AirPods, Apple’s truly wireless headphones, have been a wildly successful product for the company thus far — often selling out within hours, or even minutes, of becoming available through apple.com or a number of third-party Apple Authorized Retailers. While not quite as popular as the iPhone, AirPods are no doubt a hot ticket accessory for iPhone 7 users — one that will likely continue to dominate the market for years to come — and according to Gene Munster, former Piper Jaffray Apple analyst-turned-investor, AirPods will eventually evolve into a product that’s much “bigger than the Apple Watch.”
Specifically, Munster says that “over the course of the next 10 years,” AirPods will contribute to “about the same amount of revenue” as Apple Watch. He cautioned, however, that the truly wireless headphones will likely become more expensive as the company adds new features to future generations, slowly but surely transitioning to what Munster called “augmented audio.” According to AugmentedAudio.com, “Augmented Audio is defined as live audio being modified and/or enhanced by computer-generated sensory input. By introduction of another layer of information or media on top of an input feed, it is possible to produce highly enriched audio feedback.”
“Over the next 10 years, we anticipate that AirPods will be bigger than the Apple Watch as the product evolves from simple wireless headphones to a wearable, augmented audio device,” Munster said in a research note submitted by his new venture capital firm, LoupVentures. “While both AirPods and Apple Watch should continue to grow, we see AirPods contributing about the same amount of revenue as Apple Watch by FY22. We expect the AirPods ASP to increase from $159 today to $200 in FY22 as the product shifts to augmented audio.”
Meanwhile, Munster goes on to talk about Apple’s oft-rumored “Apple Glasses,” which could also be dubbed iGlass. Specifically, the veteran analyst provides guidance suggesting that we should expect to see a pair of Apple-branded AR/VR glasses ship by the “middle of fiscal-year 2020.” While he stopped short of elaborating on details about the glasses or their potential functionality, Munster did say they will likely be on the higher-end of Apple’s product pricing spectrum, demanding somewhere in the ballpark of $1,300.
He cited Apple’s recent launch of ARKit, and the company’s even more recent acquisition of German eye-tracking firm, SensoMotoric Instruments, as key indicators that the company is seriously stepping up its game in the AR/VR race. “We believe Apple see’s the AR future as a combination of the iPhone and some form of a wearable,” Munster said, while adding that with “an average sale price of $1,300, we expect initial demand to be limited at just over 3m units compared to 242m iPhones [for FY 2020.]”