Apple announces AirPods 2 with wireless charging case, better battery life and ‘Hey Siri’

After significant delays and months of hype, Apple AirPods are finally here. When Apple kicked the headphone jack to the curb in September in favor of wireless headsets, all eyes were on the change and futuristic-looking earpieces.

The Apple product surprises keep rolling out this week.

For the third day in a row, the iPhone maker quietly launched new gadgets ahead of a press event scheduled for Monday that will likely focus on the launch of its rumored streaming service.

The company announced Wednesday its next-generation wireless earbuds, AirPods 2. It features a wireless charging case, improved battery life and hands-free access to its Siri voice assistant.

The set will be available in two options: with a wireless charging case for $199 or with the normal standard case for $159 — the same price as the original AirPods.

The wireless charging case is also available for $79 for people with the original version of AirPods.

AirPods 2 feature Apple’s new H1 chip, which the company says gives better performance, faster connect times and up to 50% more talk time than the original AirPods. Users can also now say “Hey Siri” to activate the voice assistant, rather than tapping one of the ear buds.

AirPods 2 can be purchased online starting Wednesday and will hit Apple Stores next week.

On Tuesday, Apple unveiled a refresh to its iMac line. The new computers are faster and better at handling multi-tasking and graphics performance. The company started the week off by debuting new versions of the iPad Air and iPad mini, the first updates in many years.

But Apple has not revealed more information about its previously announced AirPower wireless charging mat. The company first teased the product when it launched the iPhone X in September 2017. AirPower can simultaneously charge an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods.

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