Continuing with its trend of daily hardware announcements, Apple today announced the second generation of its AirPods wireless earbuds. The headphones have become exceptionally popular among tech enthusiasts and average users alike, and now, they’re getting even better with new features that have been in the rumor mill for quite some time.
For starters, Apple says it’s using a new H1 chipset it designed specifically for headphones. It features custom audio architecture to provide improved synchronization and a better overall audio experience. The H1 also helps to achieve up to 50 percent more talk time compared to the first-gen AirPods. However, Apple says the new AirPods can only last up to five hours on a single charge, just like the older model.
The H1 also enables “Hey Siri” support on the new AirPods, the first for Apple’s wireless earbuds. You can place phone calls, adjust the volume, get directions, and more just by saying “Hey Siri” followed by the command of your choice.
Elsewhere, the new AirPods look just like the old AirPods. They have the same shape as before, so if the old ones didn’t fit in your ears, these new ones probably won’t either.
In the same breath, what holds the AirPods has changed significantly. Not only do the new AirPods feature a case that can supply over 24 extra hours of listening time, there’s a second case option you can choose at checkout which adds wireless charging. Nowadays, many of Apple’s products have Qi wireless charging built-in, and we’ve known the AirPods would get the feature since 2017 when the company debuted AirPower. While you can’t buy AirPower just yet, you’ll at least be able to purchase the wireless charging case for your AirPods.
For reference, there’s an LED indicator on the front of the case to indicate when charging initiates. In addition, those who currently own a set of AirPods can purchase the wireless charging case separately.
As far as pricing goes, the new AirPods will cost the same $159 as the original AirPods. With the wireless charging case option, the price will bump up to $199. The wireless charging ccase on its own will run for $79. The headphones launch today on apple.com and will be available in Apple Stores starting next week.