Anyone traversing sidewalks, trains, buses and running paths have noticed the white sticks sticking out of the ears of a growing number of people. Apple’s completely wireless AirPods — a type of completely wire-free earbuds that wirelessly connect via Bluetooth not only to a smartphone or music player but to each other — are ever-present, a new cultural must-have.
Yes, Apple dominates this new “true” wireless category, also referred to as “hearables” to differentiate them from more traditional behind-the-neck wireless Bluetooth earphones. According to The NPD Group, Apple accounts for 86 percent of the dollar volume in this nascent headphone sub-category category.
But Apple’s early dominance of the true wireless market doesn’t mean other manufacturers — and non-Apple retailers — can’t or won’t get involved.