Apple to Debut New AirPods This Year With Handsfree ‘Hey, Siri’ Voice Command Feature, ‘Water-Resistant’ Models Coming in 2019

Apple is reportedly working on several upgrades to its wireless AirPods with a new version of the popular headphones set for release as soon as this year, according to Bloomberg.

Like with its mobile devices — the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch — Apple intends to frequently update the AirPods with new hardware features. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is working on a new version for release as soon as this year with an upgraded wireless chip, the people said. A subsequent model for as early as next year is planned to be water resistant, they added, asking not to be identified discussing private product plans.

The new 2018 AirPods are said to come with an upgraded wireless chip that will let users summon Siri using the “Hey, Siri” voice command without having to physically tap the headphones, similar to the way iPhone and HomePod users invoke the virtual assistant. Currently, summoning Siri through AirPods requires users to double-tap the sides of the earbuds, although responsiveness to touch can occasionally be flaky. The upcoming version of the headphones are known internally as B288, according to today’s report.

The idea behind the third iteration of AirPods, said to be coming in 2019, is for the headphones to “survive splashes of water and rain”, although they likely won’t be designed to be submerged in water, according to Bloomberg‘s sources. That plan comes despite reports that current-generation AirPods survive being submerged in one foot of water for five minutes, and even come out the other side of a washing and drying cycle functioning as normal. That said, Apple doesn’t advertise AirPods as water resistant, and a patent was in fact filed last April for a waterproof AirPods case that can double as an iPhone or Apple Watch charger.

Designed by the same department that produced Apple’s HomePod speaker, AirPods were first introduced in 2016 alongside the iPhone 7 sans headphone jack, as a wireless solution for users wanting to listen to audio through a headset. Since launch, AirPods have been considered one of Apple’s top-performing products, apparently reflected in Apple’s severely constrained supplies throughout 2017. Production capacity of AirPods was bumped up in the second half of last year, but Apple has consistently struggled to reach supply/demand balance. Despite tight supply, AirPods were the overall top selling electronic products during last November’s Cyber Monday, according to online shopping data provided by Adobe.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that Apple shipped 13 to 14 million AirPods last year, and he expects AirPods to remain one of Apple’s most popular accessories through 2018, with shipments likely to double to an estimated 26-28 million units on a year-over-year basis. Separately, analyst Gene Munster has predicted Apple will eventually earn more from AirPods than Apple Watch.

Back in December, Kuo also predicted Apple would release an upgraded version of AirPods in the second half of 2018. Kuo said one internal change on the second-generation AirPods will include a “smaller quartz component,” but he didn’t provide any further details about new outward-facing features or improvements to expect.

During Apple’s iPhone X event in September, Apple revealed that a rumored new version of its AirPods headphones were not in fact the “AirPods 2,” but simply a new inductive wireless charging case that users will be able to purchase as a replacement for their current charging cases. The only design change made to the new charging case is the placement of the LED battery indicator light, which has migrated from the inside of the case to the outside on the front. No release date has been given for the wireless charging case, but there’s a fair chance it could appear during a March event alongside Apple’s AirPower wireless charging pad and new iPads. It’s still unclear if Apple will offer a version that also includes the AirPods themselves at the typical $159 price tag.

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First Android Oreo (Go edition) phones will debut next week

Android Oreo Go edition logo

After initially debuting alongside the update to Android 8.1 back in December, Android Oreo (Go edition) is finally about to appear on its first devices.

Google says that the first Android Oreo (Go edition) phones will be introduced next week at MWC 2018. The devices will go on sale “soon after”.

No OEM partners have been announced for these Android Oreo (Go edition) devices, so it’s unclear what kind of phones we’ll see next week. Android Oreo (Go edition) is a version of Android Oreo that’s optimized for smartphones with 1GB of RAM or less, though, so expect them to have fairly entry-level specs.

The goal of Android Oreo (Go edition) is to offer a smartphone that’s affordable but with an experience that doesn’t suffer because of it. These devices will have less storage and processing power, but that will enable manufacturers to sell the devices at affordable prices, sometimes at less than $ 50.

Android Oreo (Go edition) is optimized for these types of phones, complete with Google apps that are designed to use less memory and storage. The goal is that with all of these optimizations, consumers can buy an affordable Android Oreo (Go edition) device and still have a good experience using it.

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LG K8 and LG K10 debut ahead of MWC with upgraded specs

LG K8, LG K10 official

MWC 2018 kicks off next week, but LG just couldn’t wait until then to share the news of its two new K Series smartphones.

The LG K8 and LG K10 are now official. LG’s K Series of phones is meant to offer premium features at not-so-premium prices. These new devices are follow-ups to the original models that we saw launch in early 2016.

The new LG K8 features a 5-inch 1280×720 display, 8-megapixel rear camera, and 5-megapixel front camera. LG touts that low light photography has been improved on the K8, and it’s also included HDR photo support.

Inside the LG K8 is a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a microSD card slot. A 2,500mAh battery powers the K8, and what’s notable is that the battery is removable, which is something we don’t often see on modern smartphones.

LG’s K10 steps up its specs in a number of ways. It’s got a larger 5.3-inch 1280×720 display and is equipped with a 13-megapixel rear camera that includes tech from the LG G6. There’s also an 8-megapixel front camera that can add bokeh to your selfies.

The LG K10 spec list also includes a 1.5GHz octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in storage, and a microSD card slot. Like the K8, the K10’s 3,000mAh battery is removable. Also of note is that the LG K10 includes a rear fingerprint reader for added security.

Both the LG K8 and LG K10 will come equipped with Android 7.1.2 Nougat. The phones will launch globally in regions like Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. No launch timing or pricing details have been shared, though.

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Apple will reportedly debut new AirPods this year with at least two key upgrades

AirPods 2 Release Date

As is often the case with Apple, the company’s truly wireless AirPods headphones were nowhere close to being the first device to market in this emerging category. Apple is almost never first to market, of course. Instead, the company takes its time and develops the best product it can, and that product typically ends up being the most popular option. Apple did it with smartphones, the company did it with tablets, and now Apple has done it again with cord-free earbuds.

Apple’s AirPods were first released more than a year ago, and they’re so popular that supply still can’t keep up with demand. Apparently that isn’t stopping Apple from working on new versions of its first Apple-branded wireless headphones, and a new report says the second-generation model is set to be released this year.

A new report on Thursday morning from Bloomberg states that Apple is currently working on at least two different updated versions of its popular AirPods. The second version is supposedly due to be released next year at the earliest will reportedly feature water resistance, though it’s currently unclear what other new features Apple may have planned for 2019’s new AirPods. Before they’re released, however, Apple supposedly has a second-generation version of its AirPods planned for release this year.

According to the report, Apple’s new 2018 AirPods will feature at least two big upgrades. First, they’ll pack an upgraded wireless chip. The first-generation AirPods include Apple’s W1 wireless chip, and last year’s Apple Watch Series 3 included a new W2 wireless chip. It’s unclear if the second-generation AirPods will feature the W2 or a new W2 chip. In either case, improved wireless performance would be a welcome change for current AirPods users, who often report difficulty establishing and maintaining Bluetooth connections.

Apart from the wireless chip, the report states that Apple’s upcoming second-generation AirPods will also add support for the “Hey Siri” wake command. The currently available AirPods model does offer Siri support, but users must physically double-tap on one of the earbuds in order to wake Siri. The new version of Apple’s AirPods will supposedly allow users to simply speak the phrase “Hey Siri” at any time to wake Siri.

It’s unclear when Apple plans to release its second-generation AirPods. The first-generation model was released more than a year ago in December 2016.

Apple – BGR

Apple said to debut voice-activated Siri AirPods in 2018, water-resistant model in 2019

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 Apple is preparing a couple of updating models of AirPods, according to Bloomberg. The popular fully wireless earbud-style headphones that Apple introduced last year are currently on track for a refresh in 2018 with the addition of a new version of the “W” line of chips that Apple created specifically to manage and improve Bluetooth-based connections between gadgets. The 2018… Read More
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