Apple AirPods 2 & StudioPods: Availability, Colors, Charging Case, Pricing, More

WWDC has come and gone without any hardware announcements, but I'm quite sure that 2018 won't end without some new AirPods becoming available. Why? In its 2018 Q1 earnings report, Apple announced that its Other Products category, which includes the Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones, had grown 70 percent in sales as compared to the same quarter the previous year. AirPods, in particular, saw such high demand over the 2017 holiday season that by early December the Bluetooth earbuds were out of stock in brick-and-mortar stores and online. Shoppers had to wait for their backordered AirPods until January 2018, and Apple wisely chose to ramp up production. With this level of success, Apple should definitely make the AirPods 2 available before year's end. Let's talk about all the rumors surrounding Apple's AirPods 2, including the wireless AirPods case, colors, cost, and release date. We'll also dig into another possible launch: a pair of very sweet wireless, over-ear headphones called StudioPods. 

Related: New iPad Rumors: Release Date, Specs & More post WWDC 2018

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AirPods Wireless Charging Case

 

airpods case 

Ok, this one isn't a rumor, Apple announced in September 2017 that a wireless charging case for AirPods is coming, although it didn't specify a release date other than "coming in 2018." The new AirPods wireless charging case will almost certainly be released at the same time as Apple's wireless charging mat, the AirPower, also announced at the September event. I'm going with the assumption that the wireless charging cases will be optional, and that Apple will continue including the standard, plug-in charging cases with the AirPods themselves.

AirPods 2 Rumored Features 

airpods case

Touchless Siri Function?

AirPods owners can currently interact with Siri by double-tapping either AirPod; no need to even touch the iPhone. Siri can then help with a range of tasks, including making a phone call, changing volume level, offering directions, or switching music and other audio programming. Will the AirPods 2 have the capability to engage Siri with only a voice command? HomePod owners can interact with Siri through voice-only control, so why not AirPods users? 

Upgraded Wireless Chip?

AirPods in their current version incorporate Apple's W1 chip to detect when the AirPods are in your ears (one or both), route audio, engage the microphone, and manage battery life. Will the AirPods 2 utilize a W2 chip and, if so, what new capabilities will it convey? Even longer battery life? Bluetooth 5.0 capability? I'm interested to find out!  

AirPods Colors: Black AirPods, Perhaps?

One color option is not enough for those of us who prefer black, Space Gray, or even the flashy Rose Gold. Will the AirPods 2 come with one or more color choices, or stick with the standard white?

Water Resistant or Even Waterproof?

A feature I'd love to see in AirPods 2 is water resistance, or better yet, completely waterproofed. AirPods have held up to moisture exposure pretty well in the wild, but are not guaranteed to be water resistant. And accidents and sweaty workouts happen, so it would be great not to feel so concerned about a few splashes of rain or, perhaps, coffee. My guess is that we could see water resistant AirPods with the second version, but complete waterproofing may be a feature for AirPods 3.

Remote Microphone/Hearing Aid with Live Listen

Live Listen is a feature that allows your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to synch with your set of made for iPhone hearing aids and function as a remote microphone. This is a wonderful feature for people with mild hearing impairments, and it looks as though it will be available for the AirPods 2. 

AirPods 2 Pricing

airpods wireless charging case

Let's talk turkey; how much will the AirPods 2 and the new wireless charging case cost? AirPods currently ring in at $159, and Apple may push that price point up for the next version. I'd guess the AirPods 2 will cost in the range of $179–$199. A plug-in replacement case for AirPods currently costs $69, so I'd bet that the wireless version will cost at least a bit more, say $89.

As for the AirPower charging mat, my best guess is that it will cost about $199. After all, a single-device wireless charger on the Apple website costs $59.95, while a similar charger for an Apple Watch costs $79. $199 for a mat that charges three devices simultaneously is still less expensive than purchasing three of the single chargers separately. 

StudioPods: Over-the-Ear Wireless Headphones for 2018?

beats by dre blue

Apple already owns the Beats by Dre brand, so does it need a high-end headphone brand of its own, as well? According to the latest rumors, apparently so, and we're hoping that 2018 is the year we see StudioPods released to the rejoicing of audiophiles everywhere. Noise-cancelling, over-the-ear headphones are rumored to have been in the development phase for over a year now. 

How Much Will Apple Studio Pods Cost?

StudioPods will be a higher-end offering than AirPods since they're expected to feature higher audio quality. If the current price for Beats by Dre, Beats Studio3 Wireless at $349.95, is any indication, we can expect StudioPods to cost between $299 and $399, if not slightly more.

 

Studio Pods & AirPods 2 Release Date: September 2018?

airpods stock

The newest iPhones are usually announced the first or second week in September, along with a few other new product offerings. Last year's September 12 event saw the announcement of the Apple TV 4K, the iPhone 8, 8s, and X, and the Apple Watch Series 3. My guess is that the AirPods 2, and possibly Studio Pods as well, will be announced at this year's September event, along with the new iPhones, iPad Pros, AirPower Charging Mat, and hopefully a new Apple Watch! To me, though, this seems like an awful lot of products to announce all in one event. Will they all really be released in September, 2018, or will one or two be saved for a future event? 

What do You Think?

Do you have predictions for the new AirPods, AirPower charging mat, or StudioPods? What features would you like to see most, and do you plan on buying any of Apple's new tech? Let me know in the comments!

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Leanne Hays is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life.  She loves reading and blogging, and is never without a book in her purse or an audiobook on her phone. Short-term goals include finishing painting her house and starting an aquaponics farm, long-term goals include a bike tour of Italy and writing a novel.