KEY POINTS

  • Apple is working on its third-gen AirPods model
  • The new audio device will ditch old tech found in existing AirPods
  • The company is also working on lowering the costs of producing new iPhones

Apple will be adopting new technology for the third-generation AirPods, ditching one that it previously used on the popular wireless earbuds.

Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently released a research note detailing how Apple will work to offset the cost of producing a certain iPhone model. He also talked about the company's plans regarding the upcoming AirPods.

In the research note spotted by MacRumors, Kuo reiterated previous claims about Apple's third-gen AirPods having a system-in-package (SiP) design similar to the one on the AirPods Pro. This means the next AirPods will no longer use the surface mount technology (SMT) second-gen AirPods.

If this is accurate, the third-gen AirPods will feature the same chip that allows the AirPods Pro to handle Siri commands, audio, noise-cancellation and more. It's unclear, however, if the next AirPods will feature active noise cancellation – the feature that sets the AirPods Pro apart from the non-Pro versions.

Kuo also pointed out that Apple is looking to apply “higher bargaining pressure” on its suppliers to be able to trim down the costs of making iPhone 12 handsets, as well as “iPhone 12S” units – models that the company will release in the second quarter of 2021.

Apple AirPods Apple AirPods and iPhone Photo: Wall Boat

Apple will use a different battery board design for these devices, Kuo said. Whereas the iPhone 11 series models use a “hard battery board” comprised of more layers, the analyst said the iPhone 12 will use a simpler, smaller battery board design comprised of fewer layers.

This hybrid “hard” and “soft” design will let Apple save about 40% to 50% on battery board costs for the upcoming devices.

Kuo noted that the iPhone 12S devices will use a cheaper “soft” battery board design that uses even fewer layers compared to the ones on the iPhone 12 series. This design will let Apple slash an additional 30% to 40% off the price of the iPhone 12 battery board.

This is notable as while the battery board may not be one of the more costly components used in iPhone production, a massive reduction in its price may very well help the company lower the cost of making new smartphones in the near future.