A new leak has cleared up Apple's audio plans for 2018 and 2019. Not only is Tim Cook's company looking to release two pairs of AirPods, but the company is developing a larger, over-ear pair of headphones and a new HomePod as well.
These rumors come via a Bloomberg story from Mark Gurman and Debby Wu. Gurman's history as a reliable Apple leak-breaker gives us some confidence in this report coming true.
AirPods 2.0 and Beyond
If you're interested in Apple's completely wireless headphones, know that the company looks to produce two pairs. The first, coming later this year, will be more modest, featuring a new chip (possibly named the W2, to succeed the W1) and the ability to activate Siri without tapping the buds.
The second, more ambitious, pair is expected to launch in 2019 for $159 (the same price as the current model), and feature noise-cancellation and water-resistance, as well as increased wireless range from iOS devices. Apple's also looking into upgrading the AirPods wireless charging case to support its much-delayed AirPower charging bay.
Apple's also looking into giving upcoming AirPods some kind of biometric sensors, to add health-tracking features to the device. These sensors could include a heart rate monitor, which the Jabra Elite Sport do.
Apple has plans to release a pair of over-ear headphones, which are slated for 2019. While Apple already owns and sells over-ear headphones from Beats, this pair would feature Apple's own branding, and serve as "a higher-end alternative" to the Beats headphones, which already cost between $300 and $350.
The over-ear headphones are expected to compete with models from Bose and Sennheiser. Apple originally planned to launch this set late this year, but "development challenges" pushed them into the next year.
A new HomePod
The Bloomberg report also references "a new version of the HomePod for as early as ," though it doesn't specify what Apple is thinking of adding to the speaker.
In our review of the HomePod, we noted that its biggest problems weren't hardware-based, but a lackluster Siri and limited music service report. There have been other rumors that Apple plans to release a lower-cost HomePod.