AirPods with ‘Hey Siri’ support possibly coming this year, water-resistant model in 2019
Once the mocking started subsiding, and hardcore iFans got it through their heads that 3.5mm audio jacks weren’t coming back, it became abundantly clear AirPods were the real deal. Some market researchers even deemed Apple’s “magical” wireless headphones game-changing not long after their December 2016 launch, which made the absence of a 2017 sequel surprising for many.
Then again, “OG” AirPods are not a lot easier to come by these days than a year or so ago, taking roughly two weeks to ship from Apple’s US e-store at the time of writing. Still, they’re expected to sell like hotcakes in 2018 while also getting a follow-up effort “as early as this year”, according to “people familiar with the matter.”
Said people spoke to Bloomberg on condition of anonymity about planned upgrades including tighter Siri integration and water resistance. But the likeliest release scenario at the moment has hands-free Siri support potentially added to AirPods this year, with protection against splashes of water and rain likely to be offered on a prospective third-gen model in 2019.
Alongside the ability to take voice commands with no need for physical double-tap activation, second-generation AirPods are rumored to receive a wireless chip promotion of sorts. Apple’s in-house W1 is already pretty great at managing battery life, wirelessly connecting the headphones to compatible devices, and automatically engaging the microphone when detecting movement.
It’ll sure be interesting to see what the W2 (or perhaps W3) chip can bring to the table, as well as be able to say “Hey Siri” to enable the digital assistant with even less effort. As for the water-resistant version, keep in mind that it’s currently expected out “as early as next year”, so it may end up seeing daylight further down the line.