The long awaited wireless charging AirPods will be released in Q1 2019, while completely redesigned AirPods are expected to be released in 2020. These tidbits come from a new report by renowned analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The report is a bit vague and does not go into details as to what the new features would be in the redesigned AirPods. However, it has been previously speculated that hands-free Hey Siri, noise cancellation and some form of water proofing would be some highlight features in the upcoming AirPods.
AirPods 2 and beyond
From Kuo’s report:
We attribute AirPods’ dramatic growth (14–16mn, 26–28mn, 50–55mn, 70–80mn and 100–110mn units in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively) to 1) the upgraded model with wireless charging support to benefit shipments to launch in 1Q19, 2) the all-new design model to boost replacement demand to launch in 1Q20, 3) an innovative user experience, and 4) high integration with iOS and Mac products. In summary, AirPods is Apple’s most popular accessory ever, and it currently has the best growth momentum among Apple products.
The 2019 AirPods are expected to have wireless charging and upgraded Bluetooth specs. A new wireless charging case is expected to increase cost due to modified internal components to control thermals and expensive manufacturing. Whether Apple will be releasing the wireless charging case to existing AirPod users or as a completely new product is still unknown.
As per Kuo, users love AirPods so much that they are more likely to upgrade them, instead of their iPhones. Since launch, AirPods have been Apple’s most popular accessory for iOS and Macs.
A quick glance at Google Trends also confirms consumer interest in AirPods:
Apple had announced during iPhone X’s launch that they would be releasing AirPods with wireless charging. Apple also announced AirPower, their smart Qi compatible wireless charger during the same event. Both these products were supposed to release in 2018. However, it’s the last month of 2018 now and both products have not been released. There have been many leaks with regards to AirPods, which go back as far as iOS 12 beta 5, however Apple has not publicly addresses these delays.