Apple is about to launch a new set of wireless earphones, if a new report Tuesday is to be believed. The company is expected to update the $159 AirPods, which first launched in December 2016, with a new wireless charging case launching imminently, before launching a new set of earphones in multiple colors in the fall — around the same time the next iPhone is expected to launch.
The leak comes from Steve Hemmerstoffer, a renowned leaker behind a number of high-profile Apple rumors. The news comes in the same week as reports that Apple will improve the bass for the next AirPods launch, while also improving with a non-slip coating similar to the fogged glass on the back of the Google Pixel that could help the pieces stay inside the wearer’s ear. The devices are also set to include biometric sensors, which can measure a user’s health signs like the heartbeat sensor on the Apple Watch, and previous rumors have pointed to more health monitoring functions.
One of the main beneficiaries of a wireless charging case could be AirPower. Apple’s charging mat was first introduced in September 2017 alongside the wirelessly-charging iPhone X, but it missed its tentative 2018 launch date. The mat is designed to wirelessly charge up to three items without the need to correctly align with the internal coils, unlike competitors that require specific placement. A recent report claimed AirPower will launch this spring.
Beyond these features, reports suggest Apple could add a number of other quality-of-life additions. The company may include Hey Siri support, which enables the wearer to call up the voice-activated assistant without touching the earpieces. Other rumors point to an over-ear headset model with noise cancellation, as well as water resistance. Apple’s wearables division, which also includes the Apple Watch, grew 50 percent year-over-year in 2018, making it a lucrative area to continue development.
Apple is expected to announce its next iPhone — which may or may not use USB-C — around September time. If a fall release for the AirPods holds true, the company could unveil the product alongside its next flagship smartphone.
AirPods have inspired a number of alternatives offering a similar design without the high price tag. While initially derided at launch, the number of similar products on the market suggest its design has become a surprise hit. Little wonder Samsung is rumored to ship its own clone soon.