Apple Will Release New AirPods with Always-On ‘Hey Siri’ Detection This Year

Apple is working on a refreshed version of the AirPods which it plans to unveil later this year. The new AirPods will come with an upgraded W-series chipset. The highlight of the new variant will be the ability to invoke Siri by simply saying “Hey Siri”.

While you can also invoke Siri on the existing AirPods, it requires one to tap on the headset first. The new one will feature always-on “Hey Siri” detection similar to what we have already seen on the latest iPhones and iPads. Apple is also working on another AirPods refresh for next year which will feature a certain degree of water-resistance. They won’t exactly be water-proof since they cannot be submerged in water but should be resistant to any kind of water damage from rains and splashes.

The model coming as early as this year will let people summon Apple’s Siri digital assistant without physically tapping the headphones by saying “Hey Siri.” The function will work similarly to how a user activates Siri on an iPhone or a HomePod speaker hands-free.

It is unclear what benefits the upgraded W-series chip will bring to the new AirPods, though an improvement in sound quality and battery life should be on the cards.

Our Take

The AirPods was initially criticised for its high price and funny design. However, post their launch, it quickly became among the most popular wireless earbuds out there, with customers even queuing up outside of Apple stores on launch day to get their hands on one. Even after 1.5 years of its initial release, the AirPods continue to remain in high demand, with Apple’s supply chain only recently catching up to the demand.

Give that the original AirPods have been heavily criticized for their sub-par sound quality, it remains to be seen if Apple ends up making any improvement in this regard or not, especially after the release of the HomePod which has been heavily praised for its sound quality.

[Via Bloomberg]