Bluetooth headphones are nothing new. Many brands have been marketing them for several years with the same design pattern: a cord that joins each earphone from behind or in front of the neck. It was not until Apple introduced the AirPods that this new type of totally wireless system began to become popular to the point of getting exact replicas and other alternatives of, for example, Samsung.
Although they were put on sale in December 2016, the AirPods have enjoyed good sales during all this time. In 2018 alone, more than 35 million were sold, a large number considering that the hardware was almost two years old. However, although they are still the kings with 60% market share, there are other brands that begin to overshadow them.
JLab, QCY, Samsung, and Jabra as great alternatives to AirPods
Many brands from the Asian continent have several proposals for quite interesting wireless headphones. As pointed Counterpoint, QCY offers this type of quality devices at a very low price, which has achieved a certain presence in the sector.
But other renowned manufacturers such as Jabra with Elite Active 65t, Samsung with Galaxy Buds and Bose with SoundSport Free are among the top 10, and that they sell at a price very similar to Apple’s AirPods.
If we divide by region in the last quarter of 2018 the thing is like this:
- North America – Apple is unrivaled. AirPods are the users’ favorites, but Samsung and Jabra, in addition to Jlab, are doing a good job and consumers are keeping them in mind as alternatives to be taken into account.
- Europe – Something different from the case of North America, where other wireless headphones are preferred like those of Jabra, which achieved a 14% market share.
- Asia Pacific – Those from Cupertino have a good presence in the Asian market, but other emerging manufacturers such as Britz and GLIDiC are strong.
- China – Apple has it crude in China. QCY has won the Chinese market with devices such as T1 and T1S, which are very cheap and offer good performance.
Will AirPods 2 return to repeat the success of their predecessors?
Apple introduced the AirPods 2 a few weeks ago. After months of rumors about possible heart rate sensors and other health-related ones, we find ourselves with a somewhat decaffeinated second generation. Its main claims are the H1 chip, the “Hey, Siri” function and the wireless charging case; all this at a price of 179 euros (229 euros if you prefer with the new case).
There is no substantial change in the sound quality, nor has the perspiration and water resistance been long-awaited by those who use them to play sports. In short, a new version that does not provide major differences from the previous one and whose price may not be justified.
In fact, users who have not been convinced by the new generation are finding offers of the first at a price much lower than the original output, they feel that they are not losing anything if they opt for it and, if they can save a few tickets then better than better.
And many of the users who are acquiring AirPods 2 do so because they are seeing theirs, literally dying. It seems that those who bought them immediately after leaving, now that they have spent more than two years, are noticing how the autonomy of the battery is terrible, giving very bad results in both music playback and phone calls. And they are in such a bad state that they can not be sold second hand because, practically, they are useless.
Surely Apple expects their new futuristic wireless headphones to repeat the success of the previous ones, but they have it difficult. High price and little innovation, something that is increasingly seen in the rest of their products, regardless of whether they are computers, mobile phones or tablets. There was a rumor that next September they would launch the true second generation of the AirPods with much more important changes than the “Hey, Siri”, but they risk the anger of the users who have just bought the not so fresh from the oven, which were ready from 2018.