Apple will switch its next-generation AirPods 3 to a complex system-in-package chip solution, which will replace the current surface mount technology the device uses, according to TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
It is expected that the Cupertino tech giant will launch new entry-level AirPods with a similar shape and design to AirPods Pro in the first half of 2021, Kuo said in a research note. By switching to chip packaging technology, the product could bring advanced features enjoyed by owners of the AirPods Pro to other users at a more affordable price point.
According to the report, the demand for components of the current-generation AirPods Pro will increase tremendously in the coming years:
“Kuo believes current-generation AirPods Pro part suppliers should see component shipments grow an estimated 50 percent to 100 percent year over year. The existing second-generation AirPods are expected to be discontinued when the new models are launched.”
The switch to SiP systems will enable producers to arrange more components into a smaller space. Apple’s AirPods Pro, for example, employ an SiP design with an Apple-designed H1 chip that handles audio, Siri commands, noise-canceling capabilities, and more. If this technology is brought to the standard AirPods, this could mean that the AirPods 3 might go through a complete re-design.
This technology could improve battery life, sound quality, and even improve Siri integration. However, since the noise cancellation feature has been reserved for the more expensive AirPods variant, it is unlikely that Apple will bring this feature to the cheaper AirPods 3.
Insider sources suggest that companies such as Amkor, JCET, and Huanxu Electronics will be manufacturing parts for the new AirPods, alongside Shin Zu Shing. And, Varta and Sunwoda Electronic will supply button cell batteries for Apple’s new Bluetooth earphones.
This year, sales for the AirPods are expected to grow by 65.1%. The expected growth in sales of Apple’s wireless earphones can be attributed to the company’s decision to sell the upcoming iPhone 12 without wired EarPods included in the box.