Apple is widely expected to announce a new version of AirPods Pro this year, potentially bringing new health-tracking features and design updates. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is also now predicting that Apple will discontinue the original AirPods Pro once the second generation has been announced, signaling a strategy shift from AirPods 2 and AirPods 3.
In a post on Twitter today, Kuo explained that Apple has cut orders for AirPods 3 by over 30% for the second and third quarters of this year. The analyst explains that demand for AirPods 3 is “significantly weaker” than AirPods 2 due to the “failed product segmentation strategy.”
As a refresher, when Apple announced AirPods 3 last year, it simultaneously cut the price of the second-generation AirPods and left them in the AirPods lineup. This means Apple currently sells three different truly wireless AirPods variations: AirPods 2, AirPods 3, and AirPods Pro.
Apple had hoped that people would be tempted by the new features and design of AirPods 3 to spend the higher price compared to AirPods 2. Instead, that doesn’t appear to be what’s happened. Kuo suggests that the “segmentation strategy” has failed, and buyers are still largely opting for the more affordable AirPods 2 rather than AirPods 3.
To avoid this similar situation from happening with AirPods Pro 2, Apple is planning to discontinue the original AirPods Pro once the second-generation model is released. Kuo writes:
AirPods 3 orders for 2-3Q22 have been cut by 30%+. Due to the failed product segmentation strategy, demand for AirPods 3 is significantly weaker than for AirPods 2. AirPods Pro may get discontinued after Apple launches AirPods Pro 2 in 2H22 to avoid repeating the same mistake.
What this means is that if you were hoping for AirPods Pro to stick around at a lower price following AirPods Pro 2, that likely won’t be the case.
AirPods Pro 2 are expected to feature a handful of upgrades, including Lossless support, a new form factor, and new health features. Kuo has repeatedly said that AirPods Pro 2 are destined for a release during the second half of 2022, a claim which he reiterates today.
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