Apple has launched a new version of its hugely popular wireless earbuds, the AirPods, with long-anticipated wireless charging and longer battery life.
The second-generation AirPods look identical to the previous version, complete with a white stalk that looks like a set of earphones with the cables cut off. But now the earbuds last longer when used for phone calls between charges and support hands-free access to Apple’s Siri voice assistant.
The updated AirPods contain the new H1 chip, which is designed to ensure a stable connection to the smartphone, says Apple, something that still proves difficult for many manufacturers of truly wireless earbuds.
Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide marketing, said the new Airpods offered “an extra hour of talk-time, faster connections, hands-free ‘Hey Siri’ and the convenience of a new wireless battery case”.
The latest Apple AirPods are on sale for $199 with a wireless charging case, which closely resembles the previous Lightning cable-only case from 2017 but with an exterior charging indicator light. The case can be charged via any standard Qi-compatible charger in the same way as Apple’s recent iPhones.