Apple is keeping its string of device reveals going, first revealing a pair of new iPads on Monday and then updating its line of iMacs. Though some rumors claimed that we’d see a new iPod Touch today, we’re actually getting a new pair of AirPods.
An AirPods follow-up has been rumored for quite some time, so the fact that we’re seeing them now shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
At the center of these second-generation AirPods is Apple’s new H1 chip. That chip is responsible for a number of improvements over the original AirPods, with Phil Schiller explaining today that users can expect an extra hour of talk time (which is an increase of around 50%), faster connect times, and support for “Hey Siri.”
More specifically, Apple says that switching between devices – whether you want to listen on an iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad – should be twice as fast now. “Hey Siri” support is a particularly exciting addition, as it now means that you can actually use your AirPods hands-free. You can use Hey Siri on AirPods as you would on any other Apple platform, doing things like changing songs or requesting directions through voice commands.
Launching alongside these new AirPods is Apple’s Wireless Charging Case. The Wireless Charging Case is something that’s been teased since the day the original AirPods were announced, and as you’d expect, it’s compatible with any Qi charging pad. Regardless of whether you choose the standard case or the Wireless Charging Case, both of them will offer enough back-up juice for 24 hours of total listening time (assuming, of course, that they’re fully charged).
As with every other device Apple announced in the past couple of days, the new AirPods whave pre-orders opening today. Second-gen AirPods with a standard case will run R2 899, while the AirPods with the Wireless Charging Case will cost a not-insignificant R3 699. Those of you who own a pair of first-gen AirPods can buy the Wireless Charging Case separately, which comes with a standalone price tag of R1 299.
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