CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA — According reports from Bloomberg and others, Apple is reportedly planning to release new hardware and software upgrades to its popular AirPods. The company’s wireless earphones (AirPods) have been a significant success story for Apple since their initial launch in September 2016–with one long-time company analyst recently quoited saying he anticipates Apple’s AirPods to become “bigger than the Apple Watch”.
In a familiar trend with its other product lines, like the iPhone, iPad, and Watch, the company is reportedly intent on providing regular hardware updates and features for the AirPods. The next model, rumored to be released sometime in 2018, is said to allow users to communicate with Apple’s Siri digital assistant hands-free by saying “Hey Siri” (instead of physically tapping the headphones) and will include an upgraded wireless chip–replacing the popular W1 Chip with the W2 that was recently included in the latest version of the Apple Watch.
A subsequent model, which could be released in 2019, is planned to be water-resistant.
AirPods 2 and 3: Coming Soon?
Apple’s AirPods, which currently retail for $159, are the highest rated first-year Apple product to date — 98% of owners surveyed said they are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their earbuds. The company’s wearables segment, which includes the AirPods, have seen sales increase by nearly 70 percent in just the last year.
“Wearables were the second-largest contributor to revenue growth after iPhone, which is impressive,” —Luca Maestri, Apple CFO
Beyond augmented audio and streaming, AirPods have also been rumored to potentially take on health applications in the future, like diabetes monitoring.
It’s unclear if any fitness or health monitoring technology, such as that found Bragi Dash and other popular hearables, will be included in the next generations of Apple AirPods.