Apple is expected to refresh the AirPods later this year with a new wireless chip, water resistance, and “Hey Siri” feature.
When Apple in its own words showed “courage” by removing the headphone jack from the iPhone, it also showed a lack of wisdom by not having its wireless earphones ready to sell alongside it. We were left waiting three months to use the AirPods with an iPhone 7, and even then supplies were short. However, they were widely viewed as a big step forward for wireless in-ear audio and have remained very popular. Now Apple is preparing to upgrade them.
As Bloomberg reports, Apple is thought to be working on a major upgrade for the AirPods which will be launched later this year. In terms of what will change, there’s three main upgrades. The first is a new wireless chip to replace the existing W1 and improve Bluetooth connections. Second is the addition of water resistance, which will allow the new AirPods to survive splashes. So while you’ll be able to drop them on a wet floor, you can’t submerge them in water and expect them to carry on working.
The last new feature is also set the be the headliner for the marketing department. Apple is thought to be working to remove the need to tap an AirPod in order to activate Siri. Instead, you’ll simply be able to say “Hey Siri” just like you already can with Apple’s other devices including the iPhone and new HomePod smart speaker.
For now, this is all unconfirmed and because it is Apple will continue to be so until the company decides to announce the upgrade. One other feature I’m sure many AirPods owners would appreciate seeing improve is battery life. The current AirPods can hold a charge for about five hours with the charging case adding up to 24 hours or recharge. However, increasing battery life while also supporting “always-listening” voice commands for Siri will be tough.