Manufacturers think AirPods Max are a ‘niche’ product that won’t sell in volume

AirPods Max red and black
Is the AirPods Max a product that won’t sell to the masses?
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

It’s way too early to have a sense of how many units Apple will sell of its newly announced AirPods Max headphones. But according to a rumor from Digitimes, two of the manufacturers involved with production are “not expecting much” from the “niche” product.

The report cites sources from Compaq Manufacturing and Unitech, two companies reportedly making printed circuit boards for the new headphones. Unsurprisingly, both firms declined to give official responses with their verdicts.

The report observes that:

“PCB suppliers in Taiwan are not expecting a significant boost to their sales from AirPods Max, reasoning that over-ear headphones are positioned as a niche segment with higher prices but smaller market scale compared to earbuds, the sources said.”

The article notes that wireless earbud shipments came to around 45 million pairs in a recent quarter. Over-the-ear headphones, however, come to just 20 million. This latter market is also very competitive with JBL, Sony and Bose “firmly in the leader group in terms of market share,” the report notes.

Niche product: Are AirPods Max destined to be a hit?

Digitimes‘ report doesn’t give any figures. It’s therefore impossible to draw much in the way of conclusions from it. The broad strokes aren’t especially surprising: No-one should surely be expecting the AirPods Max (selling price $549) to outsell AirPods (starting at $159).

With AirPods Max, Apple has purposely pursued the same strategy it did with HomePod. That means that it is making a product aimed at audiophiles, built around premium price tags and audio. Early sales indicators suggest that it’s selling well. Early reviews (err, “first impressions”) are also generally very good. But we won’t have an idea of how this does with average consumers for a while.

One of the first interesting metrics will be whether Apple supposedly adjusts it sales orders in one direction or the other to reflect consumer demand.

Are you sold on AirPods Max? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Digitimes