Apple AirPods 2 Release Date: Everything you need to know about the new Apple AirPods (2018)
A new patent from Apple suggests the firm is looking at integrating a speaker connection into future AirPods charging cases. Could the firm be looking to develop the technology for the AirPods 2 ahead of a 2018 release date?
The patent details charging case for a wireless listening device such as “a pair of wireless earbuds”, which is configured to “transmit the media to a non-wireless output device connected to the case”.
From the illustration (H/T Cult of Mac) that’s been included alongside the patent, it looks as though in practise this will mean that you’ll be able to connect the charging case to an external speaker (ie the “non-wireless output device”).
But why would Apple want to build this functionality into a future charging case? We suspect it might have something to do with the W1 Bluetooth chip that’s behind the rock solid wireless connectivity of the AirPods.
Related: Best Wireless Headphones
The case detailed in the patent could allow music to be streamed wirelessly using the high quality W1 chip, and then transmit it to a speaker.
Yes, Apple has its own wireless connectivity standard called AirPlay, but providing a means of getting its W1 chip’s connectivity hooked up to speakers would give customers yet more options if they want to play music.
For now this is just a patent, and so it indicates an area that Apple is exploring rather than something they’ve explicitly committed to, but it’s another tantalising piece of information about what kind of product the AirPods 2 might end up being.
Related: WWDC 2018
New AirPods 2 Features: Better Siri integration incoming?
This isn’t the only hint we have of what direction Apple is looking to take the next version of its true wireless earbuds. A recent rumour suggests that the earbuds will let users summon Siri using their voice.
The Cupertino-based company has two refreshed variants of the AirPods in the pipeline, reports Bloomberg. The first, which could launch as early as this year, will feature an improved wireless chip that will let users summon Siri using the Hey Siri hot word.
Bloomberg noted that the second model – tipped to hit the shelves sometime next year – features a slightly different design that is capable of surviving the odd splash of water and rain, though it won’t be able to be submerged in a body of water. Such focussed functionality would surely help the upcoming earbuds appeal to workout enthusiasts.
We awarded the first-generation AirPods a very respectable seven out of 10, with our main criticism being that they left us wanting more in the audio department – they don’t sound too dissimilar to Apple’s £29 EarPods, in all honesty.
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Apple is expected to showcase the second-generation AirPods at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, as well as an updated 2018 iPad Pro. It could also detail the release date of iOS 12 at the invite-only gathering.
What feature are you hoping to see on the Apple AirPods 2? Be sure to let us know over on either Facebook or Twitter @TrustedReviews.