As demand for AirPods continues to be stronger than expected, respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has now revised his sales estimate for the next year saying the popular wireless earphones will ship double the units.
In Monday’s note to clients, obtained by MacRumors, the analyst writes that he expects AirPods shipments next year in the range of 26-28 million units. This also indicates that Apple shipped 13-14 million units of AirPods in 2017.
AirPods are “Apple’s most important accessory product,” Kuo added.
AirPods are now shipping in 1-3 business days, which Kuo attributes to an improved assembly process and increased capacity from Chinese company Luxshare as the new assembler of the $159 earbuds, in addition to the existing assembled Inventec.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said last month that AirPods generated the annual revenue of a Fortune 400 company in the 2017 fiscal year.
“The combination of music streaming on Apple Music and AirPods is truly a magical experience for people on the go,” he said”. “We’re thrilled with the momentum of these products. In fact, our entire wearables business was up 75 percent year over year in the fourth quarter, and in fiscal 2017, already generated the annual revenue of a Fortune 400 company.”
It’s unclear when a second-generation AirPods with Apple’s W2 chip might arrive. Apple is scheduled to release a version of the AirPods charging case with Qi wireless charging capability at some point in in 2018.