The Apple AirPods have proven to be extremely popular with buyers, and unfortunately, many folks hoping to gift them for Christmas have come up empty-handed. Despite the popularity of the AirPods as they sit now, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that an updated version of the wireless earphones will be coming next year. Kuo is an analyst with KGI Securities and has a long history of accurate predictions when it comes to all things related to Apple.
Kuo wrote in his note, "Media reports over the past few days on brisk AirPods demand and Apple struggling to keep up with holiday season demand align with our findings and positive predictions on AirPods in several previous reports. In 2018, we predict AirPods shipments will grow 100% YoY to 26-28mn units. We forecast the ASP of RFPCB for upgraded AirPods in 2H18 may increase, further benefiting business momentum of Unitech and Compeq"
According to Kuo, the next generation of the AirPods will have a “smaller quartz component”; exactly what that will mean for the design is unknown. Kuo also noted that the new AirPods will continue to be assembled by Inventec, the same company currently assembling the AirPods.
Along with the smaller components, Apple will also be launching a new inductive AirPods charging case that will allow charging with the AirPower charging mat that will launch in 2018. That AirPower mat was teased during the iPhone X event in September and will be able to charge all Apple devices compatible with wireless charging at the same time.
Kuo also had comments about the current shortage of AirPods, and notes that Apple current crop suppliers simply are unable to make them fast enough to meet the demand. Kuo says that Apple has brought on another supply chain partner, Luxshare, to help make the AirPods. Right now, the bottle neck in production is said to be the RF printed-circuit boards for the AirPods batteries.