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Report: Apple plans new AirPods design for later this year

Apple is constantly upgrading its hardware products, either releasing new versions or updating functionality. Its AirPods are no different, as sources inside the company say changes are coming to the popular wireless headphones.

A new wireless chip is expected to be added before the end of the year, while a water resistance feature could come sometime next year, sources told Bloomberg. The new headphones, known internally as B288, would upgrade the wireless chip to Apple's W2 variant, which was released with the Apple Watch last year. The water resistance feature would make the AirPods more resistant to splashes from rain and sweat, although the probably will not be submersible as the Apple Watch is, the sources said.

In addition, the new AirPods coming this year are expected to offer a "Hey, Siri" functionality that will not require the user to tap the headphones. The change would work similar to the way users currently summon the digital assistant on the iPhone and HomePod devices.

The AirPods were first announced alongside the iPhone 7 in 2016. The upgrade would be the first major change for the devices since they were released in December of that year. NPD estimated last year that the AirPods accounted for 85% of the money spent on wireless headphones in the United States. Apple faced a shortage of the device during the 2017 holiday period, as online orders ended up being delayed until January this year.

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