Crazy-popular AirPods match ‘peak iPod’ sales


Don’t underrate AirPods. They are as iconic as the iPod ever was.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

AirPods contribute as much to Apple’s bottom line as the iconic iPod did at its peak, according to an industry analyst. And Apple Watch long since passed that milestone.

Combined, Apple’s Wearables and Home products are expected to far outsell Mac and iPad this quarter.

AirPods at a huge milestone

Apple doesn’t reveal how many AirPods it sells, though it does announce how much revenue comes in from its wearables and HomePods. Horace Dediu, an analyst with Asymco did his own estimate and determined that Apple’s in-ear headphones will bring in about $4 billion this quarter.

That matches “the historic ‘peak iPod’ which occurred in the fourth quarter of 2007 at $4 billion,” noted this analyst. And it matters because iPod was a huge game changer.

“Remember that iPod was the phenomenon which reset all expectations for Apple. It caused Apple to cease calling itself Apple Computer. It (at least psychologically) laid the foundation for iPhone and everything else that followed,” said Dediu. “For the AirPods to overtake the iPod highlights just what a phenomenal category Wearables has become.”

Apple Watch is well above that

Apple Watch overtook “peak iPod” a year ago. Dediu estimates Apple pulled in $4.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 from this wearable.

And he predicts revenue from this wrist computer will bring in $5.2 billion in revenue during this current quarter.

For the whole Wearables and Home category, with AirPods and Apple Watch combined, the Asymco analyst sees Apple taking in $10.7 billion. That’s well above his estimates for either Mac or iPad revenue.

That follows a very strong Q3, with Apple snagging 35% of the global wearables market, and a year-over-year growth increase of more than 195%, according to the rival analysts at IDC.


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