Apple may not include the wired EarPods headphones in the iPhone 12 box according to the latest report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. That would naturally drive Apple’s second-generation AirPods sales, as customers with their new phones would no longer get free headphones.
Kuo believes that Apple may actively advertise or discount the AirPods this holiday season, with no current AirPods or AirPods Pro versions scheduled to be released until 2021.
The discomfort was mitigated by the addition of EarPods in the package when the iPhone 7 dropped a headphone socket — most users only use the earbuds that the handset came with. If Apple no longer offers it, then customers needing new earbuds will be forced to either buy proprietary wired headphones like EarPods from MFi Lightning, or spend more on wireless Bluetooth options like AirPods.
Although the epidemic led to a decline in sales in the second of this year, he is expecting a rebound from the holiday shopping season including AirPods Pro’s strong year-over-year sales growth. Kuo is further increasing its sales estimates for AirPods from 80 to 93 million units for this year. Kuo settled rumor mill expectations last month by indicating that this year there would be no hardware revisions to AirPods or AirPods Pro.
With second-gen AirPods around eighteen months of age by the time the iPhone 12 launches, it’s possible for Apple to drop the price to further incentivise add-on sales. Of course, supply analyst Kuo does not have firm details about the marketing plans of the company.
Customers can buy a pair of EarPods for $29 via Apple retail, and the AirPods base model starts at $159.
There has been some talk over the last couple of years that Apple will be selling a package of iPhone and AirPods with a shared discount. This could be one of the strategies Kuo refers to in the “promotion plan.”
Since the first iPhone Apple has included earbud headphones (the first model also included other accessories in the box, such as a charging dock). In 2012, the wired EarPods were introduced alongside the iPhone 5, and Apple switched from 3.5 mm to Lightning EarPods starting with the less iPhone 7 headphone-jack.
In respect to other improvements to packaged devices, Apple started bundling in the iPhone 7 a 3.5mm lightning dongle to ease the move away from the ‘present’ headphone socket. That lasted for two generations but was withdrawn from the box beginning with the generation of the iPhone XS / XR. Another recent change to the boxed accessories was that Apple finally started shipping the iPhone 11 Pro with USB-C cables and higher wattage power adapters.