The truly wireless AirPods earphones are, according to Ming-Chi Kuo for the foreseeable future, the best growth product from Apple. Kuo said Apple will release an "improved model with support for charging wireless chargers" in the first quarter of 2019.
Kuo also said that a completely new design will be launched by AirPods in early 2020.
Try Amazon Prime Free 30 Day Trial
Kuo predicts dramatic growth for AirPods from 16 million units in 2017 to over 100 million in 2021. He calls it the most popular accessory from Apple ever gave.
He claims that iPhone users are buying AirPods rather than upgrading their phones themselves.
Kuo refers to the 1Q2019 update as a "model with support for wireless charging" that initially sounds like the wireless charging case, the Apple originally announced with the AirPower mat in September 2017.
He further says that the new AirPods case will feature an internal component upgrade for the "rigid-flex board", which will cost more to manufacture. The loading box hinge will also be redesigned to support changes in appearance and higher thermal requirements, and the cost of this component will increase by ~ 60%.
The infamous marketing image of the AirPower mat with the wireless AirPods charging case.
Interestingly, Kuo also says the new AirPods will upgrade the Bluetooth specification. This seems to indicate that the AirPods are getting an upgrade next to the case. It sounds as if Apple is fulfilling its original promise to sell the AirPod's wireless charging case as a separate accessory for existing AirPod owners, while releasing a minor revision of the entire product – including the wireless charging box.
Kuo does not go into detail about the new AirPods 2020. In earlier rumors, features such as sweat resistance, Hey Siri integration and more were suggested.
Kuo did not even mention the AirPower mat in today's report, despite the obvious link between the AirPods case and the seemingly deadly charge of Apple Matte. Kuo said in an October report that it was worth expecting new AirPods and AirPower in late 2018 or early 2019.