Apple’s Hearable Health Focus – Siri Access and Sensors May Be Among Updates for AirPods 2 and New Headphones in 2019
- AirPods 2 are expected to get feature upgrades such as noise cancelation and improved water resistance in 2019
- AirPods 2 are likely to be voice activated which means no more tapping to activate Siri, a voice command will do
- AirPods 2 may have health and wellness monitors included
- Apple is likely to offer new smart headphones
Rumors are circulating the internet about the latest additions to Apple’s headphones product line. In addition to new information about the second iteration of AirPods, it has also been leaked that Apple is also working on a new set of over-the-ear headphones. Apple has remained silent about the launch date of either product and neither were mentioned at Apple’s special press event on October 30th.
What to Expect from AirPods 2
The new AirPods are likely to include noise cancellation, improved water resistance and be able to operate at a further range from the user’s iPhone. Inverse reports that the new AirPods may include biometric sensors for measuring heart rate, similar to Apple’s enhanced heart measurement in the Apple Watch Series 4. This conclusion follows Apple’s move to update their trademark of the AirPods early in November to include “General wellness instruments, namely, health, fitness, exercise, and wellness sensors, monitors, speakers and displays for measuring, displaying, tracking, reporting, monitoring, storing, and transmitting biometric data, heart rate, body movement, and calories burned.”
In addition to a health focus, Apple seems to be updating user access to Siri as well. Bloomberg reported in February the AirPods will become voice activated. Siri is activated on the AirPods by tapping them, but the AirPods 2 will allow for hands-free wake word activation. ‘Hey Siri’ activation is currently available on the iPhone, iPad, and HomePod, and according to Bloomberg will also be available on the AirPods 2.
Bloomberg has also indicated AirPods may receive a bigger upgrade in 2019 to include a W2 or even a W3 chip. Apple is most likely looking to implement an upgrade cycle similar to how they announce and release iPhones, by taking a popular product and adding new features each year to entice upgrades.
Apple Rumored to be Making Smart Headphones, Too
According to Bloomberg sources, Apple has confirmed interest in developing over-the-ear headphones. The yet to be named headphones are rumored to combine HomePod and AirPods technology. The release of new Apple headphones could cannibalize the sales of Apple-owned Beats headphones, however, Bloomberg doesn’t think that Apple will stop producing Beats headphones. Bloomberg comments:
Given the strength of the Beats headphone name, the company will likely keep that brand while developing a different new one for the new headphones.
The smart headphones are expected to release around the same time as the AirPods 2, in addition to targeting the high-end of the market in terms of price.
AirPods are Still Going Strong Two Years After Their Release
When Apple initially announced their AirPods, it seemed like everyone had an opinion. But it cannot be denied that their release changed the standard for earbuds. They include dual beam-forming microphones, dual optic sensors, a motion-detecting accelerometer, and a speech-detecting accelerometer. They have also consistently held down the position of ‘best wireless earbuds’ by places like TechRadar, The Verge, and maintain a 4-star average from 1,406 reviewers on Apple.com. Since their release in December 2016, Apple AirPods are still flying off shelves and are currently Best Buy’s #1 seller as of last month.
New data from Voicebot’s Voice Assistant Consumer Adoption Report also found that nearly half of consumers (46%) own hearables, with Apple AirPods as the breakout leader. Even though the market remains fragmented with 37% of responses indicating ‘Other’, Apple AirPods have been adopted by 24% of hearable owners. Beats market share of 11% simply adds to Apple’s overall segment reach.DOWNLOAD THE REPORT
Apple is Planning New HomePod and AirPods for 2019 – Bloomberg