Apple has taken the wraps off the second-generation AirPods.
Building on its predecessor, the new wireless earbuds come with a wireless charging case, a new proprietary chip that should improve battery life, and even "Hey Siri" support.
The AirPods 2 is powered by the new H1 chip Apple specifically designed for headphones. The company claims that it should provide better performance and longer battery life and establish connections faster. It should also deliver 50 percent more talk time than the first-generation AirPods, which is equipped with a W1 chip.
Thanks to the new processor, the buds can also support hands-free "Hey Siri" voice commands, which is a long-rumored feature. With the previous model, users had to double-tap one of the buds to call the virtual assistant, but with the AirPods 2, they can just say the wake word and issue a command without using their hands.
The wireless charging case is compatible with Qi wireless charging, meaning users should be able to charge using just about any wireless charging pad on the market. In terms of appearance, it didn't stray off too far from its predecessor, except for one thing: There's now a small LED light to indicate its battery life.
"They are powered by the new Apple-designed H1 chip which brings an extra hour of talk time, faster connections, hands-free 'Hey Siri' and the convenience of a new wireless battery case," Phil Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing at Apple, says in a press release.
The new AirPods start at $159. That's for a pair with a standard charging case. The wireless charging case costs extra, bumping up the price to $199 — speaking of which, the case itself can be bought separately for $79 for owners of the first-generation AirPods. It's available online at Apple's website and its Apple Store app, and it's expected to hit the shelves sometime next week.
Other Product Launches
In other related news, the Cupertino brand recently unveiled new iPad models, one of which is a 10.5-inch iPad Air that's considered as the successor to the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which has now been discontinued. The other iPad in question is a refreshed mini variant with a new speedy chip and Apple Pencil support, the smallest of its kind to ever have it.
The company also announced new iMac and iMac Pro units with upgraded internals, and it made price reductions on select SSD upgrades for the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini.