What you need to know
- Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple is planning a big redesign of its next AirPods.
- The third-generation AirPods will likely adopt the design of the AirPods Pro.
- They would adopt the same SiP used in AirPods Pro, allowing for a more compact design.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple's new iteration of AirPods may feature the same compact design of the AirPods Pro.
Apple's next-generation in-ear AirPods product will move to a more complex system-in-package chip solution, replacing surface mount technology used in current versions of the device, according to TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Compared to SMT technology, SiP systems typically enable manufacturers to pack more components into a smaller space. Apple's AirPods Pro, for example, employs an SiP design with an Apple-designed H1 chip that handles audio, Siri commands, noise-cancelling capabilities and more.
According to the report, Kuo emphasizes that the third-generation AirPods will be redesigned. Whilst this would certainly mean that the AirPods 3 would feature the more compact form factor of the AirPods Pro, technical features, such as noise-canceling, are not mentioned. The SiP technology allows Apple to pack more components into a smaller space, hence the smaller form-factor of the AirPods Pro. Given that the noise-cancellation feature has so far been reserved for the AirPods Pro, it seems unlikely that Apple would expand the feature to its cheaper AirPods, reserving it for the Pro line instead. It could be that the new SiP technology allows for greater battery life, improved audio, or better Siri integration.
Kuo says that they expect suppliers to see component shipments grow between 50 and 100% year-on-year, but that AirPods overall growth in 2021 will slow to just 28%, down on this year's massive 65% growth.