Apple has today launched the second generation of its popular AirPods, available with the long-promised wireless charging case, a new H1 chip designed specifically for headsets, hands-free “Hey Siri”, longer battery life, and faster connections to devices.
According to Apple, the new H1 chip delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, up to 50% more talk time compared to the first generation, and the convenience of hands-free “Hey Siri”.
Of particular interest to VoiceOver users, will be Apple's statement that latency has been improved by 30% over the previous generation AirPods. Although this is cited as a benefit for gamers, our hope is that it will also improve VoiceOver ‘lag’.
The new wireless charging case can be charged either wirelessly using a Qi-compatible charging mat or with the Lightning connector. As of yet, there is no news on a release for Apple's long overdue AirPower charging mat.
The new AirPods are available to order online now for US$199 with the wireless charging case, or with the standard case for US$159. The wireless charging case is also available separately for US$79 and is compatible with the first generation AirPods.
The specifications for the new AirPods state that they require macOS 10.14.4, iOS 12.2, or watchOS 5.2. With the AirPods shipping next week, this indicates that we will also be seeing software releases from Apple shortly.
Today's announcement follows closely on the heels of the arrival of new iPad Air and iPad mini models on Monday; yesterday's iMac refresh; and effectively confirms that Apple's focus for next week's “It's show time” event will be services.
Let us know in the comments your thoughts on the new AirPods and whether you plan on buying them.