- Amazon and Google may be working on wireless earbuds like Apple's AirPods, according to a well-respected analyst.
- These wireless earbuds would be integrated with voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
- Apple may also be looking into health features for its AirPods, according to the note.
Apple's wireless earbuds, AirPods, may soon be getting a few new rivals, according to a note from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Both Amazon and Google could soon be Apple's competitors in the wireless ear device market, Kuo predicted in a December 4 note seen by Business Insider.
"We believe that AirPods' success has drawn Google and Amazon's attention and these two companies will launch AirPod-alike products in [the second half of 2019]," Kuo wrote. "The combined shipments of two brands will likely reach 10-20 million units in [the second half of 2019.]"
"We think that Google and Amazon are Apple's main competitors because Google is the most influential brand in the Android ecosystem and Amazon has the best voice assistant service," he continued.
Google currently makes a set of wireless earbuds, called Pixel Buds. However, they have a wire connecting the two earpieces, unlike Apple's product.
Amazon makes a large number of speakers under its Echo brand, although its Alexa voice assistant hasn't yet been built into a pair of headphones designed by the ecommerce giant.
Apple's most popular accessory ever?
The note comes two days after TF International Securities predicted a new AirPods model will launch next year, and a redesigned version could be released in 2020. According to his model, Apple could sell more than 100 million pairs of AirPods in 2021.
Kuo is widely respected for predicting Apple products before they launch. In Tuesday's note, he says that AirPods will become "increasingly important in Apple's ecosystem," because they increase the reasons why a user might decide not to switch from iPhone to Android.
He also believes that since the ear is "a perfect sensing area for detecting various health data," Apple may decide to integrate the AirPods with health-focused Apple Watch features in the future.
Ultimately, Kuo believes that "more brand vendors are paying more attention to wireless earbud sales for near-term momentum improvements and long-term strategic movements while smartphone shipments are slowing."
TF International Securities notes are targeted at investors in Asian manufacturing companies, and this note has picked Goertek and Unitech as possible winners as Google and Amazon ramp up their AirPod competitors.