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Apple announced a new version of AirPods, the second generation of the company's popular headphones, on Wednesday.
The new version of AirPods supports longer battery life and a new H1 chip that Apple says improves connectivity with your iPhone or iPad and helps to deliver up to a 50 percent bump in talk time over the first generation AirPods. The chip replaces the W1 in the first model.
The new AirPods cost $199 with a wireless charging case, or $159 without it. The wireless charging case is also available for owners of the first version of AirPods for $79. All are available now and ship starting March 27.
The second-generation AirPods also support "Hey Siri," which means users can talk to Siri to place phone calls, request music, ask the weather and more simply by speaking to Siri instead of tapping one of the AirPods, which was required on the first model.
They also support wireless charging if you buy them with a new wireless charging case. That means you can drop it on a wireless charging pad instead of plugging the case in. Like the first generation, the case provides up to 24 hours of battery life. A new LED indicator outside shows if it's charging or not.
Speaking of wireless charging, Apple still hasn't given an update on AirPower, the wireless charging pad that it originally announced in September 2017. AirPower is designed to charge an iPhone, AirPods and Apple watch at the same time. Apple said AirPower was supposed to launch in 2018, but never did.
Here's the announcement from Apple:
New AirPods are Powered by the New H1 Chip and Feature 50 Percent More Talk Time, Hands-Free "Hey Siri" and the Option of a Wireless Charging Case
Apple today announced new AirPods®, the second generation of the world's most popular wireless headphones. AirPods revolutionized the wireless audio experience with a breakthrough design and the new AirPods build on the magical experience customers love. The new Apple-designed H1 chip, developed specifically for headphones, delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free "Hey Siri." AirPods come with either a standard charging case or a new Wireless Charging Case for convenient charging at home and on the go. The new AirPods and AirPods with Wireless Charging Case are available to order on apple.com and the Apple Store® app starting today, and in Apple Stores beginning next week.
"AirPods delivered a magical wireless experience and have become one of the most beloved products we've ever made. They connect easily with all of your devices, and provide crystal clear sound and intuitive, innovative control of your music and audio," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "The world's best wireless headphones just got even better with the new AirPods. They are powered by the new Apple-designed H1 chip which brings an extra hour of talk time, faster connections, hands-free 'Hey Siri' and the convenience of a new wireless battery case."
The new Apple-designed H1 chip features custom audio architecture to create a revolutionary audio experience and improved synchronization. H1 allows AirPods to deliver up to 50 percent more talk time compared to first generation AirPods. Switching between devices while listening to music on iPhone®, Apple Watch® or iPad® is more seamless than ever with two times faster connect times. For the first time, AirPods now feature the convenience of "Hey Siri" making it easier to change songs, make a call, adjust the volume or get directions simply by saying, "Hey Siri."
The new AirPods come with either the standard charging case or the new Wireless Charging Case. Each case holds additional charges for more than 24 hours of total listening time, ensuring AirPods are charged and ready to go whenever you are. The Wireless Charging Case is designed to offer the freedom of wireless charging with Qi-compatible charging solutions. An LED light indicator located on the front of the case conveniently shows the charge status with just a glance. Existing AirPods customers can purchase the standalone Wireless Charging Case.
Pricing and Availability