Apple's New AirPods Are Here

Wireless charging cases, hands-free Siri, and a longer talk time.

Apple just announced the next generation of AirPods, those increasingly ubiquitous white, wireless earphones.

The other update is an optional wireless charging case you can use with a wireless charging pad.

The new AirPods with the wireless charging case are $199 (or $159 with a standard charging case). If you just want to get a standalone wireless charging case for your old AirPods, you can buy it for $79 too.

Oh, and you can summon Siri now just with your voice, so it's hands-free.

Previously, you had to tap one of the pods to activate the assistance. Now, you just say, "Hey Siri."

AirPods, the earphones that launched a million memes, came out in 2016, but didn't become a huge hit until recently.

Last holiday season, AirPods suddenly exploded and became a massive meme, and the hot status item for teenagers to own. When they first launched, most iPhone users still had a phone with a headphone jack, but by the end of 2018, more people had switched to a iPhone 7 or newer model, which had paved the way for wireless headphones, making AirPods actually useful.

I know these dogs have AirPods

The updated version has a new chip, which Apple says provides an extra hour of talk time and a faster connection.

me: person with airpods: what did you say i had my airpods on?

Notably absent from today's announcement: any mention of AirPower, the wireless charging mat Apple announced in September 2017 and hasn't yet shipped.

That said, today is the third day in a row in which Apple has unexpectedly announced a new product (Monday: new iPads; Tuesday: new iMacs), so the rumor mill is in high gear over an impending AirPower debut, especially since the new AirPods can charge wirelessly and as hinted at by some coding changes.

It's also worth noting that this string of announcements comes ahead of Apple's March 25 "It's show time" event, which is expected to see the unveiling of a new video service as well as a subscription news offering.

By doing this, they've extended the typical Apple event press cycle from 1 week to 2 weeks.

Apple's phone sales recently have declined as prices rose and people held onto their phones longer. This January, they posted a drop in revenue for the first time in years. In a letter to investors, CEO Tim Cook partially blamed tensions in trade with China – fueled by tariffs imposed by President Trump – for the company's slow quarter.

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