Apple AirPods 2: new features to expect

This third-party wireless charging case may be a harbinger of things to come with the upgraded AirPods

In last year's iPhone announcement, Apple depicted a new wireless charging case for its AirPods that will go with its AirPower mat, but neither the wireless charger nor the case have materialized just yet. Since the case should launch together with AirPower, if Apple wants users to take full advantage of the wireless charging craze that is sweeping its gadgets, we are rounding up all the rumors about the inevitable AirPods update that may be announced as soon as September 12.

Apple AirPods 2 specs and features

Longer battery life, always-on Siri, water-resistance, and noise-cancelation are in the AirPods future

Apple has upgraded AirPods 2 buds in the pipeline, and this revelation came straight from reputed analyst's Ming-Chi Kuo, making it all but a certain proposition. At the time, the reputed Apple analyst was mum on the new features that the AirPods 2 could bring, save for a "smaller quartz component," yet he did tip a release date for some time in the second half of 2018.

Apple AirPods 2: new features to expect
Barclays' analysts, however, reported in a memo to clients that the real AirPods 2 are not coming before early 2019, and that the set will feature some sort of water-proofing as well as an elaborate noise-cancellation system. The upgrade to the existing AirPods that may be announced next week, however, will sport a couple of very important new features, too, apart from the case redesign to pass wireless charging through.

First off, Apple's awesome cable-less Bluetooth earbuds are expected to introduce a Siri agent that will always be listening for your "safe word" command. The more important upgrade, though, will reportedly be swapping the W1 chip design that is in the current AirPods with the W2 Bluetooth connectivity chip that made a cameo in the latest Apple Watch Series 3. This homebrew silicon halves the power draw of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity compared to W1, so we might be looking at even longer battery life from the upgraded AirPods that may be available just few short weeks from now.

Apple AirPods 2 price and release date

Upgraded AirPods for September 12 at $159, @realAirPods2 in 'early 2019' for more

It will take Apple a while to stuff enough tech in its tiny earbuds when it comes to the real AirPods 2 upgrade with its rumored isolation of the surrounding noises. The Barclay's analysts thus confirmed a Bloomberg report that the next-gen AirPods 2 will be released in "early 2019," while an upgraded version of the current model is to be unveiled at Apple's September 12 event.

Apple AirPods 2: new features to expect
Thus, the most clear-cut scenarios forecast updated AirPods at the current $159 price, but with an always-on Siri and W2 co-processor inside to improve battery life. What will Apple do with the first AirPods that have none of those shenanigans? Well, it might very well lower the price, or discontinue the OG buds altogether. 

The @realAirPods2, however, with the water-resistant and noise-canceling features, may not arrive before the first quarter of 2019, at a price that will likely be higher than the enhanced version of the original that Apple may be about to announce this coming Wednesday at its iPhone 2018 event. Yes, that would include an AirPods wireless charging case unveiling to go along with the AirPower mat, which might cease to be vaporware as soon as next week. 


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