First released in late 2016, the popular AirPods will soon follow an upgrade pattern similar to the iPhone, iPad, or Watch, so expect to see a new version every 12 months or so. The upcoming 2018 model will reportedly have an improved wireless chip for managing Bluetooth connections.
The original AirPods housed the W1, a custom in-house Bluetooth 4.1 chipset that made connecting to iOS devices quick and reliable. It’s not clear whether the upcoming earbuds will feature the W2 chip first released in the Apple Watch Series 4 or an entirely new chip (a W3 perhaps?). It’ll be interesting to see what sort of improvements Apple has planned given its current wireless chip is already the best in the business.
Another major improvement reportedly on its way is the ability to activate Siri by saying “Hey Siri,” instead of tapping on the earbuds. Some people may find it awkward to talk to their headphones, but voice commands can be useful for changing songs or making calls when you’re lifting weights or doing dishes.
While we haven’t heard anything about an athlete-focused version, a rumored Apple AirPod 3 set for 2019 will reportedly be water resistant. One of the biggest complaints we have with the first version is that, despite the convenience of wireless, the AirPods were not great for gym use because they lacked protection against water. The report claims the headphones will be water resistant, not waterproof, but that should be enough to protect them from sweat. Unfortunately, there’s no word on whether the upcoming 2018 edition will also include the feature.