Apple is said to be preparing its first update to AirPods, reportedly making discrete design changes to the tiny earbuds to add new ‘health monitoring’ features ahead of a launch expected within the first six months of the year.
The report, via Digitimes is very vague in noting what exactly will be new with AirPods 2 asides from health monitoring’ features. The new earbuds are expected to receive enthusiastic market response claims Digitimes within a report on how rapid growth over the past two years for wearable devices including smartwatches and wireless headsets will carry into 2019.
Given the size of the current-generation AirPod earbuds it’s hard to imagine what ‘health monitoring’ features Apple could include within its next model. One possibility is that the new earbuds could include a small accelerometer that could potentially determine body movement, but Apple Watch and iPhone already have this, so it doesn’t really make that much sense why Apple would incorporate the feature into AirPods.
We’ve heard mixed reports over the past couple of months regarding Apple’s next update to AirPods. Renowned industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said within a report published in December he believed that Apple would come out with an “all-new design” for the earbuds in 2020, whilst the Bluetooth Special Interest Group’s regulatory database in November uncovered model numbers for two unreleased AirPod earbuds, suggesting the launch of new hardware was imminent, though nothing to date has happened with the new model identifiers.
During the launch of the iPhone X back in 2017, Apple said it would release a new wireless charging case for AirPods that would allow users to top-up the charge of their case by placing it on AirPower, Apple’s still unreleased wireless charging mat. Given we’ve now (finally) started to see reports to suggest AirPower is in production ahead of a launch scheduled for later this year, one possibility is that Apple will release the next-generation AirPods 2 and accompanying wireless charging case alongside AirPower this year.
A feature practically confirmed by Apple to arrive on the next-generation AirPods 2 is “Hey Siri” functionality. The feature was shown off within the opening video to Apple’s “Gather Round” event in September which saw the company introduce the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and Apple Watch Series 4.
The video, that saw an Apple employee running across the Apple Park campus to deliver an item to Tim Cook ahead of the Keynote included a scene in which the character appear to use “Hey Siri” on their AirPods, suggesting updated AirPods would launch during the event, although they never did.