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There’s been a lot of buzz lately suggesting that Apple’s AirPower charging mat and new AirPods will finally see the light of day this spring. However, while AirPower is pretty straightforward, there’s still more than a little bit of confusion around what we’ll actually see in Apple’s next AirPods update.
A new report from Spanish site Applesfera (Google Translate) is dropping its hat into the ring, supporting earlier reports of a March 29 release with its own information from supply chain sources. In this case, Applesfera is citing supplier reports that indicate that March 28 is the last day of the “life cycle” for the original AirPods, sharing a screenshot from a logistics and stock management app showing that the AirPods as we know them today will no longer be on sale as of March 28.
So What’s Coming?
If correct, this information does support the rumours that Apple will be releasing a new version of its AirPods, but it doesn’t offer any specific insight into what form the March 29 AirPods will take. Apple has been promising an AirPods wireless charging case since it first unveiled AirPower back in 2017, and with AirPower expected to be released at the same time, it would be a given that AirPods would also need to gain wireless charging capabilities to be compatible with the new power mat.
However, rumours that Apple has been working on significant enhancements to its AirPods — a version that most are dubbing “AirPods 2” — have muddied the waters somewhat, leading some to suggest that Apple won’t just be providing a wireless charging case, but will debut more significant updates to the over-two-year-old wireless earbuds. Some supply chain reports have suggested that new AirPods are already in production, which are said to include a grippier surface coating and a new version in black. Code found in iOS 12.2 betas would also seem to confirm that the new AirPods will at least be gaining the “Hey Siri” support that’s been rumoured since early last year.
But Will These Be The “AirPods 2”?
Both of these would be more significant updates than simply the addition of a wireless charging case, but these also may not exactly be the “AirPods 2” that many have been expecting; other reports have indicated that new AirPods are coming with health monitoring features, and have pegged a fall launch date for those. Further, while Apple is expected to be holding a major event on March 25, most reports have suggested that this will not include any hardware announcements, but will rather be focused on Apple’s new video streaming and news services. Although new AirPods could be mentioned in passing, it would seem out of place at such an event.
On the other hand, the release of AirPower and a more minor refresh of Apple’s AirPods would certainly not need stage time to be announced. In fact, with AirPower having so conspicuously missed its 2018 deadline, it seems likely Apple would prefer to quietly launch it on the Apple Store without much fanfare at all. New AirPods that simply added a wireless charging case and minor design changes would likely also warrant little more than a press release, as would Apple’s expected new iPad lineup, which is expected to only include a minor spec bump.
So it seems that Apple’s spring AirPods will likely include more than just a wireless charging case; the design tweaks and “Hey Siri” support are both probably additions, particularly with the latter already being in the iOS 12.2 betas. However, there have been enough reports of something more coming to AirPods, coupled with rumours of a fall release, to suggest that the really anticipated “AirPods 2” — which will likely feature health sensors and maybe even a more radical design change — is probably still a few months away. Of course, it’s also anybody’s guess what Apple will choose to call them — by all of the usual definitions, the next update will likely be referred to as the “second-generation AirPods” in support documents, at least, but either way, it seems like we’re in for a relatively minor update this spring, with something bigger still looming on the horizon.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]