Apple is expected to ship 60 million units of AirPods in 2019, double the number of units it shipped in 2018. The boost in shipment comes thanks to the launch and the “much higher” demand of the AirPods Pro.
The AirPods Pro was announced by Apple via a simple press release towards the end of October. It is priced at $249 and brings a new design with active noise cancellation and sweat resistance. The demand for the pro AirPods have far surpassed Apple’s expectations and has led to the company’s manufacturing partners to work at full capacity.
The $249 AirPods Pro — which offer noise cancellation and water resistance — have surpassed expectations and demand for them is pushing Apple’s assembly partners against capacity and technical constraints, a person familiar with the matter said. Multiple suppliers are competing for the business of manufacturing the Pro earphones, though some are still building up the technical proficiency.
The AirPods Pro are currently back-ordered by about two to three weeks in the U.S.
The original AirPods which were launched in December 2016 also received a similar consumer response. They were in high demand for months following their launch and a supply-demand balance could only be achieved after about a year of the wireless earbuds being on sale.
Apple refreshed the original AirPods in the first half of the year with better battery life, improved latency, and (optional) wireless charging. The AirPods Pro, on the other hand, is meant to cater to pro users who want better sound quality, noise cancellation, and other goodies. While there are plenty of other AirPods and AirPods Pro competitors in the market, none of them offer the same level of convenience as Apple’s offerings.