Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple’s iPhone 12 won’t ship with Lightning EarPods

In a note to investors, TF Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple will not include the $29 Lightning EarPods in the iPhone 12 box. Kuo believes that Apple’s move which will ultimately boost AirPods/Pro adoption.

Apple's $29 EarPods with Lightning Connector ship with iPhone 11
Apple’s $29 EarPods with Lightning Connector
Apple’s EarPods with Lightning Connector include a built-in remote on the cord that lets you adjust the volume, control the playback of music and video, and answer or end calls with a pinch.

Mike Wuerthele for AppleInsider:

He isn’t specific as to why Apple will take the action, but does note that it may dovetail with a promotion for AirPods of some sort.

Furthermore, Kuo sees AirPods demand in the short-term waning, because of larger economic conditions. This is only temporary, though, as he sees growth on the year.

Previously, he predicted about 85 million sets of AirPods shipping. He now sees about 94 million shipping on the year in total, across the entire range of devices.

Kuo still sees no refresh of AirPods until 2021. While he does say that the market is expecting a refresh, he believes that the new Apple product is a set of Beats, and not AirPods.

MacDailyNews Take: Good. It’s time. If iPhone users want Apple’s $29 wired EarPods, they can buy them. Too many people now have AirPods or AirPods Pro (or some lesser wireless earphones), making the included Lightning EarPods superfluous. They increase the cost of the iPhone and are a waste environmentally as they were manufactured only to sit forever in a drawer or worse. This will also pave the way for port-free iPhones in the future.


  1. They should just sell the phone, and nothing else included, charger, ear pods… i have too many chargers and pods. They should def lower the price of wired and wireless options at the time of iPhone purchase and create bundled options for customers.

    1. I had a friend that was using a non-MFI charger, so I went and grabbed a new, never used charger and gave it to them because I have so many. I just need an iPhone Upgrade kit, I don’t need a starter kit with charger, headphones and cord 🙂

      Speaking of which, anyone need a pristine unused set of wired EarPods with Lightning connector?

  2. One option Apple may be considering:

    Apple could provide a reduced price add-on offer for every new iPhone purchase, wherein the user would get to choose between, EarPods, AirPods, and AirPod pros.

    The choice of earbuds could be included in the shipped package, but not in the iPhone box itself.

    There might not be a charge if the user chose EarPods, and for people choosing AirPods, Apple could deduct part of the cost of the (excluded) EarPods from the price of hose AirPods

    This could increase the sales of AirPods without incurring any backlash

  3. Never. “Reduced price add-on” isn’t in the DNA. Memory is a hiked-price ad-on, for example.

    I wish it wasn’t so and it can tend to keep purchases “in-house.”

  4. That’s fine, but maybe reduce the price for both Lightning and mini-stereo jack wired EarPods to $19. Production cost is probably less than $10. I use them because I need higher-quality voice recording. Apple’s wired headsets with that tiny microphone on the cord do a remarkably good job of recording voice audio, much better than AirPods without the latency issue of wireless. And I don’t need a large, cumbersome, and expensive stand-alone microphone for my current purposes.

    Also, Apple can get some PR points by reducing the full price of iPhone if customers opts to use their existing headphones, like AirPods. So, iPhone sold with only the phone and charger/cable in the box, but wired EarPods are included in full retail price of iPhone. Don’t need EarPods? $10 discount. Only when purchased directly from Apple online or at Apple Store. Could possibly do same thing with USB charger/cable (for separate $10 discount), but there may be concern that customer’s existing charger is not adequate (or even dangerous) for new iPhone.

  5. I never used the earbuds, neither the original nor the last ones, because I prefer headphones. Earbuds just don‘t fit in my ear. They drop out after seconds. I don‘t need iPhone to include them, It would be better if they include a cover case

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