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
Buyer's Guide: iPhone 12 (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

GubbyMan Avatar
9 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
9 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
9 months ago
Hopefully the Phone will be included, fingers crossed.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Daventry Avatar
9 months ago
Timmy putting in practice 'less is more'.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JordanP7893 Avatar
9 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
9 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)

Top Stories

lg wing

LG Considering Exit From Smartphone Business, Halts LCD Production for iPhone

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:38 am PST by
LG is considering exiting the smartphone business entirely amid declining shipments and accrued losses of $4.5 billion over the past five years (via The Korea Herald). LG CEO Kwon Bong-Seok cautioned staff earlier today that the company is re-evaluating its presence in the smartphone industry: Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about...
google maps detailed street level e1611052089473

Google Maps Gains Enhanced Street-Level Detail in Four Major Cities

Tuesday January 19, 2021 2:34 am PST by
Google Maps has quietly been updated to include significantly more detailed street-level information in a handful of key cities around the world. Upon zooming in, Google's maps for Central London, Tokyo, San Francisco, and New York now benefit from shapes and widths that match the scale of roads more accurately. Meanwhile, enhanced graphical representations of sidewalks, crosswalks,...
2019 mac pro side and front

Tim Cook Gifted Donald Trump 'First' 2019 Mac Pro

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:45 pm PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook gifted former United States President Donald Trump with the first 2019 Mac Pro that came off of the assembly line in Austin, Texas, according to a financial disclosure report that was released today (via The Verge). "Mac Pro Computer, the first created at the Flex Factory in Austin, Texas," reads the entry, which values the machine at $5,999, the base price for a Mac Pro....
airpods max sim ejector

AirPods Max Headband Removable With Just a SIM Ejector Tool, Hinting at Interchangeable Headbands

Tuesday January 19, 2021 8:25 am PST by
It is possible to remove the headband of AirPods Max with just a standard SIM card ejector tool, hinting at the possibility of interchanging headbands to achieve a different colorway. Image via Prelook In December, MacRumors revealed the large variety of AirPods Max ear cushion color combinations when it became clear that they were magnetically attatched and available for sale separately....
iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
iphone 12 vs iphone 12 mini

Apple Shifting Some Production From iPhone 12 mini to iPhone 12 Pro to Meet Demand

Wednesday January 20, 2021 8:12 am PST by
Apple has reportedly cut production of the iPhone 12 mini by two million units to create more manufacturing capacity for the iPhone 12 Pro, according to a new Morgan Stanley investment note seen by PED30. Apple is believed to have made the switch for the first quarter of 2021 in an effort to combat continuing lead times for the more popular iPhone 12 Pro. iPhone 12 Pro lead times remain ...
Apple VR Feature

Bloomberg: Apple's First AR/VR Headset 'Pricey, Niche Precursor' to More Ambitious AR Glasses and Could Launch Next Year

Thursday January 21, 2021 3:27 am PST by
Apple's first virtual reality headset will be a "pricey, niche precursor" to a more ambitious augmented reality product, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view...
shot on iphone 12 apple

Apple Highlights Photos Shot by iPhone 12 Users: Portraits, Cityscapes, and More

Tuesday January 19, 2021 6:05 am PST by
Apple today shared a gallery of photos shot by customers using the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, with scenes including cityscapes, landscapes, portraits of people, and more at day and night. Shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max by "NKCHU" in China (top) and shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max by Rohit Vohra in India (bottom) iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 models have a dual camera ...
Apple and Hyundai feature

Apple Car Production Again Linked to Kia Motor's US Plant in Georgia

Tuesday January 19, 2021 4:19 am PST by
Hyundai intends to transition the company's Apple Car involvement to its Kia brand as part of an internal arrangement that could see production move to the U.S., according to a new report today. On Sunday, Korea IT News reported that Apple and Hyundai are seeking a partnership agreement for the upcoming Apple Car by March, and that the electric vehicles could be made at a Georgia factory...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature

iPhone 13 Rumored to Feature Smaller Notch, Pro Model Cameras to Use Larger Image Sensor

Thursday January 21, 2021 1:38 am PST by
Apple's iPhone 13 series will feature a redesigned Face ID system that will allow for a smaller notch at the top of the screen, according to a new report today. The rumor comes via hit-and-miss Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, whose supply chain sources also claim that the ultra wide-angle lens in Apple's next-generation iPhones is due for an upgrade. The next-generation iPhones'...