Apple announced the second generation of its popular AirPod earbuds, which now have a wireless charging case, a new chip to improve battery life and voice support for AI-powered assistant Siri, according to reports.
The charging case utilizes standard Qi charging and is compatible with most wireless charging products. The case looks identical to the first generation except it has a new LED light on it, to indicate battery life.
“AirPods delivered a magical wireless experience and have become one of the most beloved products we’ve ever made. They connect easily with all of your devices, and provide crystal clear sound and intuitive, innovative control of your music and audio,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing. “The world’s best wireless headphones just got even better with the new AirPods.”
The new chip that helps battery life is an H1 chip, which is an improvement over last generation’s W1 chip. The W-series chips were taken from the Apple Watch line, and those will continue to use W chips in the future.
Apple says the new chip adds an hour of talking time, which is a 50 percent increase. The device supports Bluetooth 5 as well.
It also has more mic clarity, faster device switching, and of course, Siri capability with the famous “Hey, Siri” activation phrase.
There are two price points for the new AirPods — with the new wireless charging case for $199 or with the regular case for $159. Customers who already have AirPods but want the new case can buy it for $79.
For the first time with AirPods, customers can also add a personal engraving for free when they buy the product on Apple.com.
Although the case charges wirelessly, Apple still hasn’t introduced its wireless charging pad, called the AirPower, which it announced in September of 2017. AirPower supposedly had the capability to charge an iPhone, AirPods and an Apple watch at the same time, and it was supposed to be released in 2018.