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Apple AirPods 2 rumor roundup: everything we think we know

The Apple AirPods are ripe for a refresh in 2019, if only because these truly wireless in-ear headphones are approaching their third year on shelves without a single hardware revision. From where Apple is sitting, it's easy to see why it has been released this long to release a new version. There are now several truly wireless headphones on the market – good ones, even – but new options like the Samsung Galaxy Buds are only now beginning to be on the AirPods' biggest selling point: simplicity. AirPods are recognized by iPhones and iPads when you open their case, and they play nicely on macOS computers, too, where we've seen many Bluetooth headphones. The AirPods' design got a lot right back in 201 6, and you can read our reviews to see why we like them. But now, it's Apple's turn to make a move again. Based on the rumors we've seen, Apple's next AirPods will focus on winning over the remaining holdings that still use the wired, Lightning-connected Earpods that come with a new iPhone. The AirPods 2 may release in the first half of 2019 The AirPods 2 will release within the first half of 2019, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a reliable track record on Apple products in development. For instance, Kuo accurately predicted the display specs and pricing of the iPhone XR close to a year before its unveiling. This also indicates that Apple may be working on a more premium AirPods 2 model…

The Apple AirPods are ripe for a refresh in 2019, if only because these truly wireless in-ear headphones are approaching their third year on shelves without a single hardware revision. From where Apple is sitting, it’s easy to see why it has been released this long to release a new version. There are now several truly wireless headphones on the market – good ones, even – but new options like the Samsung Galaxy Buds are only now beginning to be on the AirPods’ biggest selling point: simplicity. AirPods are recognized by iPhones and iPads when you open their case, and they play nicely on macOS computers, too, where we’ve seen many Bluetooth headphones.

The AirPods’ design got a lot right back in 201

6, and you can read our reviews to see why we like them. But now, it’s Apple’s turn to make a move again. Based on the rumors we’ve seen, Apple’s next AirPods will focus on winning over the remaining holdings that still use the wired, Lightning-connected Earpods that come with a new iPhone.

The AirPods 2 may release in the first half of 2019

The AirPods 2 will release within the first half of 2019, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a reliable track record on Apple products in development. For instance, Kuo accurately predicted the display specs and pricing of the iPhone XR close to a year before its unveiling. This also indicates that Apple may be working on a more premium AirPods 2 model for release in 2019 that offers water resistance and noise cancellation.

Apple will reportedly host an event on March 25th, 2019, which is near the end of the first quarter, but don’t get too excited: it’s said to be services-focused, centered on Apple’s TV streaming plans or its Apple News subscription service, not on hardware. Apple has been known for having a card up its sleeve at its events, so it’s possible that the AirPods 2 could get a surprise announcement.

They may be more expensive

The current AirPods are $ 159, but a report from Bloomberg states that the next-gen AirPods may cost more. It also mentions that Apple may offer multiple AirPods models at different pricing tiers, similar to how it sells its other products. As far as Apple will distinguish the models, it’s still murky. We expect better audio performance and build quality across the second-generation wireless headphone line. Hands-free voice commands and the ability to charge wirelessly as standard will suggest that Apple may introduce a high-end model that costs even more, with noise cancellation, water resistance, and health monitoring features.


Photos by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Are they the same, mostly

Are the AirPods fashionable? The verdict is mixed for various verge staffers, but Apple’s headphone design has not changed much (sans cutting the cord) since they were introduced with the original iPod, and the AirPods 2 will probably keep a similar shape. Rumors don’t point to an overhaul, though a recent tidbit from MacRumors claims that an Apple hardware supplier is making the next AirPods in a new black color option, and that it may add a matte texture to the AirPods , which would help them stay put in your ears.

It’s no secret that Apple has plans for AirPods that charge wirelessly. It showed AirPods charging on top of the delayed AirPower charging path at one of its 2017 events, but AirPods that can charge wirelessly might have a slightly bigger case in order to fit a Qi charging coil, according to rumor from 9to5Mac . But otherwise, wireless charging should not change the way they look.

AirPods 2 may support “Hey Siri ‘hands-free voice commands

Sometimes, pulling out your phone isn’t the easiest or safest thing to do, and for the owners, being able to say “Hey Siri” to place calls and tasks would be a good feature to have.

Back in January, the iOS 12.2 beta included a “Hey Siri” setup interface for hands-on free commands on AirPods, which is a stronger than most Apple plans to incorporate into its headphones at some points.


it showed a set of AirPods charging on it, cable-free. It’s unclear if the product shown is the new AirPods 2, or a case for the original model that is compatible with wireless chargers. But since the AirPower is still a no-show, allegedly due to a part of an overheating issue, this may also have caused a delay for either of those products.

The latest rumors from late 2018 indicate that the AirPods 2 will have wireless charging support, but it’s not clear if it’s the earpiece can be charged by being placed on a wireless charger, or if you need a compatible case to do it.

In January, we heard that the AirPower charging may have entered production and may be released soon. Given that the AirPods 2 are predicted by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo to release before the end of the first half of 2019, Apple may take the opportunity to release the AirPower as well as highlight the feature. According to a recent rumor from 9To5Mac one has the publication states comes from an unreliable source, the next AirPods may even be fully charged via wireless charging in 15 minutes.

The AirPods 2 may be water-resistant

Adding water resistance to any product provides peace of mind, in case you drop them in a drink or a puddle. It’s great if the next AirPods were water-resistant, since having them fall out of your ears is a concern for some people – including my colleague Sean O’Kane, who reviewed the AirPods. Water resistance might also help if you drop them in a toilet, but it will not help you forget that you, you know, dropped them in a toilet.

One of the earliest rumors pointed to the next AirPods receiving some form of water resistance. Each subsequent rumor has made a mention of water resistance which is included in the new hardware, which, by itself, won will be in existence, but it suggests that it might be true. It is unclear if water resistance will be a standard feature, or if it will be reserved for a more premium version.

The AirPods 2 may have noise cancellation

Noise cancellation is the feature that blocks out the ambience around you: the crying baby, the loud clatter of the train, the person chewing noisily across the table. Whether you’re trying to concentrate, get some rest, or just focus on the music or podcast you’re listening to, it’s a useful feature. According to a report from Bloomberg in mid-2018, Apple was planning to introduce the AirPods 2 with a noise cancellation feature. Bloomberg ‘s expected 2018 release window has come and gone, but similar to the rumored water resistance feature, noise cancellation is mentioned in most rumors concerning Apple’s next AirPods.

In the same report, Bloomberg mentions that Apple could segment the product at multiple price points, and since noise cancellation is generally regarded as a premium feature, and one not commonly found within the truly wireless headphone competition, it’s possible that it could be reserved for a high-end model.

The next AirPods may have health-monitoring sensors

FDA clearance to notify you if it detects an irregular heart rhythm using an electrocardiogram (ECG). Apple’s exploration of a health-monitoring feature for the next-generation AirPods as well, and DigiTimes recently reported that such a feature will appear within the first half of 2019.

The rumors don’t divulge what we can see in the final product – whether it’s a sensor to track your steps, or to monitor your heart rate, for example – but more tracking means more sensors, and more sensors may require more of the very precious real estate that exists within the design of the tiny airpods. Aside from rumors that Apple can make a few minor tweaks to the look and feel of its next AirPods, it will be working against some tough design constraints to fit even more features inside. We see what happens when they release, but a lot like this makes the wait even more exciting.

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