AirPods 2 now available: What's new?

AirPods 2

Apple continues its launch of new products this week with a sequel to its wireless AirPods. The refresh features a variety of improvements over the 1st generation model, which was in short supply after its release in December 2016. Since then, AirPods have become one of Apple's most successful accessories. So what new features come with the AirPods 2nd generation?

Apple H1 headphone chip

Apple's W1 processor made a splash in the original AirPods, delivering seamless bluetooth connections and managing battery life. AirPods 2 feature the Apple H1 chip, an upgrade to the W1 delivering several improvements:

  • An extra hour of talk time (50% more), totaling 3 hours
  • 2X faster switching between devices
  • Better wireless connection stability
  • Faster connection time on phone calls
  • 30% lower gaming latency

Just ask Siri

Along with the above improvements, the H1 includes on-board support for Hey Siri. Now when AirPods are in use, getting assistance from Siri hands-free is possible by simply saying "Hey Siri" at any time. Siri can place phone calls, control music and volume, and give navigation directions all without touching the paired iPhone.

Wireless charging case

Qi-compatible wireless charging has come to AirPods. In addition, the wireless charging case for AirPods has a Lightning port for conventional charging via Lightning cable.
AirPods Wireless Charging Case

The new model has an LED indicator on the front of the case, which shows when the device is charging. The standard AirPods charging case retains the LED indicator on the inside of the case.

Buying options for AirPods 2

There are three options when it comes to purchasing AirPods online or in stores, with different pricing. Existing AirPods (1st generation) can be charged in the wireless charging case, which is available separately for $79.

Apple has officially discontinued first generation AirPods, now that the AirPods 2 have hit the market. Look for more product releases ahead of Apple's March 25th media event.