One and a half years after announcing that it would release a wireless charging case for its AirPods headphones, Apple is finally ready to ship the accessory — along with a second-generation version of AirPods. The company will now sell two versions of AirPods: AirPods with Charging Case, and AirPods with Wireless Charging Case.
As has been rumored, the new AirPods include several key changes: the ability to automatically activate Siri when “Hey, Siri” is spoken, improved performance, and the new charging case. Despite the internal changes, the new AirPods bundle looks virtually identical to the original version, apart from a new external charging light on the new charging case.
According to Apple, the H1 chip enables several enhancements to the original AirPods experience: one hour of additional talk time — a 50 percent improvement — plus twice as fast pairing connections to devices, and the Hey Siri feature. When fully charged, each of the charging cases brings the total run time of the AirPods to over 24 hours.
What hasn’t changed is the basic AirPods design. Rumors ahead of today’s announcement suggested that Apple might offer two color options, change the glossy surface texture, or otherwise tweak the look and feel of the truly wireless earphones. For the time being, that’s not the case.
The new AirPods will sell for the same $159 price as their predecessor with a standard Lightning charging case, or $199 with the wireless charging case. You can also purchase the wireless charging case for $79.
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