- Apple won't release new wireless-charging enabled AirPods headphones until early next year, according to a prediction from well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
- AirPods will get an "all-new" design in 2020, according to the note.
- "We believe that there is a greater likelihood of legacy iPhone users buying AirPods than upgrading to new iPhone models," Kuo writes, according to the note from TF International Securities seen by Business Insider.
It sounds like there won't be next-generation Apple AirPods during the holiday shopping season.
Apple said in 2017 that it was preparing a new version of its wireless earbuds that will support wireless charging, but they haven't been released yet.
Now, it looks like they will come out in the first quarter of 2019, according to a prediction from well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at TF International Securities.
The new AirPods model will also have Bluetooth upgrades, according to the November 29 note seen by Business Insider.
From the note:
"The main selling points of the new AirPods that will launch in 1Q19 are Bluetooth spec upgrades and a new charging box supporting wireless charging. The ASP of the hinge of the new charging box will rise by 60–80% because of spec upgrades for appearance design changes and higher thermal requirements. SZS will be the main or sole supplier for this, thanks to its better design capabilities."
But the bigger upgrade won't launch until the first quarter of 2020, the note predicts. That version will have an "all-new design model to boost replacement demand," Kuo writes.
Apple's fastest-growing product?
Although Apple has not released sales figures for its AirPods, they seem like a hit in wealthy urban areas, with the white earbuds adorning many ears on commuters in the morning. Kuo calls them "Apple's most popular accessory ever."
Kuo writes that their "growth momentum" will be the "fastest among Apple products" and that they will grow by nearly 80% and 90% over 2018 and 2019.
He also provides an estimate for sales:
2017: 14–16 million
2018: 26–28 million
2019: 50–55 million
2020: 70–80 million
2021: 100–110 million
Ultimately as iPhone growth slows, AirPods become one of Apple's most important products to continue driving growth.
"We believe that there is a greater likelihood of legacy iPhone users buying AirPods than upgrading to new iPhone models," according to the note.
Kuo's notes are focused on Asian hardware companies that sell parts and assembly services to Apple and other consumer electronics makers. He's picked Luxshare ICT, Unitch, SZS, and HJL as companies that may stand to benefit from skyrocketing AirPods sales.
Join the conversation about this story »
NOW WATCH: NASA sent an $850 million hammer to Mars and it could uncover clues to an outstanding mystery in our solar system
Credit: Stephen Lam/Getty Images