Apple's EarPods with a lightning connectorSource: iMore

What you need to know

  • Your next iPhone might not have any EarPods inside the box.
  • That's according to famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
  • Kuo states that this would help Apple to drive sales of its AirPods.

Insight from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that Apple may be planning to ditch its wired EarPods in the upcoming iPhone 12, pushing customers to purchase AirPods instead.

According to a report from MacRumors:

Apple's upcoming "iPhone 12" may not come with EarPods included in the box, as a means of driving demand for the company's popular wireless AirPods which are sold separately, according to reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

As the report notes, every Apple iPhone since the beginning, back in 2007, has included a free pair of wired headphones in the box. First with a 3.5mm jack, and later with a Lightning connector. According to Kuo's latest research note, however, that might all be about to change:

However, in a TF International Securities research note issued to investors today and seen by MacRumors, Kuo said he expects Apple to leave out the traditional wired earphones that come with iPhones, which will usher in strong demand for ‌AirPods‌ shipments this year.

According to the report, Kuo also expects AirPods shipments to increase in the second half of the year as Apple looks to offload its AirPods inventory, perhaps even hosting a special AirPods promotion towards the end of 2020. The report states:

However, ‌AirPods‌ shipments will benefit from increasing demand beginning in the third quarter, coupled with continuing strong demand for AirPods Pro throughout the year buoyed by Apple's expected promotional offer in the second half of 2020. Overall, Kuo predicts shipments to grow from his original estimate of 80-90 million pairs to 93.8 million pairs.

The move to eschew EarPods from its iPhone box could prove controversial but also makes some sense. As noted, Apple is keen to push more and more customers to its AirPods. Whilst more expensive, the trend of wired to wireless in this field will only move forward, not back. It could also potentially have an environmental impact, helping Apple to reduce the size of its iPhone boxes. Whilst the space saved in one iPhone package might seem negligible, when factored by the colossal amount of iPhones Apple ships each year, it could add to up to a substantial saving in shipping costs and carbon emissions. Not to mention, Apple would also save in not producing the EarPods for iPhone packages.