Bloomberg announced this week that Apple is ramping up shipments for its AirPods Pro wireless earbuds. The company expects to ship 60 million pairs in 2019, which is double what the tech giant originally predicted at the end of last year.
The headphones began shipping on October 30 and have garnered positive reviews from all corners of the tech-verse. As a result, early demand has skyrocketed. AirPods Pro sell for $249 a pair, making the latest earbud model Apple’s most expensive.
Suppliers are clamoring for the opportunity to fill Apple’s product gap. Asian manufacturers Inventec, Luxshare Precision Industry, and Goertek work together to produce AirPods Pro. Apple has been aggressively pushing these suppliers going into the holiday season.
Third Time’s a Charm
Since launching in 2016, Apple’s wireless headphones have done well. After overcoming initial skepticism, the company has won over power users and average consumers alike. In March, the second generation of AirPods launched, featuring an H1 processor and “Hey Siri” functionality.
Just seven months later, Apple dropped the AirPods Pro with a myriad of new features. The latest generation has noise-canceling functionality, a redesigned framework, and longer battery life. Wearers can also initiate “Transparency mode” with a simple button tap to allow external noise through.
Although relatively tame, there are a few complaints against the AirPods Pro. Meme generators have certainly had their fun, claiming that the buds look like animated characters, Pokémon, or household items. Others believe the price tag is too high for what you get. Regardless, these qualms haven’t been enough to soften demand.
Staying Ahead of the Pack
Apple already dominates the wireless headphone market. Nearly 60 percent of all wireless headphone users currently sport a version of Apple’s white earbuds. On top of that, Apple-subsidiary Beats owns another 26 percent of the market with its Powerbeats Pro model.
Overall, the global wireless headphone sector is expected to continue along its rapid growth trajectory. By 2024, ReportLinker believes the space will generate $34 billion in revenue. Getting to that target implies a 20 percent annual growth rate between 2018-2024.
Experts believe these figures are attainable given what product developers envision going forward. Many are experimenting with adding gesture controls, head tracking, and biometric monitoring to the next generation of devices. In the future, wireless headphones will integrate more seamlessly with other entertainment systems, creating truly immersive experiences.
No Big-Stage Spectacle
Apple announced its newest headphones in an uncharacteristic fashion. Known for delivering highly anticipated keynote presentations, the company broke tradition and shared news about the AirPods Pro with a simple press release.
Apple has delivered October product events every year going back to 2011, with 2015 and 2017 serving as the only exceptions. Investors were expecting something last month but weren’t disappointed once AirPods Pro details surfaced.
For Apple users who have yet to board the wireless headphone train, this may be the time. Unfortunately, discounts are hard to come by right now. The best bet is to pick up the new AirPods Pro as part of Apple’s Black Friday menu, which might be the only deal for a while.