The next generation of Apple AirPods is practically confirmed. Following strong speculation and alleged leaks, the latest proof roots in the company's first beta for iOS 12.2, which contains firm evidence that a refresh of the AirPods is coming.

As 9to5Mac discovered recently, the beta contains a setup interface for "Hey Siri" and even mentions hands-free voice commands on AirPods, something that isn't possible on the current-generation AirPods.

Apple AirPods Refresh

There have been rumors of an AirPods upgrade for months. Last June, Bloomberg reported that the Cupertino brand was in preparation for a slight AirPods revamp that has new chip and "Hey Siri" support to be released by the end of 2018. Of course, that didn't end up happening, but this new iOS beta tidbit suggests Apple still has plans for the upgrade, and it might be coming soon.

Just recently, DigiTimes claimed that Apple will release a second-generation AirPods with health-centric features in the first half of 2019.

iOS 12.2

Given all this, it remains suspect when Apple plans to release iOS 12.2 to the public. Suppose it does contain support for hands-free Siri voice commands, the second-generation AirPods in question should be released by the time this software update is rolled out. Alternatively, Apple could very well keep it under wraps and simply activate it over-the-air when it launches the upgraded AirPods.

That's, of course, assuming Apple will release such an upgrade. As always, rumors must be taken with a grain of salt. But if it is indeed true, it's still difficult to guess when it'll show up. After all, each iOS update goes through several stages before being rolled out to the public, so people could be looking for a month or two, perhaps even longer.

Even still, there's a huge chance for Apple to launch refreshed AirPods sometime this year. The wireless headphones has become one of its most popular accessories in recent years, although many critics have noted that Apple missed key opportunities that could be filled with a timely upgrade.

The AirPods is now more than two years old. That's already ancient in tech years, where products usually get upgraded every year. Phones, by contrast, get renewed annually, so it's intriguing why Apple has taken its time renewing one of its most popular products to date.

What are your expectations for the alleged second-generation AirPods? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound off the comments section below!

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