As usual, Apple announced record earnings yesterday, with over $64 billion in revenue — its highest fourth quarter ever — and it’s probably not a big surprise that a good chunk of that came from Apple’s ultra-popular AirPods.
In fact, Apple’s newest AirPods Pro didn’t even quite hit the market in time for the latest quarterly results, so it’s a safe bet that they’re going to fuel even more revenue in the upcoming quarter, especially as they become a favourite gift for the holiday season, but as expected, they’re also not replacing the now-classic second-generation AirPods, which will remain on the market as an alternative for those who either don’t want to spend more for the advanced “Pro” features or simply prefer the original design.
It seems, however, that Tim Cook actually thinks that for many users, the new AirPods Pro could actually be a second pair that could complement the AirPods they already own.
We’re anxious to see the customers for the new AirPod Pro. But I would guess that one, particularly in the early going, will be people that have AirPods today and want to also have a pair for the times they need noise cancellation.Apple CEO Tim Cook
While it seems perplexing that anybody purchasing the new AirPods Pro would still want to switch back to the older model, Cook seems to think that some users might just want to have the higher-end earbuds for the times they need noise cancellation.
Of course, there are a lot of differences between the AirPods Pro and standard AirPods, and there’s certainly a case to be made that not all of these are an “upgrade” for every situation, so while we’d be very surprised if anybody goes out and deliberately buys two different sets of AirPods, it’s entirely possible that some users who already own the older ones may have reasons to hang onto them even after purchasing the AirPods Pro.
For one thing, the new in-ear design of the AirPods Pro offers great passive noise isolation, but for those who are accustomed to actually hearing what’s going on around them, the original AirPods offer better situational awareness. While the “Transparency” mode on the new AirPods Pro should offer something similar, it’s fair to say that it’s not quite the same.
Further, while the AirPods Pro aren’t at all inconvenient to remove and insert, there’s little doubt that the original AirPods are even easier to use in that regard, which makes them especially handy for more casual listening, as well as things like phone calls. Some users have suggested leaving a pair at the office, for example, just for use as a traditional Bluetooth headset, or as a better choice when falling asleep.
There’s also the fact that the new AirPods Pro are considerably more expensive, and you might be reluctant to take them out in as many places or situations — especially when they’re shiny and new. The original AirPods could still be better for certain types of workout environments, for example.
Still, for many users who were fans of the original AirPods but are now moving up to the AirPods Pro, the older models are very likely either going to be handed off to a friend or family member — hopefully after a thorough cleaning — or end up in the bottom of a desk drawer. However, since Apple hasn’t discontinued or discounted the second-generation AirPods, there’s also a pretty healthy resale market if you’re looking to fund the purchase of your new AirPods Pro, so if you have no other use for them, selling them off is definitely an option.