iOS 12.2 Beta Drops Tantalizing AirPods, Apple Credit Card, AirPower Hints

A glimpse into Apple's future.

A day after Apple sent out invitations to its March 25 product launch, the company (perhaps inadvertently, perhaps not) revealed a number of new details about upcoming products, including tidbits about the new AirPods, AirPower, and Apple’s planned credit card.

These details were all released in the public beta for Apple’s upcoming iOS 12.2 update. The iPhone and iPad software will focus mostly on improving Apple TV and the iOS Home app features. But amongst these tiny tweaks, lurk major hints about three upcoming products.

Apple is reportedly planning on releasing a credit card in partnership with Goldman Sachs that could come to market as early as the spring. There have also been murmurs that an AirPods update and the release of the long-delayed AirPower could come to fruition in 2019 as well. The iOS 12.2 developers beta suggests that all of these predictions were right.

This discovery was made by 9to5Mac’s Guilherme Rambo, who has had access to the developers beta since it was released in January, and who first surfaced some of these details that were, until now, hidden under the hood in iOS software.

Smart TV
iOS 12.2 will mostly address Apple TV and Home app features. But hidden under the hood are juicy secrets on a few upcoming products.

iOS 12.2 Beta Hints: Apple Credit Card

Apple and Goldman’s branded credit card is expected to pair a rewards program with some iPhone-enabled financial tracking features, according to a February 21 report by the Wall Street Journal. To compete with other luxurious credit card offerings, the card is also said to offer 2 percent cash back.

Engineers were anonymously cited saying that the card would offer users a visualization of their financial health using the same “Activity Rings” found on the Apple Watch. Rambo found hard evidence of that feature in the unreleased version of the Wallet app, screen-grabbed below.

An early version of "Activity Rings" that Apple is working on for the iOS Wallet app that could roll out with the company's reported credit card. Via 9to5Mac.

The developers beta contained an unfinished ring-slider mechanism that users can rotate to increase or decrease a numerical value. This could be used to set a goal for a credit score or a limit to how much credit a user wants to use on their card.

The feature is a blank canvas as it stands, but it confirms that Apple’s credit card will come with a handful of software perks.

iOS 12.2 Beta Hints: AirPower

iOS 12.2’s developers beta also offered a new glimmer of hope for the AirPower wireless charging mat. The device was first teased in 2017 alongside the iPhone X, but it has since disappeared, leading many to believe that Apple may have even given up on it. Fortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

AirPower.
The heralded AirPower powering three Apple devices at once.

Rambo discovered in the software notes a line reading “components on iOS responsible for interfacing with the AirPower charging mat have seen some changes,” which strongly implies that the device is still in the works. That said, previous iOS betas have also included hints of the AirPower’s existence, so this discovery is no guarantee that a release could be imminent.

iOS 12.2 Beta Hints: AirPods

Finally, earlier in the developer beta process Apple accidentally revealed a never-before-seen set up screen confirming a long awaited Siri feature: Users will soon simply be able to say “Hey Siri” to prompt the voice assistant instead of having to tap the buds to activate it.

This feature has long been predicted to be coming to an upgraded version of the AirPods by trusted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. While a full AirPods 2 launch might not arrive until 2020, a marginal update that’s expected in 2019 might add this feature.

A majority, if not all, of these hints likely won’t be visible on the public beta, which anyone can download by applying to Apple’s Beta Software Program. The developers beta is usually significantly less polished, and this is part of why it sometimes contains hints about upcoming products.

But in the meanwhile, thanks to a few Apple oversights, users awaiting this trio of products can rest assured that they’ll be here… eventually.