Apple is working on a new lineup of audio accessories for 2019, including an updated version of AirPods.
The next-generation version of AirPods, which are slated for a release sometime next year, could include several new features over its predecessor, sources familiar with Apple’s plans told Bloomberg.
Chiefly, Apple is working on adding water-resistance to its wireless ear-pods, though Bloomberg’s sources noted that the capability is meant to protect against rain and sweat, so the audio accessories won’t be swim-proof.
Additionally, the new 2019 AirPods could feature noise cancellation, as well as some type of biometric sensors. Bloomberg reported that Apple is “internally” discussing including a heart-rate monitor, a move that would add AirPods to its expanding health-related hardware lineup.
Presumably, the next-generation version of AirPods would include added capabilities from this year’s version of the wireless headphones. Previous reports suggest that the 2018 AirPods could feature a new wireless chip and hands-free Siri activation.
Interestingly, Bloomberg also notes that the new AirPods would likely cost more than current models. That could “push” Apple to segment the product lineup, perhaps by introducing different editions at separate price tiers.
AirPods have been a standout hit among consumers and critics since their release, becoming one of Apple’s best-selling and best-received products in recent memory.
In preparation for refreshed versions of the headphone lineup, Apple is reportedly tapping one of its primary supply chain partners, Foxconn, to help ramp up production of AirPods.
By giving Foxconn a large share of AirPods production responsibilities, Apple would lessen its reliance on smaller manufacturers like Inventec Corp. and Luxshare Precision Industry. Bloomberg points out that AirPods were delayed after their debut, and supply issues plagued the product’s initial release.
AirPods, as well as Apple’s other audio-based accessories, have been part of the company’s growing Other Products unit. That segment of Apple’s product lineup has helped offset slowing smartphones sales across the industry. Last year, Other Products generated about $12.9 billion in revenue.
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