Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Cupertino plans to release two new models of AirPods, either at the end of this year or the start of 2020.
In doing so, he partially backs up a report from earlier today claiming that the AirPods 3 will ship in 2019.
The two models Kuo mentions will include a more expensive and a cheaper option. This would make the AirPods product lineup similar to how Apple has been dividing the iPhone since 2013’s iPhone 5c and 5s. Kuo says the pricier AirPods option will include a redesigned form factor. The cheaper models, meanwhile, will retain the same design and pricing as the current model.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t offer any other details about what we might expect from Apple’s next AirPods. Previous rumors claimed Apple wants to add noise-canceling tech and health-tracking sensors to its wireless headphones.
If Apple incorporated health-tracking tech, similar to the Apple Watch, it might get customers to pay more than the current $200 for top-tier AirPods. A previous Apple patent describes wireless earbuds with sensors for performing heart rate monitoring and taking body temperature measurements.
Kuo’s report also suggests that Apple is likely to shift to a new design and manufacturing process to improve assembly yields and cut costs.
AirPods: A smash hit for Apple
Kuo previously predicted that AirPods sales will surpass 100 million units by 2021. In his latest note to clients, he writes that:
“We are positive on the demand for AirPods and Apple’s leading position in the true wireless stereo (TWS) market, and estimate AirPods shipments will reach 52mn and 75–85mn units in 2019 and 2020, respectively.”
By all accounts, AirPods are one of the most popular new product lines in Apple history. They’re also arguably the most iconic new Apple creation since the iPhone or Apple’s white earbuds from the original iPod.
What would make you spend more than $200 on a pair of AirPods? Let us know in the comments below.