Next AirPods Will Be Backward Compatible with Previous Commands

Apple's upcoming AirPods will support hands-free voice commands 'Hey Siri.

Apple's first beta release for iOS 12.2 contains tests approaching an AirPods hardware update. As reported by 9to5Mac The beta version includes a configuration interface for "Hey Siri". Hands-free voice commands on AirPods, not available with the first generation pair of wireless headphones.

No other leaks about new AirPods (yet) have been discovered in the iOS beta released today. The original AirPods hit the shelves more than two years ago.

But there have been rumors of an updated set for months. Bloomberg reported last June that Apple was preparing a light refresh of AirPods with a new chip and "Hey Siri" support for release in late 2018, likely to catch the holiday shopping rush.

A high-end version of AirPods with noise cancellation, water resistance and extended wireless range.

Each iOS update usually goes through several beta reviews before a wide public release. It is possible that this mention of AirPods and "Hey Siri" will disappear. A future release, similar to the way Apple removed AirPlay 2 and Group FaceTime from previous versions.

Apple recently launched new Smart Battery Cases for iPhone XS, XS Max and XR. The company is also rumored to be, yes, still, finally approaching the availability of its AirPower wireless charging platform for iPhones, Apple Watch and AirPods. Apple originally showed off an updated AirPods case with wireless charging capabilities when it first announced AirPower.

If AirPower is also nearly ready, that case could be part of the revamped AirPods hardware when Apple finally brings them to market.

Certainly, they are due to this point: several of my friends who were early buyers of the original AirPods say the battery life isn't what it used to be. But two years later, many are still buying them in droves.

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