Apple AirPods 2 release date: New rumours suggest early 2019 release date
While Apple‘s AirPods 2 may not be released in time for Christmas that doesn’t mean they’re far off. According to popular Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who spoke to 9to5Mac, they’ll be announced at the beginning of 2019.
In addition, Kuo suggests the AirPods will see a complete design overhaul in 2020, although doesn’t detail the changes this’ll bring. This could mean that some of the more interesting patents and rumoured upgrades for the AirPods 2 will actually be included in these future AirPods.
Kuo also mentions Apple’s optimistic sales figures for the headphones, expecting sales of 100 million units by 2021 compared to 16 million in 2017.
Patently Apple also spotted that the AirPods 2 have been given a Class 10 designation by the FTC. This means the new devices are now capable of being a wellness device, fitting into a category that includes “health, fitness, exercise, and wellness sensors, monitors, speakers and displays for measuring, displaying, tracking, reporting, monitoring, storing, and transmitting biometric data, heart rate, body movement, and calories burned.”
We’ll be updating this page as and when more information on Apple’s AirPods 2 comes in. Read on to find out everything we know so far about the AirPods 2.
AirPods 2 release date: Will the AirPods 2 be released in 2018?
If you’re holding out hope that Apple will be releasing an all-new, updated second-generation set of AirPods soon, you could be in luck. According to the renowned all-seeing Apple guru, Ming-Chi Quo of KGI Securities, the AirPods 2 could be coming to the market in the second half of 2018. This was something that he’d predicted in the run-up to Christmas in a research note obtained by MacRumours, following a promising third quarter which saw Apple’s AirPods sell out worldwide.
“Media reports over the past few days on brisk AirPods demand, and Apple struggling to keep up with holiday season demand align with our findings and positive prediction on AirPods, in several previous reports,” Quo wrote. “In 2018, we predict AirPods shipments will grow 100% [year on year] to 26-28mn units. We forecast the [average selling price] for upgraded AirPods in [the second half of 2018, which] may increase further benefiting business momentum.”
At the moment, we are banking on a fourth-quarter release, and if the AirPods’ new charging case is anything to go by, the AirPods 2 could be announced at Apple’s autumn keynote and then released in December 2018.
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Still, that’s all just speculation. If you don’t think you can wait that long, purchasing Apple’s AirPods could tide you over.
But, on the topic of the new charging case…
AirPods 2 Features: What will the AirPods 2 be able to do?
Along with the wireless charging AirPower mat, Apple announced the launch of an all-new AirPods charging case, which will be able to charge completely wirelessly. While the case is supposed to launch separately from the second generation of AirPods, we can’t help but think that Apple is choosing to hold it back, seeing as the case is touted for a release in December 2018.
Besides the news about a new charging case, we don’t know all that much about the AirPods 2, but there are plenty of rumours swimming around.
Biometric sensing and fitness tracking capabilities
Apple has already implemented a bunch of biometric sensors into the Apple Watch, such as a heart-rate monitor and Touch ID, so we don’t see why they wouldn’t do the same for the AirPods 2. Back in July 2017, Apple was granted a patent allowing a user to take their internal temperature measurements simply by placing the AirPods in their ears. Considering that it’s easier to measure vital signs like temperature, pulse and heart rate from the ear than it is from the wrist, Apple might be seriously considering the AirPods 2 as a fitness tracking solution.
Automated audio pass-through
In another patent approved in 2017, Apple outlined a much more efficient way of tackling headphones with active noise cancellation. Currently, active noise-cancelling headphones use a method that requires mixing in ambient sound from an external microphone. The patent details an acoustic pass valve, which is basically a flap that can be opened to let in sound from the outside environment. This means you can cancel out noise on busy commutes, but let in sound when you need to be more alert – when you’re running outside, for example.
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Besides those patents, there are a few things we want to see on the AirPods 2. For one, we’d like to see Apple bring in physical buttons. The iOS 11 release brought with it better AirPods functionality, allowing us to customise what each tap and double tap does, but we still find volume control a touch fiddly.
We’d also like to see the AirPods 2 fitted with true multipoint connectivity. While you can easily switch between two devices quickly, it has to be done manually. True multipoint-connected devices can detect which device you’re listening to music from, and switch accordingly.
The most recent information to come to light regarding the next instalment of Apple’s AirPods is that they’ll almost certainly feature wireless charging, thanks to iOS 12 beta images. The images in question show the AirPods 2 alongside a wireless charging case, suggesting that the popular wireless buds will complete their wireless transition, becoming fully AirPower-compatible.
This necessitates the addition of an external LED – a marginal and all-imporant addition to the current charging case, whose LED is ensconced inside the case. Why the change? It’s likely that the external LED will be used to let users know when their device is charging, and when it is fully charged.
Hands-free ‘Hey Siri’ feature
Currently to activate Siri on AirPods you have to tap the AirPods, but it’s rumoured that an upcoming update to the devices will enable hands-free activation —all you need to do is say “Hey Siri” and you’re good to go. While this update is coming to the original AirPods, it’s likely that it’ll be an important feature on the AirPods 2 too.
This feature finally delivers on the intended function of getting to use the earphones without your hands —if you’re carrying shopping, playing a musical instrument or have grubby hands, you can now continue to use your AirPods.
Physical design changes
It’s rumoured that small design changes are in store, in order to increase the functionality of the AirPods 2. The first is a change in the physical shape in order to increase soundproofing for the devices. Instead of using noise-cancelling technology, the earphones will be shaped in such a way that background noise is reduced.
The second change is in the materials of the AirPods 2. Apple is said to be making the earphones water resistant, in order to work in rain or if the user is sweating. This likely means a slightly different plastic will be used for the body of the AirPod 2.
AirPods 2 Design: What will the AirPods 2 look like?
While we don’t know anything about the design yet, we can speculate. One of the biggest criticisms of the original AirPods was regarding the fit. It wasn’t the most secure and some found them a touch uncomfortable with their hard plastic feel. If Apple listens to feedback and includes some rubber tips, the company could be on to a winner.
We don’t think we’ll see Apple introduce a wider array of colours for the AirPods 2, seeing as the company has kept its earphones classic white for years, but we can definitely dream. Its other devices, like the iPhone and the iPad, come in different colours, so why not the AirPods? It would make the AirPods receiver at least a little less conspicuous if it came in black. Of course, you can always get them customised.
Lead image via 9to5Mac