that was released on September 16. Today's update is a bug fix update addressing issues that weren't able to be fixed in the initial iOS 14 launch. The iOS 14.0.1 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. ...

Apple's iPhone 12 Event Could Happen on October 13 Based on Rumors From Mobile Operators

Wednesday September 23, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone-centric event could perhaps be held on Tuesday, October 13, according to information shared with MacRumors by an employee at a UK cellular carrier. There's no way for us to confirm the dates at this point in time nor are we sure on the credibility of the source, but even without a rumor, Tuesday, October 13 is a good guess based on Apple's historic launch timelines, ...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.7 With Fixes for WiFi Bug, 27-Inch iMac Graphics Issues

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:32 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.7, the latest update to the macOS Catalina software. macOS Catalina 10.15.7 fixes several major bugs that Mac users have been experiencing, and it comes a month after the latest macOS Catalina release. The ‌‌‌macOS Catalina‌‌‌ 10.15.6 Supplemental Update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System...

Apple Designs Custom Face Mask for Corporate and Retail Employees [Updated with Unboxing]

Wednesday September 9, 2020 11:13 am PDT by
Apple's design team has created a new kind of protective mask that's being distributed to retail and corporate employees, reports Bloomberg. The mask is called the Apple Face Mask and it was developed in-house in Cupertino by the Engineering and Industrial Design teams at Apple. Last week, an Apple employee sent MacRumors an image of the mask design, which can be seen up above. The Apple ...

Video Offers Closer Look at Apple Face Mask

Friday September 25, 2020 5:25 am PDT by
YouTube channel Unbox Therapy has today shared a new video giving a closer look at Apple's reusable face masks for corporate and retail employees. Apple's own face mask was designed by the company's Engineering and Industrial Design teams amid the global health crisis for corporate and retail employees, and the boxes include Apple's famous "Designed by Apple in California" text. The...

Top Stories: iOS 14 Feature Tour, 'iPhone 12 mini' Rumors, Apple Watch Band Controversy

Saturday September 26, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Things started to calm down a bit this week following last week's rush of media event, Apple Watch and iPad launches, and the release of iOS 14 and other operating updates. But that doesn't mean there wasn't still a lot of news, from digging deeper into iOS 14 to more iPhone 12 rumors to the uproar over trying to exchange band sizes on the new Apple Watch. On top of all of that, we heard...

Interest in iOS 14 Home Screen Ideas Helps Pinterest Break Daily Download Record

Wednesday September 23, 2020 4:37 am PDT by
Apple's introduction of widgets on the Home Screen in iOS 14 has driven a surge in interest among users looking to customize their iPhone, and that has reportedly had a knock-on effect for Pinterest, whose iOS app has seen record downloads as users flock to its content seeking design inspiration. As reported by TechCrunch, App Store intelligence firm Apptopia was first to note the impact of ...