AirPods are one of the best products Apple has ever launched and rumor has it they'll be getting better as soon as this year. That includes new features like water — and sweat! — resistance, built-in "Hey, Siri!" parsing, an inductive charging.

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December 2, 2018: Kuo 'predicts' AirPods update in 2019, next-gen AirPods in 2020

Ming-Chi Kuo is back, back again, with more predictions — or supply chain exfiltrations — on Apple's AirPod plans.

From MacRumors:

We attribute AirPods' dramatic growth (14–16mn, 26–28mn, 50–55mn, 70–80mn and 100–110mn units in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively) to 1) the upgraded model with wireless charging support to benefit shipments to launch in 1Q19, 2) the all-new design model to boost replacement demand to launch in 1Q20, 3) an innovative user experience, and 4) high integration with iOS and Mac products. In summary, AirPods is Apple's most popular accessory ever, and it currently has the best growth momentum among Apple products.

The 2019 upgrades will likely have water/sweat resistance and an — also sold separately — inductive charging case. The 2020 model could feature a tweaked design and even more on-board functionality.

It's a great product. Apple's long known that. The market is starting to see that. Competitors are starting to understand that. The race is on.

September 10, 2018: New AirPods — and AirPower — still rumored for 2018

Ming-Chi Kuo, he of the supply chain info exfilitration expertise, has released a new research note with ongoing teases about AirPod 2 and AirPower.

Via MacRumors:

Kuo still expects Apple's long-awaited AirPower charging mat and new AirPods to be released by the end of the year.

That could be as soon as Apple's September 12, 2018 event, but likely no later than the holiday shopping season.

June 26, 2018: New AirPods could arrive in 2019 with noise cancellation and water resistance

In a new report for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman claims that Apple will release a new set of its HomePod earbuds at some point in 2019, with improvements in device range, as well as noise cancellation features and water resistance.

The Cupertino, California-based company is working on new AirPods with noise-cancellation and water resistance, the people said. Apple is trying to increase the range that AirPods can work away from an iPhone or iPad, one of the people said. You won't be swimming in them though: The water resistance is mainly to protect against rain and perspiration, the people said.

Future AirPods might also come with biometric sensors, a possiblity that Apple is also said to be investigating. The company is also once again said to be working on a high-end set of over-ear headphones, also reportedly debuting next year.

February 22, 2018: New AirPods said to let you use Siri completely hands-free

The next iteration of Apple's AirPods could make talking to Siri easier. According to a new report from Bloomberg, the next iteration of the truly wireless earbuds will allow you to activate Siri using only your voice:

The model coming as early as this year will let people summon Apple's Siri digital assistant without physically tapping the headphones by saying "Hey Siri." The function will work similarly to how a user activates Siri on an iPhone or a HomePod speaker hands-free. The headphones, internally known as B288, will include an upgraded Apple-designed wireless chip for managing Bluetooth connections. The first AirPods include a chip known as the W1, and Apple released the W2 with the Apple Watch last year.

Apple is also said to be working on increasing the water resistance of the AirPods, but that improvement is apparently slated for some time in 2019.

December 19, 2017: Updated AirPods said to be coming in 2018

In a new note to investors, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that Apple will release an updated version of its AirPods wireless earphones in the second half of 2018. From the note (via MacRumors:

Media reports over the past few days on brisk AirPods demand and Apple struggling to keep up with holiday season demand align with our findings and positive predictions on AirPods in several previous reports. […]

In 2018, we predict AirPods shipments will grow 100% YoY to 26-28mn units. We forecast the ASP of RFPCB for upgraded AirPods in 2H18 may increase, further benefiting business momentum of Unitech and Compeq.

Kuo offered few details on the upgraded AirPods, noting only that they would feature a smaller quartz component.

September 14, 2017: AirPods wireless charging case may launch in December, cost $69

Leaked images of AirPods 2

Apple at its September iPhone event announced an updated wireless charging case for AirPods. The case — which, save for a repositioned LED charging light, looks nearly identical to the current AirPods case — will feature wireless charging capabilities, letting you charge your AirPods and the case by placing it on a charging pad. Despite mentioning the new case, however, Apple didn't give us a clear date or price for the updated design.

MacRumors cites "information reportedly sourced from Apple Switzerland" that suggests we'll see the new wireless charging case this December and it'll reportedly run you $69. The publication points to AirPods case replacement costs as a potential indicator of the rumor's validity:

Apple's out-of-warranty fee to repair or replace the AirPods charging case is $69, so a similar price point for the wireless charging version does make some sense.

It's good to know we probably have until December to decide if we want to spend $69 to add an extra case and wireless charging capabilities to our AirPods!

September 9, 2017: AirPods getting a slightly new look

Thanks to some digging into the leaked supposed Gold Master (GM) version of iOS 11, developer Steve Troughton-Smith tweeted out some pictures of the second-generation AirPods. For the most part, they're exactly the same, but there is one notable change to the charging case: The LED status light is on the outside.

This change could make it easier for you to quickly assess whether you need to charge up your charging case before heading out, something I personally forget to do all of the time.

What do you want to see in the second-generation AirPods?

AirPods are the new hotness. Now that people — finally — have them in hand, many are loving them. Almost no one is calling them perfect, though. And what first-gen product really is? So, that leads to the big question: If Apple asked you what they should change for the next-generation AirPods, what would you tell them?

  • Ship more sooner! (Okay, yes, besides that!)
  • Black color option
  • (PRODUCT) RED color option.
  • Fashion options like Apple Watch bands.
  • USB-C instead of Lightning for charging.
  • BT tie-clip with manual controls for volume and skipping.
  • Swappable tips to fit a wider variety of ears.
  • Offline Siri, because you need to be able to command when— Zzzt ...
  • Proper Apple TV support
  • Find my AirPods feature.

Those are just a few of the suggestions I've seen so far. What are yours?

AirPods: Ultimate Guide