AirPods 2 rumors: Price, specs, features and everything else we know
There's been plenty of chatter about new AirPods making their debut as soon as March 25. Here's the full skinny.
David CarnoyExecutive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
ExpertiseMobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakersCredentials
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Word is the company will use the event to unveil a host of new digital services -- including, possibly, a new TV streaming service and an updated version of Apple News that builds on its recent acquisition of Texture. But there's always a chance it could sneak in some hardware announcements -- like new iPads and those much-anticipated AirPods 2.
Here's a quick roundup of all the latest AirPods 2 chatter. To be clear, all these rumors are unconfirmed and Apple doesn't respond to questions about unannounced products, so take this all with a grain of salt.
New colors: Some sites are claiming that the AirPods 2 will come in black and possibly other colors. Aside from that, the AirPods 2 will allegedly look nearly identical to the original AirPods.
New grippier finish: The new buds could have a new soft-touch coating with a subtle grip to it that helps the AirPods 2 stay in people's ears more securely (see posts by MySmartPrice, Economic Daily News). This would be a key and welcome upgrade that seems too good to be true.
Upgraded Bluetooth connectivity: As a report from Bloomberg suggested last year, Apple is expected to upgrade the new AirPods with a new W2 chip with Bluetooth 5.0 support. The current AirPods support Bluetooth 4.2.
Improved bass performance: Tweaks to the AirPods' internal design will supposedly improve the bass (see MySmartPrice post). The lack of bass is a weakness with the current AirPods, so it wouldn't be surprising for Apple to have engineered the next AirPods to sound a little better.
Better battery life: Some have suggested the wireless chip upgrades could mean the AirPods will be come more energy efficient and be able to eke out more battery life. I wouldn't expect a big bump, but an extra hour or so would seem doable.
Improved water-resistance: That same Bloomberg report said Apple was looking to make the new AirPods more water-resistant. Apple doesn't state exactly how water-resistant the current AirPods are, but plenty of people run with them (and sweat on them) without a problem already.
Rumored feature updates (less likely)
"Wellness" monitoring: It's unclear just what these monitoring features might end up being -- or what sensors Apple might add -- but this rumor has been making the rounds ever since Apple was granted a patent in July of 2017 for future AirPods biometric sensors. The Jabra Elite Active 65t has a motion sensor for tracking fitness performance, but Apple's biometric patents appear to be more sophisticated.
Noise control: One of the AirPod's downsides is that their open design allows a lot of sound to leak in from the outside world, which has a major impact on sound quality in noisy environments. That aforementioned Bloomberg report from last year also hinted the next-generation AirPods could feature some sort of noise-cancelling element. Now there's talk of this feature appearing in the third-gen AirPods, which would also include better water-resistance and perhaps those biometric sensors. That model would potentially be larger and wouldn't come out till 2020, according to speculation from respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
MySmartPrice, which doesn't have the greatest track record with rumors, reported that the AirPods 2 would cost more -- around $200.
However, others suggest the AirPods 2 will costs $160 -- or the same as the original AirPods. I personally think the price will remain the same. With all the new true wireless competitors out there, it would be a mistake for Apple to raise the price.
Latest AirPods 2 news and rumors
March 14:Taiwan-based Digitimes, which keeps tabs on companies that make components for Apple products, claims the AirPods 2 are set for mass production and will be unveiled at Apple's March 25 event, according to its sources. Digitimes has been wrong in the past.
Feb. 12: Popular tech leaker @OnLeaks says that the AirPods 2 will launch this fall and come in new colors, according to a "new and yet unconfirmed but seemingly reliable source." @OnLeaks predicts that Apple will launch the new AirPods wireless charging case "soon" but that it will ship with current AirPods, not upcoming AirPods 2.
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Apple AirPods are nowhere near as ridiculous as they look