For starters, the AirPods are now powered by a new Apple-designed H1 chip (replacing the previous W1), which enables hands-free “Hey Siri” activation for controlling music play back, and querying the digital assistant for actions like placing a phone call. The new H1 chip also provides up to a 50 percent boost talk time compared to the older AirPods. Switching music between devices (a la from an iPhone to an iPad) is now twice as fast as before.
As previously reported, the AirPods now are available with an optional Wireless Charging Case, which supports the Qi charging standard. So, the same wireless charging pad that you use to charge your iPhone 8, iPhone X, or iPhone XR can be used to charge your AirPods case instead of using a Lightning cable. Apple has also included a handy LED light on the front of the case that gives you glanceable access to the current charge status. However, we’re still waiting on Apple’s AirPower wireless charging mat that was first announced way back in 2017; it would allow you to charge AirPods, an Apple Watch and an iPhone simultaneously.
The second-generation AirPods with the standard charging case are available to order today from Apple.com, and keep the same $159 price tag. Opting for AirPods with the Wireless Charging Case will set you back $199. In addition, Apple is separately making the Wireless Charging Case available for first-generation AirPods users for $79.