Apple AirPods 2 – what you need to know

Apple AirPods 2: Everything you need to know about the new Apple AirPods (2019)

Apple’s 2018 launch event showed off a family of new phones, including the iPhone XS and iPhone XR. We had expected to see a refreshed version of the AirPods, but that didn’t happen.

So we don’t know much about the AirPods 2 so far, but based on the popularity and ubiquity of the original AirPods, Apple is certain to issue a refreshed design. Here’s everything we do know, or think we know, based on leaks and rumours.

Apple Airpods 2 – Release date

Rumours abound that the new AirPod could go on sale before the end of 2018. If that date isn’t met, then likely in the first few months of 2019.

Apple AirPods 2 – Price

There’s no word yet, but they will probably be not far off the existing AirPods price at £159 / $159

Related: Apple Black Friday 2018

Apple AirPods 2 – Design

It’s likely that the AirPods 2 will have the same look as the current version. It’s proved to be a popular design considering how often you can find an AirPod user on public transport. But that doesn’t mean Apple couldn’t make a  few changes.

We imagine this release could come with ear-tips in light of how often the AirPods have fallen out (although that’s not the case for everyone).

Like several of Apple’s other products,the AirPods 2 support wireless charging. The Charging case for the AirPod appears to have undergone a slight change. In an image spotted from the iOS 12 beta, the charging case had a small LED indicator light on the outside, a useful way of gauging when the AirPods have been fully charged.

Siri voice control is also expected to be included. We suspect that in order for this functionality to happen, the AirPods 2 will benefit from an upgraded wireless chip, likely to be the W2 chipset.

Noise cancellation and waterproofing

A new report has suggested that Apple is planning on releasing the next generation of its true wireless AirPods with noise-cancellation and water resistance.

The report comes courtesy of Bloomberg, and claims that the earphones will be accompanied by a more traditional pair of over-ear headphones (which will be different from the Beats lineup). They’ll also be more expensive than the current model, potentially leading to a two-tier hardware market.

Apparently the current plan is to keep the current AirPods on sale, although these will be refreshed at the end of 2018 with hands-free Siri activation.

Although water resistance brings to mind swimming, it’s more likely the new AirPods will simply be able to survive sweat and a bit of rain. At any rate, current Bluetooth technology can’t work underwater.

Following on from its use in the Apple Watch Series 4, the new AirPods could add biometric sensing to the earphones to track the user’s heart rate during workouts.

Related: AirPods Black Friday

Apple AirPods 2 – charging case

As well as reports like these, Apple’s recently-filed patents have given us more clues about the direction it might take its future headphones. One such patent suggests the firm is looking at integrating a speaker connection into future AirPods charging cases.

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 

Apple’s patent illustration, as filed with USPTO

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.

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.

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.