How did AirPods become Apple's hottest product?

Memes started when Apple released its new AirPods headphones in 2016. There are photoshopped photos, electric toothbrushes hanging from ears, and jokes about wireless earbuds like miniature hair dryers, oversized plastic earrings, and Snoopy.
But over the years, AirPods have become an unlikely status symbol and a company hit. On AirPods' launch day, customers lined up outside Apple stores as if they were buying new iPhones.
NBA players began wearing them on the "runway" before games as they walked to the locker room. Jagger Eaton, an Olympic skateboarder, wore one at a competition in Tokyo this summer. (He won a bronze medal.)There are AirPod cuffs that buckle around the ears, jewelry that clips to the stem, and expensive designer handbags from Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Coach.AirPods are everywhere: in Starbucks, in airport ears, and most recently during the pandemic, in phone calls between Zoom and WebEx.So it was perhaps no surprise that AirPods, widely reported as the launch of the MacBook, stole the show at Apple's fall product event on Monday.Apple has updated its AirPods collection for the first time in two years. The $179 AirPods 3 promises spatial audio, better sound quality, longer-lasting batteries, a new shape design, and a sound that can be customized to what the ear hears, a feature already available on Apple's high-end AirPods Pro line. They also have shorter stems and no plastic tips, subtle tweaks that highlight how the once-derided design continues to change.
Crucially, Apple also dropped the price of the second generation of AirPods to $129, which could help the company attract more customers and compete with a growing number of similar products from Amazon, Google, and Samsung.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said AirPods could account for about 5 percent of Apple's total revenue this year, and he predicted revenue could grow 20 percent by 2022, thanks in large part to new models and the cheaper AirPods 2. He expects Apple to sell 100 million units next year.
"The company has turned it into a $20 billion a year business, which is a big accomplishment for Apple," Ives told CNN Business. Apple doesn't break earbud sales numbers, but AirPods and Apple look, arguably two of the most successful new hardware products as CEO of Tim Cook -- key parts of clothing, and accessories, now collectively bring in more revenue than many places in the Mac division.
Part of the appeal of AirPods is that they work seamlessly. Like many Apple products, they are simple to configure, intuitive to use, easy to pair with apple's other devices, and well designed. Apple also removed the 3.5-inch headphone jack from the iPhone 7 in 2016, a controversial move that angered some consumers but later spurred the use of wireless headphones and headsets." Apple managed to get something out of the iPhone case...Users are then directed to buy additional, higher-priced accessories, "said David McQueen, research director at ABI Research, a market research firm."Apple is saying, these are aspirational products, and if you can afford a phone, you can buy our accessories for another few hundred dollars or so."By lowering the entry-level price of AirPods, Apple is again betting on the winning strategy it has used with products like the iPhone and The Apple Watch, which are often called the good, better, best models. In addition to AirPods 2 and 3, it's premium AirPods Pro costs $259 and Apple's AirPods Max headphones cost $550.Ramon Llamas, a director at IDC, the market research firm, said offering a range of products would not only encourage more consumers to buy Apple products but also allow them to become more deeply integrated into apple's ecosystem of devices and apps."AirPods are already integrated into the Apple ecosystem through Apple Music and Apple Fitness+, and Apple's millions of loyal fans prefer to stay with the Apple brand rather than consider other brands," Llamas said.

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