Revered Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has predicted that Apple may begin shipping its second-generation AirPods sometime in the second half of next year.
Apple has already announced a new AirPower inductive charging case for next year. It seems that Apple may also be lining up a small update to the earbuds if KGI’s reporting proves accurate.
KGI also addresses the supply constraints Apple is currently experiencing with AirPods. The Apple Online Store has run out of stock through the end of the year, with current orders estimated to be delivered in early January.
Here’s an excerpt from his analyst 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.
We forecast the average selling price of radio frequency printed circuit boards for upgraded AirPods in the second half of 2018 may increase, further benefiting business momentum of Unitech and Compeq.
Components for AirPods should be sourced from suppliers like Unitech, Compeq, TXC and HLJ, with Taiwanese manufacturer Inventec providing assembly services.
Inventec is currently the sole manufacturer of AirPods. Kuo in an earlier note wrote he expected AirPods shipment to double in 2018 to 26-28 million units.
Apple has promised to release a standalone inductive AirPods charging case in 2018 that will permit owners of the first-generation earphones to charge them using any Qi wireless charger, including Apple’s own AirPower charging mat coming in 2018, too.
That does not sound like the same upgraded AirPods that KGI is talking about, with a second-half 2018 timeframe. Perhaps the AirPower mat may come out in the spring, but the AirPods charging case will launch later. It would be weird for Apple to start selling a new charging case mere months before refreshing the full product.