Apple’s AirPods have become one of the company’s most successful devices in recent memory. And, according to one analyst, the meteoric rise of the wireless Bluetooth headphones likely isn’t done yet.
The Success of AirPods
Since their debut back in 2016, AirPods have been wildly popular among users for their convenience, sound quality and tiny form factor.
In fact, throughout 2019, Apple sold nearly $6 billion worth of AirPods, according to a research note by Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi. Notably, that’s nearly double the amount year-over-year.
Part of the reason for that could be the fact that Apple unveiled two new models of AirPods this year.
Second-generation AirPods were an incremental update on the original, featuring improved connectivity and wireless charging capabilities. Then came the $249 AirPods Pro with a new in-ear form factor and special Active Noise Cancelation features.
You can probably notice the signs of AirPods’ popularity already. AirPods Pro, for example, are already sold out at Apple Stores and other retailers across the U.S. and the world.
In his research note, Sacconaghi says that Apple is only going to sell more AirPods in 2020, too.
The analyst predicts that the company will sell 85 million AirPods units next year for an annual total of $15 billion. If that rate of sales and growth keeps up, AirPods could become Apple’s third largest overall business.
Whether or not AirPods become a significant growth driver for Apple seems to depend on consumer reception. So far, that’s been good. But Sacconaghi notes that, as more iPhone owners get AirPods, the number of potential buyers decreases.
While Sacconaghi predicts that AirPods’ growth will die down by 2021 or 2022, that forecast seems based solely on AirPods and AirPods Pro. In other words, it doesn’t take into account other future products in the AirPods lineup.
Apple, for example, is rumored to be developing a pair of premium over-ear headphones that would be marketed under the Apple brand (instead of Beats).
The so-called StudioPods could feature significantly upgraded audio and noise cancelation, but would also sport the convenient and stable connectivity of Apple’s proprietary W-series or H-series chips.
While not technically AirPods, the StudioPods would obviously be grouped under Apple’s Wearables, Home and Accessories category, just like AirPods.
Then there are the sporadic rumors of a significantly upgraded version of AirPods themselves.
Based on the number of patent applications concerning wearable sensors, it looks likely that Apple is at least considering an updated version of AirPods with their own built-in health sensors.
Apple’s future is wearable. And despite current predictions, it’s likely that future Apple-made audio accessories will play a huge role in that.