There’s been plenty of chatter about new AirPods making their debut as soon as March 25. Here’s the full skinny.

The AirPods 2 could come in black with a special grippier coating.

Colorware

If you’re in the market for Apple’s AirPods — or another pair of truly wireless headphones — you may want to wait a bit. Apple’s is expected to release a new set of AirPods, mostly like called the AirPods 2, this year and possibly as soon as March 25, when it’s scheduled to host a special event at the Steve Jobs Theater on its Cupertino campus.

Word is the company will use the event to unveil a host of new digital services — including, possibly, a new TV streaming service and an updated version of Apple News that builds on its recent acquisition of Texture. But there’s always a chance it could sneak in some hardware announcements — like new iPads and those much-anticipated AirPods 2.

Here’s a quick roundup of all the latest AirPods 2 chatter. To be clear, all these rumors are unconfirmed and Apple doesn’t respond to questions about unannounced products, so take this all with a grain of salt.

Read more: Best fully wireless headphones

Rumored design updates

  • New colors: Some sites are claiming that the AirPods 2 will come in black and possibly other colors. Aside from that, the AirPods 2 will allegedly look nearly identical to the original AirPods.
  • New grippier finish: The new buds could have a new soft-touch coating with a subtle grip to it that helps the AirPods 2 stay in people’s ears more securely (see posts by MySmartPriceEconomic Daily News). This would be a key and welcome upgrade that seems too good to be true.

Rumored feature updates (likely)

  • Always-on voice-control: No need to double tap on a bud, just say “Hey, Siri” to activate Siri. There’s consensus among Apple watchers that this feature will be added and 9to5Mac recently discovered that iOS 12.2 includes ‘Hey Siri’ setup interface for the rumored AirPods 2.
  • Wireless charging: The long-awaited and already announced AirPods wireless charging case will almost assuredly be included with the AirPods 2 — possibly alongside the long-delayed AirPower charger.
  • Upgraded Bluetooth connectivity: As a report from Bloomberg suggested last year, Apple is expected to upgrade the new AirPods with a new W2 chip with Bluetooth 5.0 support. The current AirPods support Bluetooth 4.2.
  • Improved bass performance: Tweaks to the AirPods’ internal design will supposedly improve the bass (see MySmartPrice post). The lack of bass is a weakness with the current AirPods, so it wouldn’t be surprising for Apple to have engineered the next AirPods to sound a little better.
  • Better battery life: Some have suggested the wireless chip upgrades could mean the AirPods will be come more energy efficient and be able to eke out more battery life. I wouldn’t expect a big bump, but an extra hour or so would seem doable.
  • Improved water-resistance: That same Bloomberg report said Apple was looking to make the new AirPods more water-resistant. Apple doesn’t state exactly how water-resistant the current AirPods are, but plenty of people run with them (and sweat on them) without a problem already.
This accessory helps not only helps keep the current AirPods in your ears but it improves the AirPods bass performance.

David Carnoy/CNET

Rumored feature updates (less likely)

  • “Wellness” monitoring: It’s unclear just what these monitoring features might end up being — or what sensors Apple might add — but this rumor has been making the rounds ever since Apple was granted a patent in July of 2017 for future AirPods biometric sensors. The Jabra Elite Active 65t has a motion sensor for tracking fitness performance, but Apple’s biometric patents appear to be more sophisticated.
  • Noise control: One of the AirPod’s downsides is that their open design allows a lot of sound to leak in from the outside world, which has a major impact on sound quality in noisy environments. That aforementioned Bloomberg reportfrom last year also hinted the next-generation AirPods could feature some sort of noise-cancelling element. Now there’s talk of this feature appearing in the third-gen AirPods, which would also include better water-resistance and perhaps those biometric sensors. That model would potentially be larger and wouldn’t come out till 2020, according to speculation from respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Rumored pricing

MySmartPrice, which doesn’t have the greatest track record with rumors, reported that the AirPods 2 would cost more — around $200.

However, others suggest the AirPods 2 will costs $160 — or the same as the original AirPods. I personally think the price will remain the same. With all the new true wireless competitors out there, it would be a mistake for Apple to raise the price.

Latest AirPods 2 news and rumors

  • March 14: Taiwan-based Digitimes, which keeps tabs on companies that make components for Apple products, claims the AirPods 2 are set for mass production and will be unveiled at Apple’s March 25 event, according to its sources. Digitimes has been wrong in the past.
  • Feb. 12: Popular tech leaker @OnLeaks says that the AirPods 2 will launch this fall and come in new colors, according to a “new and yet unconfirmed but seemingly reliable source.” @OnLeaks predicts that Apple will launch the new AirPods wireless charging case “soon” but that it will ship with current AirPods, not upcoming AirPods 2.

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