AirPods 2: Everything We Know So Far About The Second-Generation AirPods

By GQ Staff
24 January 2019
AirPods, Apple
Getty Images
With a new design complete with ‘health monitoring’ features, AirPods 2 will launch in the first half of 2019

At first, AirPods seemed like the most ludicrous invention to hit the market. The cordless earbuds had the look of someone that had half a cotton-bud sticking out of their ear, so much so that the natural response would by “how did it get there?” not “what are you listening to?”

But as fashion trends are bigger than a small collection of outspoken haters, this was one that truly caught on and became something of an Instagram flex with celebrities like Jonah Hill frequently papped sporting the AirPods. They have only grown in popularity and continue to be a smash hit sensation for Apple. However, having launched more than 2 years ago, the focus in the tech community has moved to expectations of what the AirPod 2 will hold for customers, being the first hardware update to Apple’s wireless earbuds.

According to a report from Digitimes, Apple will release AirPods 2 within the first six months of this year.

Health-Focused Features

Digitimes suggests that AirPods 2 will be redesigned to support health monitoring functions. The idea of adding health features to AirPods has been speculated by analysts for some time, but with no confirmation from Apple and a mixed record of accuracy from Digitimes, it’s anyone’s guess if such a thing will come to fruition.

Being so small, it’s hard to imagine just what sort of health monitoring features the earbuds could contain. A small accelerometer could potentially determine body movement but these angles are already well served by the Apple Watch.

Things like an optical heart rate monitor installed into the earbuds seems incredibly unfeasible, too. Considering that the AirPods can only contend with tiny internal batteries inside the buds, the inclusion of a heart rate accessory would prove problematic.

According to a patent filed in July, the AirPod 2 is speculated to include biometric sensors that allow the buds to dual function as a fitness tracker. They would also be able to measure stroke volume that allows it to calculate a user’s cardiac output. These features fall in line with the health features highlighted in the new Apple Watch Series 4. This patent was followed by rumours of the next AirPods featuring waterproof as well as noise-cancelling and improved Siri communication.

Bloomberg previously reported that higher-end AirPods would launch in early 2019 and would serve as a more expensive option to the current AirPods.

They didn’t specify features but it was considered that these ‘pro’ AirPods could be what Digitimes is now describing as they suggested Apple was experimenting with biometric sensors for AirPods, enabling the product to become a health wearable.


Wireless Charging Case

Apple has been teasing the launch of the AirPods wireless charging case since September 2017 but still the accessory is yet to launch. Many believe the hold up of the charging case’s release is due to delays getting AirPower to market. The wireless charging case alone would not really constitute an ‘AirPods 2’, so it’s been ruled out as being what Digitimes is referring to.

Despite this, some are speculating that perhaps AirPods 2 could be a bundle package. As Apple has advertised the case as an optional extra in the past, with AirPod users able to buy the wireless case on its own. Now, it’s thought it will come as a standard package for the new model AirPod.

Intelligence Technology and Improved Design

Considering Apple’s growing interest in health, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the company build health features into future AirPods. A recent patent discovery suggests that Apple is studying future design changes for the AirPods, including a design that would allow each earphone to recognise what ear it’s been placed into and then able to adapt the sound experience accordingly.

We’ll keep you posted on the updates in the lead up to the launch of AirPods 2.


Via GQ Australia