New AirPods leak suggests Apple is scrabbling to match a very handy feature from a rival bud

Another iOS reveal shows us what the future holds for Apple earbud fans

Apple AirPods 2

Apple's new version of its AirPods – or at least the software behind them – appears to have leaked and they're going to make voice commands easier than ever. Rather than having to touch them to awake Siri, you'll be able to rouse him/here/it with just a word. This may be less sexy than the iPhone 11, but it could do more to boost usage of Apple's AI assistant. 

Interestingly, the somewhat smaller headphones brand Jabra has already announced (at CES 2019) that its true wireless buds will soon do this – and they'll be able to wake Alexa and Google Assistant with voice alone, too…

The rumour mill is up and running for Apple but it's not the iPhone 11 – or even Apple's potential move into over-ear, noise-cancelling headphones – that's getting all the limelight. The prospect of new AirPods is the internet to go all a-flutter. 

According to 9to5mac, which has dug into the iOS 12.2 beta code, we can expect new voice controls on the next generation of AirPods. The code suggests that the new AirPods will have built-in support for the 'Hey Siri!' voice command, making the much-beloved personal assistant with the sassy sense of humour, accessible with voice alone. That's right: there'll be no need to touch the buds with your mucky hands. The current generation of AirPods can't manage this level of voice control. 

This leak follows a previous report from Bloomberg which said that Apple was working on new AirPods that will feature a chip capable of "Hey Siri" support. Also mentioned was a high-end version of the AirPods that come with noise cancellation, water resistance and a better wireless range. 

To add even more fuel to this fire, DigiTimes has also report that Apple will release a new version of its AirPods with health-monitoring features built-in. 

Perhaps Apple will reveal the new earphones alongside the iPhone 11 in September.

Luke Edwards

Luke is a former freelance writer for T3 with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others Luke wrote about health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. In his free time, Luke used to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.