What AirPods say about the future of Apple

How the company’s AirPods strategy could be used down the road.

Singdhi Sokpo

Remember when headphones came free with iPhones?

Over time, the company replaced that perk with must-have AirPods, responsible for ~$25B in 2021 revenue, per Bloomberg.

Understandably, Apple’s buds work better with Apple products than any others. It’s a practice that some, like AirTag competitor Tile and Google (regarding iMessage), consider abusive market power.

It also says a lot…

… about where Apple’s headed. The most “original” product of the Cook era may be the upcoming Apple Reality headset. (“AR,” get it?)

  • Demand for such a product isn’t much, but neither was demand for AirPods at launch, necessarily. Cue this “Conan” spoof from 2016.
  • It also won’t be the market’s only offering. Meta has already sold ~15m Quest 2 headsets, for instance.

Apple’s headset, however, will be the one that works best with your iPhone, AirPods, and $10/mo. Apple Music account. That setup could make it a home run.

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