When Apple unveiled its diminutive AirPods earbuds in 2016, there was concern. Many industry watchers questioned if such small devices could stay in your ears all day and whether they would deliver the audio performance you'd expect from high-end earbuds.
But after the buds launched in December 2016, all of those fears were laid to rest. And Apple's AirPods have become some of the most celebrated and highly sought-after wireless earbuds released in years.
But now, it's time to turn our attention to the second generation.
According to countless reports, Apple is now hard at work on the AirPods 2. And although the company hasn't commented on or confirmed new features, the mounting reports suggest a new and improved version of Apple's wireless headphones is coming sooner rather than later.
Here are all the latest rumors on everything Apple has planned for the AirPods 2.
Latest News (Updated Nov. 6)
- According to a new report, Apple's second-generation AirPods have received Bluetooth SIG certification, meaning they could be one step closer to landing on store shelves soon. The same listing also suggests that Apple's buds may feature Bluetooth 5.0 technology
- A recently updated patent discovered by Patently Apple suggests that the AirPods 2 could support fitness-tracking features.
AirPods 2 release date
No release date has leaked for the AirPods 2. Considering that the earbuds were a no-show at Apple's September and October press events, it's very possible that we'll have to wait until 2019 for them.
Apple's AirPods 2 reportedly just got Bluetooth SIG certification, which means we should expect an announcement sooner than later.
There's no word on price yet, but the AirPods currently sell for $159. We don't expect that to change for the AirPods 2.
In an odd twist, Apple might launch two versions of the AirPods 2. According to a Bloomberg report from February, Apple is preparing two models: one that would launch this year and another that would hit store shelves in 2019.
This year's model would apparently come with modest upgrades, like improved wireless performance, but next year's version would add other features, including water resistance.
Bluetooth 5.0 and biometric sensors
The SIG Bluetooth Certification listing for Apple's new AirPods reveal that the new headphones will feature Bluetooth 5.0 technology instead of the previous generation's Bluetooth 4.2. That means you can look forward to longer wireless range and better battery life.
The new AirPods could also track your health. As discovered by Patently Apple, Apple has updated its trademark filings for the AirPods to include a Class 10 classification, which includes "health, fitness, exercise and wellness sensors." Apple could be looking to take on the Jabra Elite Active 65t -- one of our favorite AirPods alternatives -- by incorporating some of the Apple Watch's wellness features into the AirPods.
Hey, Siri and new wireless chip
A report from Bloomberg in February shed some light on what Apple might be adding to its AirPods 2. And chief among those is a new way to activate Siri without ever touching the earbuds.
Credit: AppleIn the AirPods 2, according to the report, you'll be able to say, "Hey, Siri," and the virtual assistant will activate. From there, you'll be able to ask Siri to create appointments, give you reminders and do all the other functions it would otherwise perform. It would also mean that you wouldn’t have to activate Siri directly on your iPhone or iPad.
Apple's W1 wireless chip is a secret ingredient in the way the AirPods work. But in the AirPods 2, the company is reportedly planning a W2 chip for improved connections with Bluetooth devices.
In a note to investors in March that was obtained by 9to5Mac, Barclays analysts cited sources who said that Apple's next AirPods would feature noise-cancellation features. This would improve audio performance and help with call quality by reducing the amount of ambient noise while you're on a call or listening to music.
It's unclear how the noise cancelling would work and how effective it might be, but it seems like a good move for Apple as the company looks to improve its earbuds.
Apple has confirmed that its AirPower wireless charging pad will allow you to wirelessly charge your AirPods by dropping the charging case on the pad. Look for the AirPods 2 to launch with the charging case so you can keep your AirPods juiced without plugging them in.
A carrying case speaker?
One of the more interesting updates to the AirPods 2 might be coming to the earbuds' carrying case.
According to an Apple patent filing that was discovered by Cult of Mac, the tech giant is considering turning the AirPods' charging case into an output device. This device would stream audio from the earbuds to an external speaker.
While it's unclear how this might work, the patent hints that Apple would give you the ability to stream content from AirPods instead of your iPhone. This would give you more audio options in the home.
Water resistance — eventually
According to the Bloomberg report, Apple is planning water resistance in a future AirPods version. However, the company isn't expected to deliver this feature until the 2019 version of the AirPods. The move would allow the AirPods to be used in rain, but likely wouldn't give you the option to wear them under water while you swim, according to the Bloomberg report.
Credit: Tom's Guide