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Apple AirPods 2 release date, news and features

The long-awaited AirPods 2 are finally here, and according to Apple, they will deliver “faster connect times, more talk time, and the convenience of hands-free Siri.”

The second generation AirPods 2 come with a standard charging case or a wireless charging case and are available to order on the Apple website or Apple Store app from today, or from physical Apple Stores from next week. 

Apple has just rolled out the new iPad Air (2019), iPad mini (2019), and a brand new iMac (2019), so the AirPods 2 represent the latest in a stream of new hardware launches ahead of the March 25 video streaming launch event, which is expected to see the launch of a new Apple streaming service

We originally expected the AirPods 2 to be radically different form their predecessors thanks to trademark and Bluetooth SIG filings, but judging from the official press release, this doesn’t seem to be the case. 

The trademark filings said that the second generation AirPods will be a health and fitness device, in addition to being a pair of true wireless earbuds – again, Apple hasn’t made any mention of any biometric features in the new AirPods 2. 

We also heard separately that the AirPods 2 would come in black and white, be both waterproof and offer active noise-cancellation, rumors which don’t appear to have manifested in the final product.

Apple also hasn’t made any mention of improved sound quality, but we will let you know how they sound as soon as we get our hands on them

One rumor that did prove to be accurate, was wireless charging and Bluetooth 5.0 – but instead of being an improved thanks to an updated W2 chip, Apple has designed a H1 chip, which is made for headphones specifically.

Curious what else the second generation of Apple’s true wireless earbuds have in store for us? Read on below. 

Apple AirPods 2 release date and price

  • When are they out? The AirPods 2 are available to buy now from the Apple website, and the Apple Store app from today (March 20), and will be available to buy in physical Apple Stores early next week. 
  • How much will they cost? The AirPods 2 cost $159 (£159/AU$249/AED 679) with a standard charging case, or $199 (/£199/AU$319/AED 829) with a wireless charging case. Customers can also buy the wireless charging case separately for $79 (£79/AU$129/AED 329), and get either of the cases engraved for free during checkout on the website or Apple Store app. 

Image credit: Apple

Image credit: Apple

Apple AirPods 2: design and features

Despite their divisive design, the Apple AirPods sold very well – you just have to jump on public transport and see just how many of them are poking out of music fans’ ears on the way to work to note they’ve overcome any early online ridicule. 

At first glance, the new AirPods 2 look very similar to the original Apple AirPods. Again, they’re completely cable free, drawing battery from a pillbox-like charging case, with stem-like protrusions from the buds, meaning most of the next-gen improvements can be found under the hood. 

Here’s what we know so far:

Better wireless connectivity and more efficient battery life

First up is a newly-designed H1 chip which Apple has built specifically for the headphones. It improved connectivity pairing times, as well as the efficiency of the battery life, which Apple claims will give you 50 percent more hands-free talk time. The original AirPods offered 5 hours of use, with a total 24 hours of battery life when taking into consideration their charging case, for comparison

“Hey Siri” functionality

Another significant addition is that of hands-free “Hey Siri” functionality. Pop the AirPods 2 into your ears, and you’ll be able to use the voice assistant command to place calls, change songs and more – basically anything Siri can do, direct from the AirPods 2, without needing to pull your iPhone out.

Wireless charging

The AirPods 2 ship with a charging case, though Apple is also introducing a new Wireless Charging Case for the earbuds, using Qi-compatible charging mats to power the case without having to stick a cable in. This is, presumably, in anticipation of the launch of Apple’s long-awaited Air Power charging mat. The new Wireless Charging Case will also be compatible with the first-generation AirPods 2.

Image credit: Apple

Image credit: Apple

What’s missing?

It looks as though the new AirPods are missing quite a few of the features they were rumored to have, including waterproofing and fitness tracking capabilites. 

Back in July Apple filed a patent for biometric sensors which would allow the AirPods 2 to take on fitness tracking capabilities like those seen in the Jabra Elite Wireless. This followed another patent filed in March, which further fueled the rumors.

Another patent from July suggested that Apple was working on some pretty nifty tech for how the earbuds handle outside noise as well as dissipating pressure from inside the ear canal. 

The patent outlined a valve system that would allow sound to escape your ear canal to avoid that weird reverberating effect that occurs when you speak with earbuds in your ears. 

The patent then goes on to describe how the earbuds would handle ambient noise, using a microphone to filter in noise from the outside world so that you can remain aware of your surroundings while still hearing your music. 

As for any difference in sound quality, Apple has yet to reveal any differences between the generations. We’ll update you on how the AirPods 2 sound once we’ve given them a play.

Still having trouble figuring out how to keep your technology in check and who to call to help manage your IT support?
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Contact Us today for your FREE Network Assessment available to clients in the South Florida area.
Wed, 20 Mar 2019 13:13:45 +0000–http://www.techradar.com/news/apple-airpods-2-release-date-news-and-features
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