Apple officially released Beats Studio Buds true wireless noise-canceling headphones on June 14. The product is small in size, available in white, black, and classic red. The price is 1,099 yuan. This headset is already on Apple’s official website. Orders will be opened on July 2 and will be shipped on July 6.
Tianfeng International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a report today that his latest industry survey pointed out that Apple’s recently released new TWS Beats Studio Buds use MediaTek’s 22nm process TWS chips instead of Apple’s own 16nm process H1 chips. Guo Mingchi believes that Apple’s adoption of MediaTek’s TWS chip solution and clear positioning of Android device users as one of its target customers will help Apple increase its market share in TWS. Guo Mingchi believes that Apple’s adoption of MediaTek’s TWS chip will significantly help MediaTek to promote TWS chip solutions to other brand customers and further cooperation with Apple in the future.
The report also said that due to lower-than-expected demand for AirPods in 2Q21 (the second quarter of 2021), AirPods shipments in 2021 were revised down to approximately 70-75 million units (vs. the previous forecast of 7.500-85 million units). Although Apple is still a leader in the TWS market, its market share continues to decline.
Guo Mingchi maintains the view of the previous report that the key to enhancing the long-term competitive advantage of AirPods lies in strengthening the AirPods ecosystem (Siri service) or launching innovative AirPods experiences (such as health management/tracking). However, the above strategies are not easy to see results in the short term. Guo Mingchi believes that Apple’s strategy of launching new TWS Beats models for Android users is expected to improve Apple’s TWS market share decline in the short term (2H21–1H22). Even if the AirPods Pro 2 launched in 2022 does not have an innovative experience, Apple’s total shipments of TWS devices will return to more than 100 million units in 2022.
Guo Mingchi said that the benefits of using MediaTek chips for Beats Studio Buds include: shortened development timeline, more flexible competitive strategies, reduced costs, and differentiation from AirPods. Apple’s TWS dual-brand strategy will be clearer than in the past. AirPods will sell for higher prices. The target customers are Apple device users. The goal is to provide innovation and ecological experience to increase added value. Beats has a lower price, and its strategic target customers are Apple and non-Apple device users. The goal is to increase shipments/market share.
The report also claims that MediaTek is a key supplier for Apple’s TWS strategic transformation. This cooperation will help reduce MediaTek’s reliance on 5G chips and increase the possibility of obtaining other orders from Apple in the future. MediaTek’s TWS chip shipments are predicted to reach 140–150 million and 170–180 million in 2021 and 2022, respectively.