Report suggests AirPods might come free with 2020 iPhones
Reports coming from DigiTimes via MacRumors state that Apple is planning a major change for next year’s iPhones. And we don’t mean the rumored new design. According to unidentified sources, Apple is planning to put AirPods in the boxes of next year’s iPhones. Although it wasn’t mentioned by the sources, it’s safe to assume that only the Pro iPhone models will get the wireless earbuds and not the cheaper variant.
Too good to be true?
We’re taking these reports with a grain of salt, however. Apple has been notoriously stingy with the accessories it bundles with iPhones. This year Apple users got a fast charger with their $1,000 new smartphones for the first time ever and non-Pro users are still stuck with the criminally slow 5W charger. And when it comes to headphones, the company has been using the same cheap Lighting adapter headphones for years now, regardless of the iPhone model. This means there are three options:
Option 1: The report isn’t true. Everything remains the same.
Option 2: The report is true and Apple has decided to take a financial hit to please its users. While that would be amazing for Apple fans, it sounds more like something you’d wish for when seeing a shooting star. The cheapest AirPods cost $159, more than five times the price of the wired headphones in iPhone boxes today. And AirPods are still a strong seller so Apple would be shooting itself in the foot if it suddenly starts giving them away with iPhones, losing a massive amount of revenue in the process.
Option 3: The report is true but Apple will raise prices for its Pro models. This is something we can see happening. Apple bundles the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max with AirPods in the box but the base price is $100 more, for example. Technically, that means customers are saving $60, but at the same time, they’re paying $100 more than they would have otherwise if they already own a pair of AirPods. Of course, having an extra pair is not such a bad thing, you can always give them to someone else.
Samsung did it first
Overall, options 2 and 3 are realistic because we’ve already seen something similar in the industry. When releasing the Galaxy Note 10, Samsung bundled it with its own wireless earphones, the Galaxy Buds. While that was a temporary promotion, both Samsung and Apple can afford such a combo full-time if they want to.
For Apple, the move would make sense if it wants to further diversify its Pro models from the non-Pro. Currently, the differences between the two aren’t that significant and people often choose the cheaper option for obvious reasons. A pair of wireless earbuds alongside the other “pro” goodies Apple has in store for next year could significantly sweeten the deal and make more people reach deeper into their pockets for a high-end iPhone. That will be especially true if at the same time the prices go up a notch.
While it’s too early to say if something like that is on the Apple horizon for sure, one thing is certain and it’s that next year’s iPhone launch will be a major one for the company. Will it go all-out and bring unparalleled value to its customers or will it bring marginal improvements with a thick layer of sugar and superlatives on top, we’ll have to wait to find out.