macOS is a mature operating system, even so macOS Catalina has a slew of new features including iPad apps on the Mac, the ability to use your iPad with your Mac with a new feature called SideCar, and changes to apps like Photos, Notes, and Safari.

Also covered is the the breakup of iTunes into three separate apps, Music, TV, and Podcasts. The iOS feature Screen Time to help you manage your time in front of all of your screens is now available on macOS. Notes, Photos, and Safari have all seen some changes which will be helpful to users.

macOS Catalina has made tremendous leaps forward for those who may not be able to use a mouse with the new Voice Control features which go way beyond

For Server Administrators we discuss the changes around the Volume Purchase Program (VPP) and Device Enrollment Program (DEP) and how they are being folded into Apple School Manager and Apple Business Manager. We also tackle the payload changes as well as a big change with the command line and even some changes to the Apple File System (APFS).

Developers will have some big changes with Swift 5 and the all new SwiftUI and Combine frameworks. We also look at the improvements to Xcode, Diffable Sources, Natural Language Framework, Notarization changes, and Core Data and CloudKit changes.

If you use macOS, there is something for you in macOS Catalina for Users, Administrators, and Developers.

AirPods

  • Apple “Far Out” Event Recap

    Apple “Far Out” Event Recap

    Today Apple has their “Far Out” event at Steve Jobs Theatre in Cupertino. There were three products covered, AirPods, Apple Watch, and iPhone. Let us look at each of these starting with AirPods.

    AirPods

    2nd Generation AirPods Pro in a case

    AirPods are a popular set of in-ear headphones that many people like to use. The AirPods Pro were last introduced in October of 2019 and today Apple introduced the 2nd generation AirPods Pro. The 2nd generation AirPods Pro has gained improved battery life with up to six hours of listening time on a single charge. This is up from 4.5 hours on the 1st generation AirPods Pro. The charging case also allows for up to 30 hours of total listening time. On the topic of the charging case that has seen some changes as well.

    The AirPods Pro charging case can now be charged via lightning, using MagSafe, or any Qi-compatible charger, including the Apple Watch charger. The 2nd generation AirPods Pro case also includes a lanyard, so you can easily attach them to items like a bag, purse, or any other item.

    AirPods Pro are still $249 and they will be available for pre-order on September 9th, and will be available starting on September 23rd. Next, let us look at the Apple Watch.

    Apple Watch

    The largest part of today’s event was spent on the Apple Watch. There were three new models introduced, the Apple Watch Series 8, the Apple Watch SE (2nd generation), and the all new Apple Watch Ultra. Let us look at all of them in turn, starting with the 2nd Generation Apple Watch SE.

    Apple Watch SE (2nd Generation)

    Apple Second generation Apple Watch SE
    Apple Second generation Apple Watch SE

    The new Apple Watch SE is a redesigned Apple Watch. It still has the 40mm or 44mm size as the previous version. It now has an S8 SIP. The S8 system-in-package includes some new features like Crash Detection, which can be used to automatically contact emergency services and your emergency contacts should you get into a crash while wearing the Apple Watch SE.

    There are variety of bands and styles, like the Solo Loop which comes in Sunglow, Succulent, Chalk Pink, Storm Blue, Midnight, and Starlight. There are Braided Solo Loops in Rainforest, Slate Blue, Beige, Midnight, Black Unity, Pride Edition, and (PRODUCT)RED. A Slew of Sport Bands, Sport Loops, and Nike Editions.

    The Apple Watch SE also has a slightly lower price at $249 for the 40mm and $279 for the 44mm version. This is in comparison to its previous $279 price tag for the 40mm and $309 for the 44mm. The GPS + Cellular models are $299 for the 40mm, and $349 for the 44mm version. You can order the 2nd generation Apple Watch SE today in one of three colors, Midnight, Starlight, and Silver. It will begin delivering on September 16th.

    Now, onto the Apple Watch Series 8.

    Apple Watch Series 8

    Apple Watch Series 8 in Midnight

    The Apple Watch Series 8 is an improvement over the Apple Watch Series 7 in a variety of ways. It still has the same 41mm and 45mm case options. The Apple Watch Series 8 has the same S8 SIP as the 2nd generation Apple Watch SE, which means that it has the same Crash Detection feature.

    There is a new “Low Power Mode” on the Apple Watch Series 8. This can increase the battery life up to 36 hours from a full charge, when an iPhone is paired with the Apple Watch. This can be toggled on and off in the Control Center on the Apple Watch. When you enable Low Power Mode it will disable auto-workout detection, the Always-On display, and heart health notifications, amongst other items. You can This feature is available on all Apple Watches from Series 4 and later with watchOS 9.

    The Apple Watch Series 8 also brings a new sensor, this time it is a temperature sensor. To quote Apple’s press release:

    “Apple Watch Series 8 takes a unique approach to temperature sensing with a two-sensor design — one sensor on the back of the watch, nearest the skin, and another just under the display — reducing bias from the outside environment. Nighttime wrist temperature can be a good indicator of overall body temperature. The sensors in Apple Watch Series 8 sample the wrist temperature during sleep every five seconds and measure changes as small as 0.1° C. In the Health app, users can see nightly shifts in baseline temperature, which can be caused by exercise, jet lag, or even illness.”

    The temperature sensor was designed for use for women’s health, specifically this is designed to allow women to keep a record of retrospective ovulation estimates, which can be useful in family planning. Along with this temperature sensing also enables improved period predictions.

    Beyond family planning, iOS 16 and watchOS 9 also add additional features for Cycle Tracking. Now users can receive notifications if their logged cycle history shows any deviations, like irregular, prolonged, or spotty periods. Thees can be symptoms of an underlying health condition, which can be discussed with a woman’s physician.

    As mentioned above, the Apple Watch Series 8 comes in two sizes, the 41mm and 45mm versions. You can choose from an aluminum case or a stainless steel case. The aluminum case comes in Starlight, Midnight, Silver, and (PRODUCT)RED. Pricing for the Aluminum is $399 for the 41mm GPS, $429 for the 45mm GPS, $499 for the 41mm GPS + Cellular, and $529 for the 45mm GPS + Cellular.

    The Stainless Steel colors are Silver Graphite and Gold. The Stainless Steel are GPS + Cellular models. The 41mm is $699, and the 45mm GPS model is $749.

    One thing to note is that there are no longer “Nike Editions” of the Apple Watch. There are still Nike Bands, but now you can use the Nike Watch faces on any of the Apple Watches. This is a big change from previous Apple Watches.

    The Apple Watch Series 8 is available to order today and will be available starting September 16th. Now, onto the Apple Watch Ultra.

    Apple Watch Ultra

    The Apple Watch Ultra is a brand new model designed for extreme conditions, and its design is meant for this. The Apple Watch Ultra sports a 49mm watch face, which is 8.8% larger than the 45mm and 17% larger than the 41mm model. The screen is enclosed by the case of the Apple Watch to help protect it against damage when hit against surfaces. Beyond encasing the screen with the case of the Apple Watch, the case material is Titanium which should also help with protecting the Apple Watch Ultra.

    Apple Watch Ultra with Action Button
    Apple Watch Ultra with Action Button

    The Apple Watch Ultra has the side button and Digital Crown, but it also includes a new Action button. The Action button can be configured to allow you to easily perform a quick action by clicking the Action button. The actions available can be customized in the Apple Watch Ultra’s settings.

    The Apple Watch Ultra is designed for extreme sports, like ultra marathons, diving, hiking, and more. Since it was designed to be used in a variety of environments the screen is brighter, up to 2000 nits. There is a “Night mode”, which will remove any harsh lights and change the color to be a Red to make it easier for you.

    Since it is possible that you will be out in extreme environments, if you do need help there is an 86-decibel alarm that you can enable that will travel up to 600 feet, or 180 meters, so others can help find you. There is a new Compass app that will allow you to mark waypoints so you can try and find your way back.

    Apple Watch Ultra with side button and digital crown
    Apple Watch Ultra with side button and digital crown

    The larger screen on the Apple Watch Ultra allows for up to 36 hours of battery life while in full workout, or up to 60 hours with low power mode. This is very helpful if you do not have a charger with you, or if you are in an area where you cannot charge the Apple Watch.

    Watch Bands

    Apple Watch Ultra Bands
    Apple Watch Ultra Bands

    There are three different watch bands designed with the Apple Watch Ultra in mind. These are Alpine Loop, Trail Loop, Ocean Band. The Alpine Loop comes in three different colors, Orange, Starlight, and Green. The Trail Loop comes in Yellow/Beige, Blue/Gray, and Black/Gray. The Ocean band comes in Yellow, White, and Midnight. There are also some bands that you find on the other Apple Watch models, like the Solo Loop, the Braided Solo Loop, Sport Band, and Sport Loop. The Alpine Loop, Trail Loop, and Ocean band are each $99.

    The Apple Watch Ultra is available for order today for $799, and will be available beginning on September 23rd. Now, onto the iPhone

    iPhone

    Apple introduced four new iPhone 14 models today. The iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max, as predicted there is no iPhone mini model. Let us look at each of the pairings, starting with iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. There are two physical sizes for devices, either 6.1-inch or a 6.7-inch screen. The entire iPhone 14 line up has some commonalities. This includes some camera improvements, Crash Detection, changes to Emergency SOS, and a change to SIM cards.

    SIM Card Changes

    There is a big change across all of the iPhone 14 models, at least in the United States. There are no longer any physical SIM slots. All devices will now have eSim. This means that you will need to transfer your number from your physical SIM to an eSim.

    Action Mode

    All of the iPhone 14 devices have new camera sensors, which will be discussed in each section, but one of the common items is a new feature called “Action Mode”. Action Mode is designed to allow you to be right in the action and still have stabilized photos and videos, without any third-party accessory, like a Gimbal stand for stabilization. This means that you can keep up with the action and have the video come out stabilized.

    Photonic Engine

    iPhone 14 Pro takes computational photography even further with Photonic Engine, offering a giant leap for mid- to low-light performance in photos across all cameras through a deep integration of hardware and software: up to 2x on the Main camera, up to 3x on the Ultra Wide camera, up to 2x on the Telephoto camera, and up to 2x on the TrueDepth camera. Photonic Engine enables this dramatic increase in quality by applying Deep Fusion earlier in the imaging process to deliver extraordinary detail, and preserve subtle textures, provide better color, and maintain more information in a photo.

    Crash Detection

    Mentioned in the Apple Watch section is the Crash Detection. The iPhone 14 line also supports Crash Detection and can contact emergency services, if you do not cancel it in within 10 seconds.

    Emergency SOS

    There may be times when you are outside of cellular cover and you may need some emergency services. There is a new service called “Emergency SOS via Satellite”. This function will allow your iPhone 14 to connect to a satellite and contact emergency services via text message. The iPhone 14 will help you align your iPhone with the satellite to be able to connect. This feature will be free for two years when you buy an iPhone 14 device. There is no indication of how much it will cost after the first two years. This will be available starting in November.

    Emergency SOS via Satellite on iPhone 14
    Emergency SOS via Satellite on iPhone 14

    Now, let us look at the iPhone 14 devices.

    iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus

    iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus arranged in a semi-circle
    iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus arranged in a semi-circle

    The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are the non-pro models of the iPhone 14. The iPhone 14 has a 6.1-inch screen, while the iPhone 14 Plus has a 6.7-inch screen. The iPhone 14 Plus is a new model and matches the same 6.7-inch screen size as the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus have a 4 nanometer A15 Bionic processor. This is a slightly improved A15 Bionic that provides even better efficiency which results in better battery life.

    The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus have a total of three cameras, the front True Depth camera system, a 12MP Main Camera, and an Ultra Wide camera.The new camera has a larger ƒ/1.5 aperture and 1.9 µm pixels. This enables photo and video improvements in all lighting scenarios. The new front TrueDepth camera features an ƒ/1.9 aperture that now includes autofocus. This means that it can focus even faster than before, including with groups of people and it can make sure each one is focus.

    The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus come in five colors, Midnight, Purple, Starlight, PRODUCT(RED), and Blue. They come in storage sizes of 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. The iPhone 14 pricing is $799 for 128GB, $899 for 256GB, and $1099 for 512GB. The iPhone 14 Plus is $100 more, so it is $899 for 128GB, $999 for 256GB, and $1199 for 512GB. You can pre-order an iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Plus on Friday, September 9th. The iPhone 14 will begin delivering September 16th, and the iPhone 14 Plus will begin delivering on October 7th.

    iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max

    iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max in Deep Purple
    iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max in Deep Purple

    The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have the same screen size as the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max at 6.1-inches for the iPhone 14 Pro and 6.7-inches for the iPhone 14 Pro Max.This chip features a new 6-core CPU with an accelerated 5-core GPU. The GPU has 50 percent more memory bandwidth, which will make graphic intensive apps and games that much better. The new 16-core Neural Engine provides up to 17 trillion operations per second, which is great with the new Photonic Engine.

    There is a new camera system for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. This system includes a 12MP Ultra Wide camera with 1.4 µm pixels, which delivers sharper images with more detail. The telephoto lens has an improved 3x optical zoom capability. The True Depth camera on the front is just like the one on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus and comes with an ƒ/1.9 aperture that, according to Apple, enables better low-light performance for photos and video. The new camera system also allows for a new Cinematic mode, which is 4K at 24 frames per second, which is the standard for many films. This is in addition to the existing 4K at 30 frames per second. There is one last big feature with the Main camera.

    The Main camera is a new 48 Megapixel sensor with quad-pixel grouping. This means that each of the pixels is groups of four, which provides more light in low-light situations. Along with this, the 48 Megapixel sensor, with quad-pixel grouping, results in the standard 12 Megapixel images, with more details, and is optimized for professional workflows. The quad-pixel sensor also allows for a new 2x zoom, which will take a 12-megapixel image with the pixels that are in the center of the sensor. This results in a full 4K image with no digital zoom.

    The iPhone 14 Pro Max has a completely new feature for the screen, an Always-On display. The Always-On display is similar to that on the Apple Watch, in that it can reduce the refresh rate down to 1Hz. This will be fantastic when you do not need the information on the screen to refresh that often. The screen is one of the biggest uses of battery on an iPhone, so being able to reduce it down to 1Hz should allow you to improved battery life.

    The TrueDepth camera location has changed slightly, to be right inline with the status bar at the top of the screen, including screen around the sensor. This new sensor area is call the “Dynamic Island”. This area will dynamically change depending on usage. Things like notifications will adjust and appear out of the Dynamic Island. You can tap on a notification and interact with it. Similarly, the Face ID popup will appear around the Dynamic Island. If you have multiple items that could use attention, one of the items will be off to the right, so you can interact with it as necessary.

    Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
    Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max

    The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max come in four colors, Space Black, Silver, Gold, and Deep Purple. They also come in four different sizes, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. The iPhone 14 costs $999 for 128GB, $1099 for 256GB, $1299 for 512GB, and $1499 for the 1TB. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is $100 more for each, meaning $1099 for 128GB, $1199 for 256GB, $1399 for 512GB, and $1599 for the 1TB model. You can pre-order iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max on Friday September 9th, with delivery starting on on September 16th.

    Closing Thoughts

    Today’s event was packed at just over 90 minutes. 40 minutes was dedicated to the Apple Watch, another 40 minutes to the iPhone, and the last 10 minutes to the AirPods Pro. The Apple Watch models are available for order today, with the AirPods Pro and iPhone 14 line of phones being available for pre-order this Friday, September 9th.

    Sources

    Apple Watch Ultra
    iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus
    iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
    AirPods Pro
    Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE (2nd Generation)

  • A Review of the 3rd Generation AirPods

    A Review of the 3rd Generation AirPods

    Today’s modern society provides a ton of different ways to be stimulated. Some of the types of things that can occupy your time can include books, podcasts, music, movies, and games. Each of these can be experienced in a variety of ways. All of them can be done using a television, an iPhone, an iPad, or a gaming console. It is quite possibly that while you are using one of these that you could be using a pair of headphones.

    Headphones allow you to enjoy your media without interrupting anyone else. Headphones come a number of different styles. There are over ear, on ear, and in-ear headphones. The type that you use depends on the style that the manufacture has chosen to provide them in. Apple has headphones that are in each of the various styles. The type that you are using depends on your current situation and which ones you own. The most commonly purchased type of headphones are in-ear headphones. The latest in-ear headphones offered by Apple are the 3rd generation AirPods, which we will get to shortly. But first, let us look a brief history of all of Apple’s in-ear headphones.


    Brief History of Apple’s In-Ear Headphones

    Headphones are not a new market for Apple. In fact Apple has been making headphones for devices for twenty years, when they introduced of the original iPod in October of 2001. Since then Apple has created its own headphones steadily over the intervening years. Some of these are wired, and others have been wireless. The wired models include Apple earbuds, iPod In-Ear Headphones, Apple Earphones with Remote Mic, iPhone stereo headset, and EarPods. The wireless models have included iPhone Stereo Headset, Beats Studio Buds, PowerBeats, and PowerBeats Pro, and AirPods, including AirPods Pro.

    Each model of the Apple-branded headphones has provided its own enhancements, from the original rounded earphones that were introduced with the original iPod. The first improvement was with the iPhone Stereo Headset. This was meant to be used with the iPhone and included a microphone and a single button that could be used to control a variety of actions.

    The next change was the Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic. These were introduced in 2009 alongside the iPhone 3G. This improved on the previous headphones by adding two additional buttons, a volume up and volume down button. These headphones made it a much better experience when it came to using your iPhone, iPod touch, or even traditional iPod. 

    In 2012 Apple revamped the headphones again with the EarPods. The EarPods still had the same three buttons as the Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic, but the shape of the EarPods was a custom shape. In order to create this Apple scanned hundreds of different ears to try and find a commonality between them. This commonality allowed them to create a shape that would fit the largest number of ears. As the introduction video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44xXQI9b9vI) states, “EarPods are intentionally designed to direct sound into the ear canal”, without providing a seal like other in-ear headphones do, and yet, they were designed to fit comfortably. 

    The next change of headphones built on the design of the EarPods, but completely removed the wires, which they  called the AirPods. 


    AirPods

    AirPods are a wireless version of the EarPods. When introduced in December of 2016, they were not universally praised. Upon first seeing them many people criticized others for getting them. These critics stated that AirPods looked like “tiny toothbrushes”, “tampons”, or “ear cigarettes”. Some even stated that it took “courage” to wear them in public. I know I was ridiculed when I was wearing them, but I have been made fun of quite a bit in my life for various things, and this was just another instance of that occurring. 

    Without the wires, the controls need to be different. Actions can be performed by tapping on the device while in the ear itself. With two individual AirPods you can set an action for each ear. These actions can include:

    • Play/Pause
    • Siri
    • Next Track
    • Previous Track
    • Off

    As mentioned, the AirPods are wireless. This means that they need some sort of way to charge. The AirPods charge via their companion case. The first generation AirPods would have a listening time of 5 hours and up to 24 hours of charging time. The AirPods were introduced at $159 for a pair.


    2nd Generation AirPods

    2nd Generation AirPods with case open
    2nd Generation AirPods with case open

    The second generation AirPods were released in March of 2019. The 2nd generation kept the same shape, but added a couple of features. The biggest of these was support for “Hey Siri”, so you can Ask Siri to do something for you or request any information, or action, that Siri can provide.. The second feature is support for announcing messages. With this feature most messages can be read to you and you can even reply to messages all without touching your iPhone.

    The 2nd Generation AirPods also added an additional option, wireless charging. This was done through a Qi-compatible wireless charging case. The AirPods could either be purchased with the case or the case could be purchased separately. If you purchased wireless charging case separately, it would cost you $79. The AirPods with lightning charging case cost the same amount as the 1st genertation, $159. The AirPods with wireless charging case cost $199. The price has since been reduced to $129 for the AirPods with lightning charging case.


    AirPods Pro

    AirPods Pro
    AirPods Pro

    The 2nd Generation AirPods were not the only AirPods to be introduced. In fact, approximately seven months after the introduction of the 2nd Generation AirPods, October 30th, 2019 to be exact, Apple introduced the AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro took the features from the 2nd generation AirPods and enhanced them even further.

    The AirPods Pro mostly kept the same iconic EarPods/AirPods shape, but expanded it to include silicone tips. These tips allowed the headphones to be inserted into the ear canal. This would create a seal that provided a new feature, noise cancellation. Noise Cancellation actually works by introducing a second sound wave that cancels out the background noise so that it seems like there is no other audio except the audio you actually want to hear.

    Along with Noise Cancellation there comes another feature called Transparency Mode. Transparency Mode is the opposite of Noise Cancellation in that it amplifies the background noise so you can hear everything else that is happening around you. This is a good option if you need to be able to hear things, like traffic, but still want to be able to hear your audio.

    The AirPods Pro also added support for a new feature called Spatial Audio. Spatial Audio is a technique that, according to Apple, “brings theater-like sound from the movie or video you’re watching, so that sound seems like it’s coming from all around you”. Spatial Audio will be discussed in-depth in a bit.

    To account for the different shape of the AirPods Pro devices themselves, the case that comes with the AirPods Pro also had a different shape. This case is much wider but also shorter. Because of the advanced features, the AirPods Pro have a slightly higher price of $249. Beyond the features already discussed you did get a Qi-compatible wireless charging case included automatically.

    At their October 2021 “Unleashed” event, Apple introduced the next version of AirPods, the 3rd generation AirPods. Let us look at these next.


    3rd Generation AirPods

    3rd Generation AirPods with case open
    3rd Generation AirPods with case open

    The 3rd generation AirPods take some cues from both the AirPods, as well as the AirPods Pro, to create a more distinct  hybrid product from the two. The case for the 3rd generation AirPods has the same general shape as the AirPods Pro. Similarly, the shape of the actual AirPod is similar between the two, with the 3rd generation AirPod being a bit smaller, since they do not have the silicone in-ear tips. Furthermore, since the width is smaller, the weight of each AirPod is less, as is the overall weight of the AirPods with the case.

    There is one feature that needs to be highlighted specifically, Spatial Audio with Head Tracking.


    Spatial Audio with Head Tracking

    Spatial Audio with Head Tracking is a feature that is on the AirPods Pro, as well as the 3rd generation AirPods. Spatial Audio will automatically adjust the audio that you are listening to in a way that simulates the audio being all around you. This is much akin to the way that a surround sound system works when watching a movie, provided the speakers are placed properly around where you are seated.

    The idea with Spatial Audio is to simulate the audio as though it is coming directly from the device. Therefore, Spatial Audio with Head Tracking will automatically adjust the sound to the movement of your head, in relation to the device. if you move your head to point left, the audio will move more of the audio to the right AirPod, similarly, if you move your head to the right, the sound will move more toward the left AirPod. 

    There are actually three different modes for Spatial Audio, these are:

    • Stereo
    • Fixed
    • Head Tracking

    “Stereo” is the same experience that you would get with 2nd generation AirPods, or any other non-Spatial Audio enabled headset. 

    The “Fixed” option provides Spatial Audio, but without the head tracking. This means that if you have an audio item with Dolby Atmos you will get the Spatial Audio, but the sound will not move as you move your head. This is good if you want to be able to hear the Spatial Audio but need to do something else at the same time.


    Changing Output

    When you connect your 3rd generation AirPods to your device, Spatial Audio with Head Tracking will be enabled by default. However, you do not need to always keep Spatial Audio on. You can turn it off when you want through Control Center. This is done by performing the following steps:

    1. Swipe down from the top, or bottom, of the screen to bring up Control Center.
    2. Tap and hold on the volume slider
    3. At the bottom of the screen, tap on the “Spatial Audio” button to bring up the various options.
    4. Tap on the preferred option.

    It definitely needs to be mentioned that not every piece of audio will support Spatial Audio with Head Tracking. The audio must be mastered for Dolby Atmos. If it is not mastered for Dolby Atmos, you will only get the stereo sound option.


    Dolby Atmos on Beats vs. AirPods

    The 3rd generation AirPods are not the only headphones that support Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio. In fact, there are a number of headphones that do. The complete list includes:

    • AirPods Pro
    • AirPods Max
    • BeatsX
    • Beats Solo3 Wireless
    • Beats Studio3
    • Powerbeats3 Wireless
    • Beats Flex
    • Powerbeats Pro
    • Beats Solo Pro
    • Beats Studio Buds

    I have actually had access to Dolby Atmos since it was introduced with Apple Music back in June of 2021, through my Beats Solo Pros. Spatial Audio on the Beats Solo Pros does indeed provide spatial audio, however, The Beats Solo Pros do not support the Head Tracking feature. Instead, when using the Beats Solo Pros with Spatial Audio, it is like using the “fixed” setting.

    The 3rd Generation AirPods have the best of both. The Head Tracking but you can still turn it off if you do not want to use it, but it is also there when you want to have the full experience.

    For me, I’m not sure how useful Spatial Audio with Head Tracking is when it comes to music. Spatial Audio in a fixed context is fine, but having the audio move when you’re listening to music seems like overkill. The only instance when it might make sense is if you are listening to a live concert and you want to simulate actually being there while you go on throughout your day. Then it might make sense because it might seem like you are there. The problem with this is that it is not likely that any live concerts will be mastered for Spatial Audio, so this is not all that likely to occur.

    Spatial Audio with Head Tracking makes a bit more sense when it comes to movies or possibly TV shows. Having the audio change when you move your head makes a lot more sense if you really want to immerse yourself in the media you are consuming. Of course the biggest downside is that spatial audio only works with Apple TV content, whether purchased or not. As far as I can tell there are no third-party streaming services that support spatial audio while playing media except for Apple TV+, and even then, not all content.


    2nd Generation vs. 3rd Generation

    2nd Gen and 3rd Gen AirPod cases side by side
    2nd Generation AirPods case compared to 3rd Generation AirPods case

    I have owned a number of different pairs of Apple’s in-ear headphones. The most recent type of in-ear headphones were the 2nd generation AirPods. Coming from the 2nd generation AirPods, there are some distinct differences as compared to the 3rd generation AirPods. There are two topics to cover, the fit, and force pressing compared to tapping. Let us start the fit.


    Comparing Fit

    The overall shape of the 2nd generation and 3rd generation AirPods are similar, but the 3rd generation AirPods are designed to put the sound more directly into the ear canal than even the 2nd generation; provided that your ears can fit the newer shape of the 3rd generation AirPods. 

    Even though the 3rd generation AirPods do indeed it in my ears, they do not sit as comfortably as the 2nd generation. The 2nd generation AirPods seem to just have an overall better fit where they rest easily on my ears. Meanwhile, the 3rd generation AirPods tend to stick out a bit more. The 3rd generation still fit in my ears, just not as well. As a tip, be sure to twist them forward after you have put them in your ears, this should help them fitting. 

    Your experience may vary though, depending on the shape of your ears. The fit it not the only thing that will take some time to adjust to, the controls might take some time to get accustom to as well.


    Adjusting to Force Press from Tapping

    The AirPods are small and they do not have a large surface area. Because of this AirPods are only able to support a limited set of controls. As mentioned earlier, with the 2nd generation AirPods you can only have one action that you can set. You can set one action for each AirPod. The available actions include:

    • Play/Pause
    • Next Track
    • Previous Track
    • Siri

    The 3rd generation AIrPods allow you to perform the same functions, but in a different manner. Instead of tapping you can perform presses on either of the two stems of the AirPods. The actions that you can perform are the same:

    • Play/Pause – Press Once
    • Next Track – Press Twice
    • Previous Track – Press Three times
    • Siri – Press and hold

    Having used AirPod since they were introduced in 2016, I have become quite accustomed to tapping on the AirPod in order to perform an action, so I have to keep reminding myself that I have to press on the smaller stem of the AirPod to perform any action. It is not like I do not have to press on headphones to perform an action. They exact same actions work on my Beats Solo Pros, so it is not like the actions are unfamiliar to me. I think the issue is that the stems are much smaller, so it takes a bit longer to actually perform an action, due to the smaller surface area. I am sure that I will eventually get used to it, but for now, it is still a bit cumbersome to adjust to.


    Find My

    AirPods are small and it is entirely possible that they could fall out while you are using them and they may become lost. This may not be outside of your house, but it is entirely possible that you might lose one. There is an option to be able to find any lost AirPods via the “Find My” network. This is enabled by default on your 3rd generation AirPods. 

    If you do manage to lose your AirPods, you can use the Find My app to try and find your AirPods. The Find My is similar to other Find My where it starts to find the AirPods in a general manner and as you get closer the color will change to indicate that you are getting closer to the AirPod. 

    The difference with the 3rd generation AirPods is that you can individually locate each AirPod. This can be very helpful should you only manage to misplace a single AirPod. Beyond attempting to locate your AirPods you can also play a sound so that you can more easily locate them.

    The inclusion of Find My should be quite helpful for those instances when you accidentally misplace an AirPod, no matter where it may happen to be located. There is one last item to cover about the 3rd generation AirPods, the charging case.


    Case

    3rd Generation AirPods Case
    3rd Generation AirPods Case

    AirPods are wireless, necessitating placing them in the case when they charge. I normally charge my AirPods on a Space Gray iPhone Lightning Dock. With the 1st and 2nd generation AirPods I could easily open the case and use one hand to place each of the AirPods into the case. However, with the 3rd generation in order to place the headphones in the case, for me anyway, requires two hands. For me, I need one hand to hold the case and the other to actually place the AirPods in the case. 

    I suspect that the shorter stems are the issue. The longer stems on 1st and 2nd generation AirPods allowed the AirPods to be drawn into case because the magnets on the bottom of the stems, in combination of the magnets in the bottom of the case, helping pull the AirPods into the case.

    Whenever I try to use one hand to place the 3rd generation AirPods into the case, the AirPod is drawn to the top of the case where the magnet to hold the case closed instead of the bottom. My guess is that this is happening because the magnets in the front of the AirPods case are stronger and the AirPod is attracted to closest magnet. 

    In the grand scheme of things, this is not a big problem, but it is something to be aware of, because it may be problematic for someone who has mobility issues.

    On the topic of magnets, we need to cover a feature that involves magnets. That feature is MagSafe.


    MagSafe

    3rd Generation AirPods on MagSafe charger
    3rd Generation AirPods on MagSafe charger

    As stated earlier, at the same time the 2nd generation AirPods were introduced, another accessory was also released, a wireless charging case. If you opted for a wireless charging case, it would either cost your $199 for the 2nd Generation AirPods with the wireless charging case, or you could buy the wireless charging case on its own for $80. While this was optional with the 2nd generation AirPods, there is a wireless charging case included with the 3rd generation AirPods.

    The 3rd generation comes with a wireless charging case, just like the AirPods Pro do. There is one additional enhancement with the 3rd generation case that was not on the 2nd generation wireless case, and that feature is MagSafe compatibility.

    MagSafe is Apple’s Qi-compatible charger that adds some of Apple’s own proprietary features. It is not that the 2nd generation wireless charging case would not work with a MagSafe charger, it definitely will. The MagSafe aspect comes into play when it comes to placing the AirPods case on the MagSafe charger. 

    Typically, when you place any Qi-compatible charger it is quite possible that you might misalign the device with the actual charging area. When this happens it might result in the device not actually charging, even though you think it is charging. One of the features of MagSafe is that you do not need to necessarily worry about exact placement of the MagSafe-compatible device. This is because there are a bunch of very tiny magnets in the MagSafe-compatible device. These numerous magnets will automatically align the device with the MagSafe charger so that you will always be sure that the device will charge.

    The magnets in the 3rd generation charging case are definitely stronger than any of them in the 2nd generation AirPods. This can be easily noticed by placing the 3rd generation AirPods on a MagSafe charger and picking up the charger with the AirPods case and having the MagSafe charging puck be lifted up as well. 

    Having wireless charging in the 3rd generation AirPods automatically will make it much easier for everybody, even if you do not charge your AirPods case wirelessly, there may be an instance when you need to do so and having it available will allow you to not have to worry about it, and be able to charge.


    Lightning

    3rd Generation AirPods USB-C to Lightning Cable
    3rd Generation AirPods USB-C to Lightning Cable

    The 3rd generation AirPods case needs to be charged, and if you do not charge it wirelessly you will need to plug in the charging case. All of the AirPods that require charging come equipped with a lighting cable. With past models this would have been a USB-A to Lightning cable. However, with the 3rd generation AirPods this is now a USB-C to lightning cable. 

    In most cases this is not a problem, because if you have an existing pair of AirPods and use a lightning cable, you can continue to use it. However, it does need to be noted because if you do not have another lightning cable you will need a USB-C charging brick, because one is not included in the box.


    Closing Thoughts

    If you have a pair of AirPods Pro, then the 3rd generation AirPods do not make a lot of sense for you. This is because the AirPods Pro actually have two additional features, Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode, to be exact.

    A good way to think about the 3rd generation AirPods is that they are like the iPad mini, but for AirPods. They have many of the same features of the more expensive AirPods, but they are not the top of the line, but they are still very capable and a great overall choice.

    If you do opt to get a pair of 3rd generation AirPods you will get support for Spatial Audio, up to six hours of battery life on a single charge, and even an IPX4 water and sweat resistance rating. If you do decide to get a pair of AirPods, it is possible that they might not fit as snugly as the 2nd generation AirPods, but they may be a better overall choice for you in the end.

    These are a great choice if you are looking to get something for someone for the holidays, or even just for yourself.

  • Apple Announces Changes to Apple Music Service

    Apple Announces Changes to Apple Music Service

    Today Apple announced that a new music service will be coming to the Apple ecosystem in June, one that provides a couple of new features. These features are Spatial Audio and Lossless encoding.

    Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos

    The way that recorded audio sounds is dependent on a number of factors. For most of the last century the primary factor has been the source of the audio. Typically, the more speakers, the better sound can be handled between all of the speakers and the more immersive and realistic it can sound. However, Apple developed a feature called “Spatial Audio”. Spatial Audio can computationally change the audio coming out of an iOS device so that it seems more life-like.

    According to Apple, “By default, Apple Music will automatically play Dolby Atmos tracks on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as the built-in speakers in the latest versions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac.”

    This means that if you have some modern Apple headphones, you will be able to take advantage of Spatial Audio, when it is available. In terms of availability, not all tracks in Apple Music will support Spatial Audio. Initially, “[t] housands of tracks will be available in Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos at launch, with more added regularly.”

    Apple has announced some of the artists that will have Spatial Audio. Some of the artists include:

    •  J Balvin
    • Gustavo Dudamel
    • Ariana Grande
    • Maroon 5
    • Kacey Musgraves
    • The Weeknd

    Apple will be curating a set of playlists that include tracks that support Spatial Audio so people can know which tracks will support the feature. Spatial Audio is not the only thing being added, there is also a new Hi-Resolution Lossless audio option coming.

    Lossless Audio

    Most music that you listen to is compressed. This means that not all of the fidelity of the audio is within the file. This is generally needed to preserve space, this was particularly true in the early days of the modern internet when bandwidth was limited to 56kbps, or in most cases, less. In order to be able to get your music, you would need to wait to download the song. At the time it could easily take 5 or 10 minutes to download a song. In order to make the downloads as quick as possible, compression was needed.

    Imagine having to download a 100 megabyte file at 56 kilobits per second. It would easily take days to finish downloading the entire fire. For many, internet speeds have improved and we can now download 100 megabyte in a matter of moments, even while connected only to cellular data.

    All audio needs a codec, and Apple will be using the Apple Lossless Audio Codec, or ALAC. Lossless audio will come to all 75 million songs on Apple Music. You will be able to specify the quality of music that is streamed, or downloaded, separately for Wi-Fi and Cellular. You will have a few options. These will be:

    • CD Quality – 16 bit at 44.1 kHz (kilohertz)
    • High Quality – 24 bit at 48 kHz
    • Lossless – 24 bit at 192 kHz.

    This will all be customizable within by going to Settings > Music > Audio Quality on your iOS devices. Per Apple’s press release:

    Due to the large file sizes and bandwidth needed for Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless Audio, subscribers will need to opt in to the experience. Hi-Res Lossless also requires external equipment, such as a USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC).”

    The requirement for a digital-to-analog converter will mean that not everyone will be able to listen to the Hi-Res lossless audio, but for those who will invest in the equipment, it should be a good upgrade to their audio fidelity.

    Pricing

    You might be curious as to the price for this service. It would not be unreasonable to expect an additional tier of music to be created. However, the price remains the same at $9.99 for an individual subscription, and $14.99 for a family subscription. This will also apply to those who have an Apple One subscription. So, if you subscribe to Apple Music today, you will get this new service for free.

    The new higher quality Apple Music service, including both Spatial Audio and Lossless, will be released in June with iOS 14.6.

    Closing Thoughts

    Overall, I think both of these will be a great addition. More people will be able to hear the Spatial Audio tracks as compared to the number of people who will be listening to the Hi-Res lossless tracks. The best part is that it is not going to cost any extra to get these features.

    Source: Apple

  • Apple Introduces AirPods Max

    Apple Introduces AirPods Max

    Today Apple introduced a new item in the AirPods line, the AirPods Max. The AirPods Max are a pair of over the head AirPod, think of the Beats Solo Solo Pro, but in the AirPods line.

    The AirPods Max are made with a mesh knit headband which Apple says “is made to distribute weight and reduce on-head pressure”. The ear cups have “A custom-designed mesh textile wraps the ear cushions to provide pillow-like softness while listening.”

    The AirPods Max integrate the features of the AirPods and AirPods Pro, starting with the easy setup. Once setup you will be able to use Spatial Audio to listen to media that will follow you as you turn your head. This is all powered by two Apple’s H1 chips, with a chip in each ear cup. The AirPods Max also include additional features like support for Siri, Transparency Mode, Noise Cancellation Mode, Play/Pause, Skip Tracks, and answering or ending phone calls. This is all handled by the Digital Crown, which is on one of the ear cups.

    If you are using the AirPods Max, you will get “up to 20 hours of high-fidelity audio, talk time, or movie playback with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled.” The AirPods Max come with a soft case and when they are placed in the case they will enter into an “ultra low power mode” in order to preserve battery life. When you do need to charge, you will be able to do so via a lightning cable. A 5 minute charge should provide an additional 1.5 hours of listening time.

    The AirPods Pro Max comes in five colors, Silver, Space Gray, Sky Blue, Green, and Pink. They are not cheap. They are $549 and you can add two years of Apple Care for $59. The AirPods Max are available to order today and will begin delivering December 15th.

    As of this writing, only the AirPods Max in Silver are available for delivery for the week of December 15th. The Space Gray have a delivery of December 31st. The Pink have a 10 to 12 week window, and the Green and Sky Blue have a 12 to 14 week availability window.

    AirPods Max in Pink

    Source: Apple Newsroom

  • Apple Announces AirPods Pro

    Apple Announces AirPods Pro

    Today Apple announced an additional option for in-ear headphones, the AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro add a new feature that is not available on standard AirPods. That feature is Active Noise Cancellation

    The AirPods Pro is able to achieve Active Noise Cancellation through two microphones on each AirPod. The microphone in the front will listen for external noises and create a sound that will cancel out the external sounds. The internal microphone will perform the same on any noise coming from the inside of the ear. This process is done 200 times per second, which should make any audio sound pretty good.

    In order to produce the best noise cancellation for you, the AirPods come with different tips that will allow you to get the best fit specifically for your ears. When you perform the setup an algorithm will be able to see which tips will not only fit the best, but also provide the best noise cancellation.

    There are times when you need to be able to hear the things around you. For these times there is “Transparency Mode”. Transparency mode will reduce the amount of noise cancellation so you can hear the environment around you. This is accomplished by tapping on the “sensor” on the AirPod to switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode.

    Apple states that the AirPods Pro will last for 4.5 hours on a single charge, 5 hours if you turn off Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode. When you need to charge you can use the AirPods case, which is the Wireless Charging Case, so you can charge them with any Qi-compatible charger.

    The AirPods Pro are run by the H1 chipset and are capable of Audio Sharing, using “Hey Siri”, and announcing any messages.

    AirPods Pro will require iOS 13.2, watchOS 6.1, or macOS Catalina 15.1 and are available to order today and will begin arriving on October 30th. If you do decide to order a pair they will cost $249, including the wireless charging case.

    Source: Apple.com

  • Second Generation AirPods: A Review

    Second Generation AirPods: A Review

    Technology affords various things to occur, instant communication, in-depth research, and personalization. This last one has become expected by many users. Instead of getting the same experience as everyone else, users have come to expect that their experience will be different than most others. With that customization comes the need to be able to partake in that personalized service apart from others. One way that this is possible is through the use of headphones. There are a large number of headphones from different manufacturers available. These headphones also come at various price points.

    Somewhere on the higher end is Apple’s wireless earbuds, the AirPods. Apple’s first AirPods were announced in September of 2016 and were released in December of the same year. In the more than two years of availability the AirPods have gained popularity and have become more and more common.

    Apple released the second-generation of their popular wireless earbuds on March 20th. You could place an order for the second-generation AirPods, with or without the wireless charging case, for delivery between March 27th and the 29th. When I found out there was a new pair, I immediately ordered a set, with the Wireless Charging case. My delivery date was between March 27th and March 29th. However, it seems like I am destined to have issues with my first pair of AirPods for each generation. At least that has been the case for my first generation as well as this generation.

    The Issue

    As I mentioned above, I ordered the AirPods on March 20th, for delivery on the 27th. UPS attempted to deliver them on the 27th, but I was not home at the time. I was notified that they it could not be delivered and would try again the next day. I knew that I would not be home on the 28th either. So I asked to have it delivered to a UPS store, so I could pick it up from the store.

    I went to the UPS Store on the 28th, and they indicated that they did not have it. One of the UPS employees called corporate support to make sure that the package would be delivered on the 29th. This took about 15 minutes on the phone with them. The support person indicated that the package should be there on the 29th. The UPS Staff member who helped me indicated that they typically receive packages around 11:00 am. I figure, okay, I can pick them up then. So I go back to the UPS store on the 29th, again no package. While I was at the store a UPS truck drove up, and a staff member asked if they had any packages for delivery, but they did not. At that point the UPS Store staff indicated that I had to contact customer services and start a claim for a lost package.

    So I drove home and then called UPS customer support. After explaining the situation the representative and the story, the representative indicated that the package is considered “lost” and that I could not initiate an investigation, the shipper had to do that, so I would have to call them.

    I called Apple and explained the situation. The Apple representative needed to get some information to start the investigation. When Apple initiates an investigation, they refund the money and then handle the issue with UPS. So I got my money back, which is fine, however I did not have a pair of AirPods. To go with this, the second-generation AirPods, at that time, would take 2 to 3 weeks before they should ship.

    I looked to see if I could a pair and pick them up from the Apple Store, but no nearby Apple Stores had the AirPods with Wireless Charging case. However, my local Apple Store did have the AirPods and Wireless Charging case separately, for “Pickup Today”. This is the route I ended up going. It cost more, but I was able to get them sooner.

    I am disappointed in that UPS manage to lose a package, I know things happen and that the number of packages that end up lost is probably way less than 1, given the number of packages that they deliver. I recognize that it was just my turn to have this happen, but it seems like it should not have disappeared given that it arrived back to the depot. Now, onto the actual review.

    Second-Generation AirPods

    If you were given a pair of first-generation AirPods as well as second generation AirPods and you were asked to tell the difference just by looking at them, you would not be able to do so. That is because there is no physical difference between the two generations. All of the changes have been inside the AirPods themselves.

    I do not use my AirPods the entire day while I am at work. However, whenever I am at home I generally am using them. The second-generation AirPods have an all new wireless chip, called the H1, which is specifically designed for headphones. This replaces the W1 wireless chip present in the first generation.

    The benefits of the H1 over the W1 start off with offering 30 percent lower latency and is Bluetooth 5.0, instead of Bluetooth 4.2 with the first generation. This directly translates into one of the most noticeable benefits of the second generation AirPods, faster switching between devices.

    It is not often that I switch devices, however there are instances when it does happen. With the first-generation AirPods it seemed like it would take an awfully long time to have the headphones switch. During my testing it is approximately 7 seconds for the switch to occur between two iOS devices. When switching from an iOS device to a Mac, it is a bit longer, closer to nine or ten seconds. In reality this is not a long time, but in today’s fast-paced world it can seem slow.

    With the second-generation AirPods, the switching has been significantly improved. When going between iOS devices the amount of time is less than half, at about 3 seconds. When switching between an iOS device and ac Mac it is about half at five seconds. This is a significant improvement and a very welcome one.

    The H1 chip also enables an additional feature, Siri.

    Hey Siri

    Siri is Apple’s digital assistant and now Siri can be with you in your ears. This is the case with other earbuds as well, but only if an iOS device is nearby. With Siri in the second-generation AirPods, your phone does not need to be near by in order to use the digital assistant. That is not the case with the second-generation AirPods.

    When you activate “Hey Siri” on the second-generation AirPods, Siri will be activated on the device that the AirPods are connected to and it will use that device to process the Siri interactions.

    If you have multiple iOS-based devices and say “Hey Siri, all of them might light up but only one will respond. The devices will determine who has precedence and that device will handle the request. If you are a household that has a HomePod, it will typically be the HomePod that will handle the request. The second-generation AirPods will now also participate in the determining precedence of devices. Specifically, the AirPods will take precedence over all devices, including the HomePod.

    This order makes sense given that if you are using the AirPods and want to use Siri you likely want to use the AirPods to handle the request. You can still manually trigger Siri on a specific device if you want that one to handle the request. What would be even better is if you were able to set different trigger phrases for different devices. This could be a selection from a pre-defined list.

    Charging

    The first-generation AirPods created an interesting take on charging headphones. Whereas most wireless headphones require you to plug in a cable to charge them, the AirPods used the case as the charger. The AirPods themselves charge via induction while in the case. The case itself would have to be charged via a lightning cable.

    For the second-generation AirPods, this changes, but not necessarily for everyone. With the second-generation AirPods you have the option of purchasing them with or without a wireless charging case.

    The wireless charging case is a Qi-compatible charging case. This means that you can use any Qi-compatible pad to charge your AirPods case. Having a wireless charging case does change things a bit. The case itself is a bit heavier as well as bit bulkier. The differences ar slight, and may not be noticeable.

    There is one other change with the case. In order to know the status of case and the earbuds, the AirPods case has an indicator light on it. For the first-generation AirPods this was under the top and in between the two AirPods. With the non-wireless charging case you could connect a lightning cable to the case and then flip the case open. If you did this, the indicator light would stay on indefinitely. This is not a scenario that would occur for most users, however it would occur for some.

    The location of this indicator light has changed with the Wireless Charging Case. The light is now on the front of the case. This is necessary in order to be able to quickly see the status when the Wireless Charging case is on a Qi-compatible charging pad.

    You might think that with the light being on all the time would be a problem. But Apple has anticipated this and the light will turn off after about 10 seconds. This is the case for either wireless charging or when you plug in the Wireless Charging case to a lightning cable.

    Closing Thoughts

    If you already own a pair of first-generation AirPods, then it may not necessarily be worthwhile upgrading to the second generation. There are of course some exceptions to this. If you purchased the AirPods when they were first available the battery is not likely as strong as when you first got them, so purchasing the second-generation may be a sound investment.

    Right now, if you want to purchase a pair of second-generation AirPods with the Wireless Charging case, you will have to wait for a bit. The second generation AirPods with Wireless Charging case will currently ship in 3-4 weeks, when ordering from Apple, although they may be available for pickup from your local Apple store sooner than that.

    As a side note, as of this writing, UPS is still trying to locate the package. You would think that given that their entire business is built on package delivery and tracking that they would be able to find the package, but it does not seem to be the case.

  • Apple Releases a new set of AirPods

    Apple Releases a new set of AirPods


    It is not often that Apple gets into a new product category, but they did just that back in September of 2016 when they unveiled a whole new product line for them, AirPods. In the 2 1/2 years since their announcement, they have been a very popular product and one that delights the users.

    Today Apple has released the successor to the original AirPods, the second-generation AirPods. There have been some changes to the AirPods, but there are some things that has not changed. The biggest of these is the design. The AirPods are still the small and wireless headphones that you have come to love. The second-generation AirPods still have 5 hours of battery life on a single charge, charging them for 15 minutes will give you three more hours of battery life, and the case still provides 24 hours of battery life for our AirPods. Even with all of the changes, some things have been changed.

    Changes

    There are a few new features of the AirPods though. The first is that the AirPods now have longer talk time. A full charge will provide 3 hours of talk time, This is an hour more than the original AirPods. The longer talk time on a single charge also means that a quick charge of 15 minutes will result in two hours of talk time, and the charging case can provide up to 18 hours of talk time. The quick charge is twice as much talk time, and the case can provide an additional 7 hours overall. This is a great improvement, particularly for a product so small.

    There is another change that should be mentioned, you can now use the trigger phrase “Hey Siri” and your AirPods should respond. This is done via a setup on your iOS device or your Mac. This is an optional feature that does not need to be configured, if you do not want.

    The third change is around the case. There is now a wireless charging option. The charging case will work with any Qi-compatible charger. This includes any of your existing charging pads. Even though there is a wireless charging case, you can still charge the wireless case via lightning.

    The last change with the AirPods is one that you will not see. The second-generation AirPods hav a brand new chip, called the H1. This chip is designed specifically for headphones. The H1 enables the longer talk time as well as ability to use “Hey Siri” on them. The last improvement with H1 is that switching devices is twice as fast with the H1 chip, versus the old W1 chip in the original AirPods.

    Pricing

    There are two different price points for the second-generation AirPods. You can buy a pair of AirPods starting at $159. This will get you a pair of second generation AirPods, and the standard charging case. If you want to get a pair of AirPods with a wireless charging case, that is a bit more, $199 to be exact.

    If you have a pair of AirPods and would like to use wireless charging on those, there is an option for that too. You can buy a wireless charging case on its own for $79.

    Closing Thoughts

    The second-generation AirPods sound like they will be a great improvement over the first-generation model. Only time will tell if that is the case. You can order a pair of second-generation AirPods, with or without the wireless charging case, as well as the standalone wireless case today. The new AirPods will be available starting next week.

    If you do order, you can also have them engraved if you would like to add a custom engraving. As with other Apple products, the engraving is free, however it will extend the delivery time to 2 to 3 weeks.

    As of publishing, the AirPods with wireless charing case have a 7 to 10 day delivery.

    Source: Apple.