Apple has surpassed Microsoft and is now the world’s most valuable company. Valued at more than $1.065 trillion, Apple quickly rose to stardom much through the help of the original iPhone launched way back in 2007. While the Apple Mac was obviously around, it always seemed to play second fiddle to that of Microsoft’s PC. So, with learned experience in different areas of technology and after many successful years with the iPhone, the company decided to develop some accessories for their iconic phone – one of which being the Apple AirPods.  

Unless you’ve been hiding out in the deepest depths of the Universe, it’s very unlikely that you’ve not heard of these bad boys. In 2016 Apple released the AirPods – their first-ever wireless earbuds. For Apple, the idea was that they could sell the earphones as an add-on as opposed to giving them away with each phone purchase. Since the product was launched sales have continued to grow at a steady pace. Around 15 million devices were sold in 2017, 35 million in 2018, and an estimated 60 million in 2019. With an increase in price and a new model of AirPods available, the revenue generated from these earphones alone is now expected to be around 4.5% of Apple’s iPhone annual revenue. Converting that 4.5% into actual money works out at about $60 billion. 

And, the AirPods business just keeps getting better and better with the growth of more than 100% each and every year since 2018. In comparing the AirPods revenue to other tech companies, it fits nicely in between the likes of Uber and Adobe, coming just under the “private driver” transportation firm. But, even with all that taken into consideration, investors are still holding back. But, probably not for long, all things considered. There’s still a huge amount of growth room for the AirPods on the market. Sure, sales of the earphones may have surpassed 100 million, but sales of the iPhone have soared past 900 million. This confirms that the majority of iPhone users are either using wired earphones, third party products or none at all. So, plenty of room for sales.

Rumors have it that Apple may be launching an AirPods operating system sometime later this year with apps such as TTYL and Yac already creating the hype for audio-first applications. If Apple can pull off this new kind of application ecosystem centered around AirPods, it’s likely to come off pretty well as a result. Could audio experiences be the clincher for Apple when it comes to buyers choosing their next smartphone? Quite possibly. For Apple, the future success of AirPods is largely dependent on a combination of higher unit sales and increased prices. In the long-term, it won’t be AirPods running the show, helping Apple climb to the top. But, the development of a whole new audio ecosystem? Now that’s a different story.    

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