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Noise-canceling AirPods may be in the works, say analysts

In addition to noise cancellation, Apple may include water resistance to its upcoming AirPods 2 earbuds.

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

The next version of Apple's AirPods wireless earbuds may include a feature we see in a lot of high-end headphones: noise cancellation.

A recent report by analysts from Barclays (via 9to5Mac) claims that Apple is working on the next generation of AirPods. The new AirPods are said to come with noise-canceling capabilities and other improvements, too.

This falls in line with an earlier Bloomberg report that claimed a new version of the AirPods would come with hands-free Siri integration -- so you could summon the digital assistant with the "Hey Siri" command -- as well as a new wireless chip from Apple for improved Bluetooth connectivity. 

Bloomberg reported that these Siri-integrated AirPods could come as early as the end of the year, but that the separate waterproof version may be slated for 2019.

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The original AirPods were announced in 2016 alongside the iPhone 7, and are a commercial success. Analysts estimate that AirPods account for 85 percent of the global wireless headphone market, and they sold out during the 2017 holiday shopping season. Demand for the new AirPods may continue especially as Apple releases more iPhones without headphone jacks, like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment and has yet to make an official announcement about the next AirPods. One thing we do know for sure is that the earbuds will get a wireless charging case soon. Apple announced this information when it announced its new AirPower wireless charging mat in September 2017, and while no availability date has been unveiled, the latest speculation has the mat timed for March.

The company is also rumored to be working on a set of premium headphones. Unlike AirPods, these headphones would have an over-the-ear design, similar to some of the headphones from its subsidiary Beats. We saw Apple dabble in high-grade audio when it released the HomePod smart speaker, so it would be interesting to see what Apple brings to the table with its own in-house branded headphones.