“Hey, Siri” Setup for AirPods Seen on iOS 12.2
Apple recently released the first beta of iOS 12.2 for developers, and it includes a new setup screen for AirPods configuration stating that users can talk to Siri with AirPods or iPhone by saying “Hey, Siri.” The always-listening “Hey, Siri” wake word feature is not available for the current generation of AirPods, which were released over two years ago. Instead, users can tap the AirPod to wake up Siri or initiate the interaction on the phone.
Rumors Have Been Floating Around for Some Time
Bloomberg has reported on rumors that Apple is preparing for the release of an AirPods second generation since last June, leading outlets to speculate that this “Hey, Siri” functionality will be available in AirPods 2 later this year. During last year’s September Apple Event Day, Apple’s introduction video included someone at Apple Park using the “Hey, Siri” functionality with AirPods. Voicebot also reported on AirPod 2 rumors in November.
Digitimes reported last week that the AirPods 2 would be launching during the first half of 2019, including new health monitoring features. No consumer release date has been given for iOS 12.2, so there is no telling as to when the functionality will be released, but the release of updated AirPods and iOS 12.2 around the same time is a fair assumption to make. This being said, it could still be some time before iOS 12.2 is released, as each iOS update will go through several revisions before a public release.
Cheaper Alternatives to AirPods Could Upend AirPod’s Two-Year Long Market Control
Since AirPod’s initial release, in December 2016, the earbuds have been largely regarded as the standard for hearables. AirPods have consistently held down the position of ‘best wireless earbuds’ by places like TechRadar, The Verge, and maintain a 4-star average from 1,623 reviewers on Apple.com. Recent 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 – the product has been adopted by 24% of hearable owners.
Although AirPods have held the standard of hearables for some time, that could be coming to an end with cheaper alternatives that offer similar quality. For example, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air earbuds are widely regarded as a cheaper alternative to AirPods, due to its ability to function with multiple voice assistants and mobile devices through Bluetooth connectivity, tap commands to initiate voice commands, and comparable sound quality. Offered at half the price of AirPods, $79.99, outlets like ReviewGeek have said,
You’re paying 50% of the cost of a pair of AirPods and getting 75% of the value. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth paying 50% more to get the whole AirPod experience.
It is clear that competition is catching up to AirPods, and that the earbuds could definitely benefit greatly from an update.DOWNLOAD THE REPORT