The second generation of AirPods just appeared in the Apple Store, and they sure look a lot like the first generation, save for some key upgrades.
The new $160 AirPods have a new H1 chip made by Apple specifically for wireless headphones that’s supposed to give you more talk time, better connectivity, and the ability to beckon Siri just by saying “Hey Siri.” There’s also the option to add a wireless charging case for an extra $40. Or you can buy the wireless charging case all by itself for $80. They’re available online now and will be in stores next week. That’s it!
It’s worth highlighting the fact that Apple made these extremely popular wireless earbuds just a little bit better without changing the price. It doesn’t sound like the second-generation AirPods got such an overhaul that you should throw away your first-generation AirPods and blow $160 (or $200 if you want the wireless charging case) on an upgrade.
The new AirPods look just like the old AirPods. Apple does say that the second-gen AirPods offer up to 50 percent more talk time and connect to iOS devices up to twice as fast thanks to the new H1 chip. Then there’s the always-on Siri functionality that lets you talk to Apple’s terrible personal assistant more easily. The wireless charging case is otherwise the beefiest upgrade since it makes the whole package more convenient and sets the AirPods up for the imminent (or doomed) arrival of the AirPower charging mat. Again, the new case will cost extra.
We’ll do a full review of the new AirPods when we get our hands on a pair. In the meantime, don’t go rushing to upgrade quite yet. Unless you bought new AirPods last week. In that case, you might consider taking advantage of Apple’s generous return policy and getting the new ones now.