Kuo: iPhone 12 May Not Come With EarPods in the Box, Apple to Introduce AirPods Promotion in Second Half of 2020

Apple's upcoming "iPhone 12" may not come with EarPods included in the box, as a means of driving demand for the company's popular wireless AirPods which are sold separately, according to reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Apple EarPods 35446297 03
Apple has included earbuds with the iPhone ever since the first model of the smartphone launched in 2007, in large part because the ‌iPhone‌ was pitched as a natural extension of the iPod – a music player that also made phone calls.

However, in a TF International Securities research note issued to investors today and seen by MacRumors, Kuo said he expects Apple to leave out the traditional wired earphones that come with iPhones, which will usher in strong demand for AirPods shipments this year.

In addition to the need for new ‌iPhone‌ users to supply their own earphones, Kuo expects an uptick in AirPods shipments to be driven by an end to AirPods inventory depletion by the second half of the year, coupled with the likelihood that Apple will offer a special AirPods promotion in late 2020.

apple airpods shipments kuo 2020
In terms of this year, Kuo said that AirPods shipments are likely to be at their lowest ebb in the second quarter due to the impact of the global health crisis, with total shipments declining by 29 percent from the previous quarter to 17.2 million.

However, AirPods shipments will benefit from increasing demand beginning in the third quarter, coupled with continuing strong demand for AirPods Pro throughout the year buoyed by Apple's expected promotional offer in the second half of 2020. Overall, Kuo predicts shipments to grow from his original estimate of 80-90 million pairs to 93.8 million pairs.

In a previous note to investors, Kuo said Apple is working on third-generation AirPods that will go into mass production during the first half of 2021, although this new model will only have internal changes and there won't be a change in external design.

This information goes against rumors of an ‌AirPods‌ update coming in 2020, and Kuo suggests no new ‌AirPods‌ are coming until 2021. By contrast, leaker Jon Prosser recently said that third-generation ‌AirPods‌ are ready to launch anytime.

Kuo acknowledges that the market is expecting a new ‌AirPods‌ model in the second half of 2020, but he thinks this is more likely to be a new set of Beats instead of a new set of ‌AirPods‌, meaning "‌‌AirPods Pro‌‌ Lite" rumors are actually referencing new headphones in the Beats lineup.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

GubbyMan Avatar
26 months ago
Next step, no charger or cable included in the box.

I don’t know how to feel about this, if it leads to lower prices then sure. We can buy accessories separately for the reduction in cost of the phone if we need them. But we all know that won’t be the case.
Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tabilo Avatar
26 months ago
Next step: No phone in the box ?. Just put a $50 voucher for AirPods in the box.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ridgero Avatar
26 months ago
Hopefully the Phone will be included, fingers crossed.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Daventry Avatar
26 months ago
Timmy putting in practice 'less is more'.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JordanP7893 Avatar
26 months ago
Makes sense. I’ve had two iPhones since AirPods came out and never touched the included EarPods. May as well reduce that waste, and I’m sure the extra AirPod sales don’t hurt...

Also if the rumour of Apple removing the lightning port next year are accurate then it makes sense to wean people off wired headphones this year.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Falhófnir Avatar
26 months ago
I would say it's unseemly for a company positioning itself as an upmarket or premium brand to resort to nickel & diming, but that ship has already long since sailed... so why not, they've taken everything else out of their boxes! (before anyone says about e-waste, I'll accept they're taking that seriously when they stop wrapping the product and the box its in in non biodegradable plastic).


Do people spending $1000 on a phone not already have a pair of headphones?
Do Apple phones come with a standard audio jack to plug in your existing headphones?
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
iPhone 13 Face ID

'High-End' iPhone 14 Front-Facing Camera to Cost Apple Three Times More

Monday May 23, 2022 7:05 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 will feature a more expensive "high-end" front-facing camera with autofocus, partly made in South Korea for the first time, ET News reports. Apple reportedly ousted a Chinese candidate to choose LG Innotek, a South Korean company, to supply the iPhone 14's front-facing camera alongside Japan's Sharp. The company is said to have originally planned to switch to LG for the iPhone...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
apple music

Apple Increases Apple Music Subscription Price for Students in Several Countries

Sunday May 22, 2022 1:57 am PDT by
Apple has silently increased the price of its Apple Music subscription for college students in several countries, with the company emailing students informing them their subscription would be slightly increasing in price moving forward. The price change is not widespread and, based on MacRumors' findings, will impact Apple Music student subscribers in but not limited to Australia, the...
EA Apple Maybe Feature

Apple Reportedly Talked With Electronic Arts About Potential Acquisition

Monday May 23, 2022 10:58 am PDT by
Apple is one of several companies that have held talks with Electronic Arts (EA) about a potential purchase, according to a new report from Puck. EA has spoken to several "potential suitors," including Apple, Amazon, and Disney as it looks for a merger arrangement. Apple and the other companies declined to comment, and the status of the talks is not known at this time, but Apple does have an ...
sony headphones 1

Sony's New WH-1000XM5 Headphones vs. Apple's AirPods Max

Friday May 20, 2022 12:18 pm PDT by
Sony this week came out with an updated version of its popular over-ear noise canceling headphones, so we picked up a pair to compare them to the AirPods Max to see which headphones are better and whether it's worth buying the $400 WH-1000XM5 from Sony over Apple's $549 AirPods Max. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. First of all, the AirPods Max win out when it comes ...