Supply chain report hints at massive AirPods 2 demand, 2019 AirPods 3 release seems unlikely

Supply chain report hints at massive AirPods 2 demand, 2019 AirPods 3 release seems unlikely
Apple totally hit one out of the ballpark with the release of its "magical" AirPods almost two and a half years back, which proved immensely popular all this time despite staying unrefreshed until just a few weeks ago. But after waiting so long for a second-gen model sold both paired with a wireless charging case and a standard wired charging case, we immediately started hearing rumors about a potential threequel likely to see daylight by the end of this year with noise cancelation technology in tow.

While the latest Digitimes report doesn't explicitly refute that speculation, its subtext certainly seems to suggest the AirPods 2 wireless headphones will stick around for quite some time. Whether or not that means we need to wait until 2020 for third-generation AirPods remains unclear, but there are a number of interesting things we can derive from today's "industry sources"-based news piece.

The AirPods 2 are a smash hit


Since Apple is unlikely to ever release the official sales numbers of its recently refreshed true wireless stereo (TWS) headphones, we can only rely on third-party estimates and supply chain reports to assess the popularity of these bad boys. The early signs are definitely encouraging, as a key supplier is purportedly ramping up production as we speak to presumably keep up with tremendous demand.


Unitech Printed Circuit Board is in charge of manufacturing the rigid-flex boards of the second-gen AirPods, and although Apple is not the Taiwanese company's only client, it's obviously the biggest one. The fact Unitech is looking to expand its production capacity by between 25 and 30 percent this year alone to "meet the increased demand for shipments by clients" makes us strongly believe the AirPods 2 are doing much better than expected at the global box-office.

Something also tells us Apple's initial expectations weren't very modest for the highly anticipated sequel to a device that was deemed at one point the tech giant's second best-selling product "out of the gate." According to Digitimes, the AirPods accounted for a mind-blowing 70 percent of the global TWS headphone market before a refreshed variant was even unveiled.

Can anyone threaten Apple's domination?


That's clearly an impossible question to answer for several reasons, but what we know for sure is that many companies will soon try to dethrone or at least reduce the incredible domination of Apple's AirPods. We're talking everyone from Microsoft to Amazon, Samsung, Huawei, Sony, and Google. A few of these big names have already released "true wireless stereo" earbuds, naturally looking to improve the likes of the Pixel Buds, FreeBuds, and Galaxy Buds for future generations expected to stick with traditional rigid-flex board designs.


In contrast, Apple might be considering the adoption of a radical new type of internal design for the AirPods 3 containing a system in package (SiP) for vastly improved performance, battery life, and energy efficiency. If Cupertino can pull that off in 2019 or even 2020, leaving all the competition behind, its towering position in the wireless headphone market is probably in no immediate danger.

The most likely scenario right now, at least in our humble opinion, consists of an early 2020 announcement of third-gen AirPods with an entirely new design and beefed-up features, possibly alongside a rehashed version of this year's model catering to folks on tighter budgets. Basically, we expect to see a new S and a new R model of the wireless AirPods released no sooner than next year. But naturally, there are no guarantees of any sort in any direction yet.

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16 Comments

1. iloveapps

Posts: 724; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

As usual, apple is doomed! Airpods is ugly. Its overpriced and not gonna sell.

6. japkoslav

Posts: 1465; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Airpods are one of the worst headphones when it comes to soud quality, but as you can see that is not a problem for a lot of people.

8. darkkjedii

Posts: 30900; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I don't mind the sound quality at all. What my AirPod issue is, is the connection issues. Sometimes they won't connect, and other times they won't stay connected. when they're not having connection issues, they're great, loud, clear, easy to clean, and easy to take out, and put back in the case. Very nice product.

10. japkoslav

Posts: 1465; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

TBH I did not suffer these issues with mine. Sure it's BT 4.2 so the range is not that great and signal sometimes get lost for a fraction of a second, but my major gripe is really just the sound and the cheap plastic tip you stuff in your ear. $14 TWS sounds better than Airpods and are even much more comfortable. Maybe TWS made by Beats won't suck so hard, who knows. BTW: Easy to clean? Never had the issue with any of my headphones. How do you personally imagine headphones that are hard to clean? I am really curious.

12. darkkjedii

Posts: 30900; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I also have the iconx 2018, they gave a soft detachable tip, and when you go to wipe em off after say a work out, the tip comes off sometimes. dirt gets under the tip too. AirPods clean up easier, cause it's one solid piece.

13. japkoslav

Posts: 1465; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

That is what I meant :-D I clean my headphones this way, take off the silicon tip, clean it, pop it back on. I don't feel you can do this on Airpods, unless glue gives up, there was always a bit of dirt in small plastic spaces on Airpods I tested. On earbuds you can properly clean then, I mean take off the tips spray them with some cleaning stuff and you are good to go. I think hygiene is not that bad for something you insert in your ear ;)

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 30900; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

It's not, but I spoke on ease, not how hygienic one is over the other.

16. mackan84

Posts: 282; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Is it the bass you miss on AirPods? Because according to iphonedos test on YouTube vs the galaxy buds they have a better register in sound then buds.

2. whatev

Posts: 2154; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

I got AirPods 2 this week, they are amazing :)

3. kryme

Posts: 468; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

Why would there be a version 3 so early?? I’m not expecting that for at least 2 more years

5. surethom

Posts: 1635; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

I can't wear them they fallout of my ears, they need a version with non slip coating.

7. japkoslav

Posts: 1465; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Maybe because 2.gen is not really 2.gen, they only replaced BT 4.2 chip with a 5.0 one. Maybe they are cooking a real, new version.

4. surethom

Posts: 1635; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

True wireless pixel buds with the same in ear design NOT bullet in ear design. Please

14. japkoslav

Posts: 1465; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Oh, god let us just all finally forget something like Pixel buds ever existed.

9. JMartin22

Posts: 2355; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

AirPods 3 seems “unlikely” because they just released a second generation product this year. Has nothing to do with the demand. The only way I could see this scenario being a possibility is if it wasn’t a direct refresh of the product, but an entirely different premium offering that’s more expensive and designed differently to offer things like noise cancellation. Kind of like an AirPods “Pro”

11. japkoslav

Posts: 1465; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Noise cancelling is not really possible for Airpods.

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