Apple yesterday announced the next-generation AirPods 2, introducing a whole host of new features to the wireless earbuds for iPhones. The long-awaited refresh, first teased back in 2017, sees a few new additions, which we outline in more detail below…
Optional wireless charging
Wireless charging comes to AirPods!
Perhaps one of the most interesting changes to the AirPods is an optional wireless charging case, allowing you to place the AirPods case on any Qi-powered wireless charging pad for recharging. Remember that the AirPods charge when they’re inside of the case, but until now, you needed to charge the case using a Lighting adaptor.
The new AirPods start at the same price – $159 – but if you want a wireless charging case, you’ll need to pay $199.
If you’re happy with your first generation AirPods, you can buy a wireless charging case for $79 individually from the Apple.com store and at retail locations.
All the cases (wireless charging and standard) can still be charged via Lightning as well, so you don’t need a wireless charger handy.
Small design changes
Don’t fix what isn’t broken!
There are no real changes to the design of this year’s AirPods, despite some rumors suggesting an all-black version.
There are a couple of cosmetic tweaks to contend with, though, like a new charging light on the front of the case, rather than on the inside, so that you can see how far along your AirPods charging case has come when it’s wirelessly charging.
In terms of controls, nothing has changed – you can still play and pause tracks and answer calls, and the sensors know when the AirPods are in your ears and when they’ve fallen out. Pretty useful!
A brand new H1 chip
Apple has a thing for proprietary chips at the moment, and the AirPods are no exception. Replacing the W1 chip from the previous generation, the new AirPods feature an H1 chip, which speeds up connection times by 1.5 times, reduces latency by up to 30 percent, adds a better wireless connection, offers new audio architecture, offering higher quality sounds, and the introduction of Hey Siri for the first time – summon the assistant using your voice rather than a tap, ask questions and change the volume or request a song.
The new AirPods aren’t a major upgrade on the previous generation but offer some useful incremental updates including wireless charging that make them worth their while.
Stay tuned for more product news and insights and updates as we get them, as Apple is expected to introduce the AirPower charging pad and a new iPod Touch later in the week.