One of the smallest members of Apple’s product lineup may get a useful update this year. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is working on new models of its AirPod wireless earbuds. One could debut later this year with an updated wireless chip and another with a water-resistant design may come out in 2019.
AirPods arrived in 2016 alongside the iPhone 7 as a solution to the smartphone’s lack of headphone jack. The W1 chip inside the AirPods helps it connect almost immediately to a user’s Apple products. According to the report, Apple is developing a new model with a new wireless chip that helps it better manage Bluetooth connections. It’s unclear if this new chip will be a variation of the W2 chip, which debuted with the Apple Watch Series 3 last year, or if it will be an entirely new one.
This year’s new model may also give users voice activation for Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri. Currently, users must tap the side of an AirPod before they can use voice commands. In the new AirPod models, summoning Siri would be hands-free, requiring only a voice command such as “Hey Siri” and no physical prompt.