AirPods 2 release date, price and specs rumours | Tech News
Apple launched its AirPods Bluetooth wireless earbuds in September 2016 alongside the iPhone 7. They made a big splash at the time – “sound quality is excellent, the auto play/pause function is great, the accuracy of the Siri controls is a pleasant surprise and call quality is impressive,” said our reviewer – but almost two years later, we’re keen to see what Apple’s got as a follow-up.
In this article we look at the leaks and rumours related to the AirPods 2 – their release date, tech specs, price and new features. For alternatives that are available right now, see Best wireless earbuds.
The first AirPods launch took place in September 2016. Plenty of Apple watchers expected new versions the following autumn, but it’s something of a myth that the company updates its products on a dependable yearly basis: that only really applies to the iPhone now, with even the iPad falling into a less predictable pattern.
With no new AirPods in 2017 are is a launch of the AirPods 2 in September 2018 to be expected?
If you were hoping Apple would be releasing new AirPods soon you may be disappointed. A June 2018 Bloomberg report claimed that new AirPods won’t arrive until 2019.
Barclays analysts also reckon the announcement will be held off until early 2019 (as per a March 2018 report).
That wasn’t the first Bloomberg report about new AirPods. In February 2018, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, citing “people familiar with the matter”, said we should expect the new AirPods – which already had an internal designation, B288 – in 2018.
So when will we see the new AirPods. Throughout the year Apple runs various Apple events – and from time to time an event is held in the spring. In 2015 and 2016, Apple ran media events in March: major events which saw the launch of the Apple Watch and the iPhone SE. In spring 2017 there was no event, admittedly, just a series of lower-key launches announced via press release, and in March 2018 Apple held a specifically education-focused event to launch a new iPad.
Therefore spring 2019 – probably March – is the most likely venue for this music-focused launch.
If not in the spring, the AirPods 2 should be announced at WWDC 2019 in June.
Alternatively, the Bloomberg report could be wrong and we could see new AirPods in September 2018. There were previously some suggestions that Apple could be planning to AirPod updates – with one minor update coming in 2018, and a more significant redesign for 2019. However, this is now looking unlikely.
Whenever they launch, it is thought that the AirPods 2 could launch in conjunction with Apple’s rumoured StudioPods over-ear headphones.
Features are the main factor dividing minor iterative upgrades from the real blockbuster events. Has Apple got an appealing new flagship feature to dazzle us with?
You activate Siri on the AirPods by tapping them, but the new model will allow the hands-free Hey Siri voice activation currently available on iPhone, iPad and HomePod, according to Bloomberg’s sources.
The Barclays report mentioned above (predicting a delay until 2019 for the AirPods 2 launch) names noise cancellation as the flagship feature for the new headphones. This will be achieved via changes to the physical design, rather than active noise cancellation.
It’s been confirmed that Apple’s upcoming AirPower wireless charging pad will work with a new case for the AirPods.
Bloomberg also predicts that the new AirPods will be water-resistant. Not waterproof – “they likely won’t be designed to be submerged in water” – but fine in the rain.
So you won’t be able to take them swimming for example.
These future AirPods may include biometric sensors for heart-rate, according to the June 2018 Bloomberg report.
We don’t know much about the AirPods 2 specs yet, although Bloomberg predicts the inclusion of an upgraded wireless chip – probably the W2, debuted with the Apple Watch Series 3. If true, this would offer substantial improvements: Apple claims the W2 offers 85 percent faster Wi-Fi and 50 percent more power-efficient Wi-Fi and Bluetooth than the W1, which appeared in the first AirPods.
As of 23 Feb 2018, the AirPods cost £159/$159, and we had expected the AirPods 2, to come in at a similar price.
However, according to the Bloombery report (June 2018) the 2019 models could see a price bump if there’s a more significant design revamp alongside the water resistance.