New AirPods 2019 vs original AirPods: all the differences

New AirPods vs old ones: what's the difference?
After a long wait, the new AirPods are finally here! The first generation is officially removed from the store, which means for new buyers there’s no decision to be made. However, owners of Apple’s earbuds might be wondering if it’s worth upgrading to the new model. To help them with that decision, let’s take a look at what the new pair has to offer!

The new chip

The big change in the new AirPods is coming thanks to Apple’s new H1 chip that’s replacing the W1 chip found in the first-gen earbuds. As usual, Apple isn't encumbering people with technical details about the new chip, instead, it’s just telling us what improvements we can expect to see because of it.

In the case of the new AirPods, Apple is promising a few improvements. First, two times faster switching between active devices, meaning when you get back home and want to switch from your iPhone to your MacBook, the transition will be even smoother.

Additionally, improvements have been made when it comes to phone calls connection speed, now 1.5x faster than before. We’re sure that’s what you’ve always wanted! But there’s more! The H1 is also helping to reduce the sound latency you might have experienced when playing games on your iPhone. With the new AirPods, Apple has shaved down some milliseconds to bring that latency down 30%.

What is going up, however, is talk time! A 50% improvement, according to Apple, for a total of 3 hours (was 2 hours before, if you don’t like doing math). If your prime use of the headphones was talking and not listening to music, then you’re in luck!

Of course, the new chip is also bringing “higher-quality sound” but there are no details exactly which aspect of the AirPods’ sound is now better, I guess we’ll have to wait and hear for ourselves.

If you’re not excited with these improvements, it’s understandable. Now it’s time to get to the more significant stuff!

Siri is now voice-activated

Before, you had to go through the extra effort of lifting your arm and tapping one of your AirPods if you needed Siri’s assistance, but now you can call her by just saying “Hey Siri.” After you have Siri’s attention, you can ask her to adjust your volume, play something specific or call one of your contacts. This might sound like a small change but the extra convenience could be really helpful when you’re carrying something in your hands or using your AirPods as a hands-free device when driving.

Wireless charging case

Probably the biggest new thing is the new wireless charging case. Since the new AirPods have an identical design to their predecessors, the case is compatible with both models, old and new, and is also sold separately for $79. Don’t think, however, that it’s coming standard with the new AirPods, you’ll have to pay $199 to get the combo. If you’re not keen on having the new case, you can get the second gen Apple earbuds with a standard charging case for the same $159 price.

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Besides the wireless charging, it seems there aren’t any other benefits of the new case, it can store the same amount of power and give your AirPods about 24 hours of playback time over multiple charges. Popping the earbuds in the case for 15 minutes should give you 3 hours of battery life.

What we didn’t get

  • Longer music playback time - While there is an improvement in talk time, what most people would have liked to get is longer battery life when enjoying their favorite tunes, podcasts and other media. With AirPods 2019 you still get 5 hours of listening time just like before. It seems that will have to wait until the major redesign of the AirPods to get a bigger battery or just more efficient speakers.
  • Active noise cancelling - One of the new features that were rumored for the 2019 AirPods was ANC but that’s nowhere to be seen as well, a real bummer.
  • Black AirPods - Despite leaks promising that Apple fans will finally be able to buy black AirPods straight from the mothership, the white color option remains the only one available for now.

So, who are these for? Plain and simple: people that don’t have AirPods yet. If you have the original pair and insist on using wireless charging, then, by all means, buy the new case and go charge your AirPods on the back of your friend’s Galaxy S10. Otherwise, the improvements are just too minor to justify spending $160. Sure, maybe the sound will be better as well, but we doubt it will be $160 better. We're sure bigger changes will come to the AirPods eventually, but these are more like AirPods 1.5 rather than AirPods 2.

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