Apple is reportedly working on two AirPods upgrades, planning to launch one model this year and another one in 2019, according to a new report.
The company launched its current AirPods last year after some delays and despite some availability issues, the fully wireless headphones have been well-received. The upcoming models will reportedly sport notable upgrades over the existing headphones, albeit nothing is official just yet.
2018 Apple AirPods To Boast Hands-Free Siri
Bloomberg reports that this year's upgraded AirPods model will allow users to activate Siri, the company's virtual assistant, simply by using their voice. With the current AirPods, users have to tap an earbud to activate the assistant, but hands-free support will enable people to trigger it by saying "Hey Siri."
Hands-free Siri use would be a welcome addition, making things easier and more convenient for users.
New AirPods With New Wireless Chips
The report further notes that the 2018 upgrade should also pack a new wireless "W" chip, either the W2 that currently powers the Apple Watch Series 3 or a more powerful W3 chip. Apple made the W series of chips to better handle Bluetooth connections between various gadgets such as AirPods and the Apple Watch.
2019 Apple AirPods To Be Water-Resistant
Looking further into the future, Apple reportedly plans to launch another upgraded model in 2019. According to Bloomberg, that model will be water-resistant so that it can withstand the occasional rain or water splash, but it will not withstand being fully submerged in water.
If the report turns out to be accurate, it looks like Apple plans to release new AirPods models regularly, following a similar update cycle to iPhones and other popular products. When it releases new models, Apple could make the existing ones available at a lower price.
Apple's "other products" category, which covers the Apple Watch, the AirPods, and various other accessories, saw a notable increase of 70 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of this year. With this in mind, it would make sense for Apple to expand this category and add more options.
As Bloomberg points out, however, the plans are not definitive and Apple could still change its mind or experience delays again like it did with the original AirPods. It's all still in the rumor stage at this point, so it's highly advisable to take this report with a grain of salt until Apple is ready to make an official announcement.