Apple continues to churn out the hardware upgrades this week. On Monday it was iPads. On Tuesday it was iMacs. Today it’s AirPods. That’s right, Apple just announced its second-generation AirPods and you can order them right now.
The new AirPods are equipped with Apple’s brand-new H1 chip, which delivers some key performance upgrades over the first-generation AirPods. According to the press release, the H1 chip allows the new AirPods to deliver up to 50 percent more talk time, and faster switching between your other Apple devices, such as iPhone, Apple Watch or iPad. The other big upgrade is that, as has been long rumored, AirPods come hands-free “Hey Siri” support, so you can “change songs, make a call, adjust the volume or get directions simply by saying, ‘Hey Siri.'”
The new AirPods cost the same as the original wireless earbuds: $159. Or you opt for a wireless charging case for an extra $40. The charging case is almost identical to the original one, but it has a single LED light on its front that displays the charge status. (This LED light is located on the first-generation case, too, but on the inside.) Each case still has the same battery capacity, offering roughly 24 hours of listening time.
If you already have AirPods and don’t feel like spending $199 on a brand-new pair, Apple is offering a get-out-of-jail card: a standalone wireless charging case. The case costs $79 and will work with the current AirPods that you already have. You can add a personal engraving (up to 19 characters) to the AirPods case — either the standard or Qi-wireless charging case — for free during checkout.
The new AirPods have a number of welcome improvements — faster pairing speeds, more talk time, and improved microphone clarity on calls — but if you were waiting for sweat-proof AirPods, well, you’re still playing the waiting game. Matte black or space gray AirPods are also no-shows.
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