AirPods 2 to fast-charge wirelessly in just 15 minutes, will launch on March 25

Next-generation AirPods are just around the corner

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Apple has mailed out invitations for its next media event, which will be held on March 25 and is widely-tipped to see the Cupertino-based company unveil its long-rumoured Netflix rival. According to whispers from inside Apple, it will also seemingly see the launch of a second-generation pair of AirPods.

The wireless earbuds, which have not been updated since their initial launch in December 2016, will support wireless fast-charging for the first time, according to the latest report from serial leakster Max Weinbach.

Weinbach claims the second-generation Apple AirPods will be able to fully recharge in 15 minutes. If that's true, it will be a significant step-up from the current three-hour playback achieved with the same quarter of an hour charge time.

However, the addition of fast wireless charging is not all upsides. Support for the technology requires more coils, which will require a bigger, bulkier charging case, Weinbach warns. The AirPods 2 case is also likely to be heavier, too.

Weinbach claims there will be a matte finish to the case that will also ensure the next-generation Bluetooth earbuds feel substantially different from their predecessors. The coating will be similar to the one on the Apple Pencil 2.

Between the finish on the charging case and the new sizing to accommodate the wireless fast-charging, the Twitter-based tipster explains, "It will be a bit thicker so it will feel a bit different."

AirPods 2 will purportedly have always-listening Siri voice assistant functionality – so you'll no longer have to tap the earbud to summon the talkative AI as long as you start your query with the "Hey Siri" wake phrase.

Elsewhere, earlier rumours suggest Apple has been busy working to improve the audio quality of the earbuds, sources say. The new Bluetooth-powered earbuds should offer greater sound quality, including improved bass response without any visible tweaks to the exterior shape or dimensions.

Another seismic change coming to the second-generation AirPods is the addition of a brand-new colour. Yes, it's true. After more than a decade of only using its trademark white headphones to market the iPod range, and sticking with the same colour for its first-generation AirPods, it seems Apple is ready to change things up a little.

According to MySmartPrice, the next pair of AirPods will ship in black, which is likely to be called Space Grey if Apple's previous branding around the colour is anything to go by.

These updated models will ship with Bluetooth 5.0 instead of Bluetooth 4.2, which was uairposed for the original AirPods. Bluetooth 5.0 tends to offer improved battery life. 

Apple could launch the new AirPods as soon as March 29, according to some sources. As always, it's worth taking all of these rumours with a healthy pinch of salt.

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