Prolific KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple will release an updated version of its AirPods earphones during the second half of 2018.

Although Kuo does not go into detail as to what the new AirPods will bring to the party, but there is a suggestion that they will include a new, smaller quartz component.

As of right now, anyone wanting to buy the current AirPods is simply unable to, with stocks having run out across the United States. Orders placed online have expected delivery dates reaching into 2018, with stocks in-store also drying up. This is unlikely to be related to any updated AirPods that could be on the way, but Kuo does believe the shortage to be caused by a shortage of a battery rigid-flex PCB.

If Apple is indeed set to refresh the AirPods next year then this may tie in with the expected release of the AirPower charging pad that was initially shown off alongside the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. The pad, which will charge iPhones, Apple Watches and AirPods via a new charging case, will be Apple’s first wireless charging solution.

A refreshed line of AirPods, including the new charging case, would make sense alongside an AirPower launch whenever that may be. To this point Apple has simply offered “2018” as an expected launch window for the device.

Whether the new AirPods would include new functionality or a new aesthetic remains to be seen, and it is obviously possible that any change would be purely “under the hood,” meaning to those using the earphones nothing would appear different. We may not know the answer to such questions for a number of months, but for now we would just settle for the current AirPods being more readily available than they are!

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