According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on upgrading its wireless AirPods earphones. Apples plans to frequently update its AirPods with newer hardware, just like it does its iPhones, iPads as well as the Apple Watch. Sources in the know have said that the new upgrades could hit the markets as soon as this year. This upgrade will have a new wireless chip. According to these sources, the generation of AirPods after that could even be water resistant, however this information is still confidential.
The model that is slated to be released this year will allow users to summon Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, by simply saying, “Hey Siri.” Currently, you need to tap the earphones to call Siri. The new headsets, internally dubbed B288, will also have an upgraded, internally designed, wireless chip that will manage Bluetooth connections.
The AirPods after these may be designed to be “splash-proof”, meaning they will be able to withstand rain or water splashes, but cannot be submerged. Currently, the latest iPhone models are designed to be splash proof, but the Apple Watch is “swim-proof”. However, the sources warned, that these plans for the next gen AirPods are still up in the air and may change.
The AirPods are designed by the same team that designed the HomePod. The first AirPods were launched in 2016, along with the iPhone 7 and was meant to replace the traditional wired headphones.
According to Forbes, when the new AirPods were released, people were not too sure about wireless headphones. They looked funny. What would the sound quality be like? Would they fulfil their promise? The AirPods did all that and more. They were the first completely wireless headphones and came in a case that would charge them.
These headphones have become Apple’s top-performing products. In fact, Apple can’t make them fast enough. Despite ramping up production, the company is struggling to meet consumer demand for these headphones.
The AirPods became the pioneer or wireless headphones in the market. Other companies joined the bandwagon – Samsung, Google, Sony, Bose and Motorola. However, AirPods remained the market leader, with the product controlled more than 85% of market share in the US, according to data analyzed in 2017 by research firm NDP Group.
The company’s Other Products business (AirPods, Beats headphones, Apple Watch, Apple TV and other accessories) showed a 36% year-on-year growth in the fiscal first quarter. For the first time, the business crossed the $5 billion revenue mark, and became the second-largest contributor to business growth after iPhone sales. According to Apple’s CFO, Luca Maestri, sales for this division had jumped by 70% for the full year last year.
Apple is expecting sales in AirPods to grow exponentially. The company announced that it plans to release an upgraded AirPods case that will wirelessly charge the headphones, just like the iPhone X. The tech giant is also working on developing an augmented reality headset slated for release in 2020.
Another product from the Other Products division that is finally doing well is the Apple Watch. The sales of this wearable were, in fact, higher than the entire Swiss watchmaking industry, according to a news report by Forbes.
According to research by Canalys, sales for the third generation of Apple Watches (which began shipping only in late September last year) shot up to 8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017. According to data from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, 6.8 million Swiss watches were sold. Annual sales for Swiss watches are still higher at 24 million units, versus Apple’s 18 million Watches.