KGI remains very bullish on the uptake of Apple’s truly-wireless AirPods earbuds ($159: eBay, Best Buy). In a new report published today, Ming-Chi Kuo says that he expects Apple to double shipments of the AirPods in 2018. This would equate to shipments in the range of 26-28 million units.
AirPods have been supply constrained since their introduction in December 2016. Only in the last few weeks has availability improved to the point where the Apple Online Store reports 1-3 day delivery estimates.
In the report, KGI calls AirPods ‘Apple’s most important accessory product’.
AirPods certainly encapsulate Apple’s vision of a truly wireless world with effortless pairing, long battery life and category-leading portability.
Apple has used AirPods extensively in its marketing, featuring in its holiday ad ‘Sway’ and Apple Watch Series 3 commercials.
The analyst sayid Apple has been able to improve delivery times by adding an additional assembler, Luxshare, into the supply chain. Until recently, Inventec was the sole manufacturer for AirPods.
Inventec is also billed to be the manufacturer of the HomePod, whose launch was recently delayed into early 2018. KGI says Luxshare may be awarded a share HomePod orders in the future.
Apple has already announced a minor update to the AirPods case which will be released sometime next year. The new case supports inductive charging to be used in concert with the Apple AirPower mat.