Apple’s AirPods are one of the company’s most successful products ever, so it’s no surprise that an upgraded version is keenly awaited. The good news is that a new rumor suggests the upgrades may be bigger, and come sooner, than previously thought.
There have been plenty of rumors. Did Apple tease them subtly at its September event?
Will the next model have a new design or stick to the current one?
The expectation was that AirPods 2 would match the look of the current earbuds with a new design being held until 2020. Also rumored was the possibility that the upgrade might introduce new features.
Meanwhile, rumors that the AirPower charging mat is imminent suggested Apple might hold its next AirPods back until then.
Until now, rumors have followed the same road map: gently updated AirPods with a wireless case and perhaps an improved processor to allow hands-free Siri activation would arrive in the coming months, but that bigger changes, including an altered design, wouldn’t come until 2020.
A report in DigiTimes today, picked up by BGR, suggests a new timeline, and for once it brings the newer model nearer rather than postponing it again.
DigiTimes talks about rigid-flex PCBs – that’s printed circuit boards, of course – and how wearables will drive that market. The success of AirPods will contribute to the growth of this market, it says.
It goes on to say that AirPods 2 will be released in the first half of this year, and adds:
The new wireless earbuds with discrete designs to carry health monitoring functions are expected to receive enthusiastic market responses.
This is new, and pretty exciting. If correct, it means that Apple will be updating its AirPods design after just one generation. For many of its products, the design is carried over for more than one iteration – the “S” years for iPhones and the first four versions of Apple Watch, for instance.
The introduction of a new design to make health monitoring functions possible is intriguing because it really wasn’t expected this soon.
It feels like time has caught up with Apple.
I think Apple’s plan was to release the AirPower charging mat and the wireless charging case for AirPods a long time back, possibly with the improved chip for Siri and calling them AirPods 2. Then it would have followed later with a new design and biometric capabilities. Instead, while it was waiting to finish AirPower, it’s used that time to beef up the capabilities of its AirPods. When you’ve been waiting this long, another five months may seem like an eternity, but at least the timing is becoming clearer and the updates seem worth waiting for.
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