Latest analyst report predicts 'stable' 2019 iPhone sales, AirPods 3 release by year's end
iPhone XS and XS Max demand is reportedly "stable"
It's no big secret that Apple is hard at work on three new iPhone models to follow in the footsteps of last year's XS, XS Max, and XR with largely unchanged designs, but industry pundits and analysts don't seem to agree on how successful this generation might prove. Unlike a Rosenblatt Securities expert quoted just yesterday as anticipating disappointing sales from the upcoming iPhone 11 lineup, a report compiled by Wedbush Securities and relayed by 9To5Mac today characterizes current demand for iOS devices as "stable", expecting that general state of affairs to remain the same for the foreseeable future.
In other words, while current and future iPhone sales are unlikely to set the world on fire, no steep declines are to be expected anytime soon, at least according to this particular financial services and investment firm.
180 million unit sales prediction - good or bad result?
Wedbush reportedly remains "confident" Apple will be able to meet the firm's previous forecast, but the question that arises here is whether or not that 180 million total would be satisfactory for the Cupertino-based tech giant. At first glance, that may seem like a lot of phones, but it's actually significantly less than 2018 estimates put together by various market research companies.
The IDC (International Data Corporation), for instance, approximated the number of iPhones sold worldwide last year at more than 208 million, while Canalys went even higher, counting over 212 million unit shipments. Those figures represented a small decline from the official 215.8 million count of 2017, but due to intensifying trouble in key markets like China and India, we always expected them to drop further this year.
Then again, Samsung and Huawei are unlikely to make substantial gains in 2019 either (for very different reasons), and J.P. Morgan predicts iPhone sales will sharply bounce back in 2020 thanks to a more radical redesign, an expansion to a four-model lineup including a low-cost variant with a small LCD panel, and the adoption of 5G technology on three of those four handsets.
In contrast, the three new iPhones expected out this fall could settle for relatively modest upgrades and very subtle design revisions... apart from a highly controversial move to a square-shaped rear-facing camera arrangement with a noticeable bump.
AirPods 3 release tipped by the end of the year
Yes, a refreshed version of Apple's "magical" AirPods has already seen daylight this year, following in the footsteps of the 2016-released original. No, that's not technically called the AirPods 2. But an AirPods 3 variant is still widely rumored for a late 2019 or early 2020 debut, although odds are it will go official under a different name as well.
In addition to long overdue "waterproofing features", the third-gen AirPods might bring some vague "design enhancements" to the table, according to Wedbush analysts. Unfortunately, there's no mention today of noise cancellation technology, undoubtedly the most important upgrade anticipated by Apple's hardcore fanbase, so it's unclear exactly how the "AirPods 3" will differ from the recently released Beats Powerbeats Pro.
A less sporty, more stylish design is a given, but that may not be enough to help the next-gen wireless earbuds shine, especially when also compared with the likes of Sony's WF-1000XM3. Of course, with weaker than expected sales rumored for the (early) 2018-released AirPods, Apple might have little choice but to upgrade the headphones again in the face of increasingly heated competition.
The bad news is that even if noise-cancelling features are not added into the equation, price points could go up if an "enhanced" water-resistant design is indeed adopted.