Beats is on the verge of launching the Powerbeats 4 in a follow-up to the Apple-owned brand's hugely popular Powerbeats 3 wireless running earbuds, based on data found within iOS 13.3 – and it sounds like they'll be smarter too.
According to 9to5Mac, strings (sequences of characters) within the newly released iOS 13.3 code indicate that the Powerbeats 4 will come with 'Hey Siri' support, a feature found in Apple headphones that contain the H1 chip – this includes the 2019 AirPods, the new AirPods Pro, and the Beats PowerBeats Pro true wireless earbuds.
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The 'Hey Siri' feature allows you to summon Apple's voice assistant totally hands-free, and it was introduced alongside the updated 2019 AirPods earlier this year.
The existence of the Powerbeats 4 neckbuds hasn't been confirmed by Beats or Apple, let alone their use of the H1 chip – however, support for the 'Hey Siri' trigger phrase makes it likely that the Powerbeats wireless in-ears will be upgraded from the W1 headphone chip to the H1 chip.
As well as allowing you to summon Siri with your voice alone, the H1 chip provides Apple earbuds with lightning-fast connectivity and better battery life than the original 2016 AirPods.
Powerbeats 4: what we want to see
As well as the inclusion of the H1 chi, there are a few features we're hoping to see in the rumored Powerbeats 4 – namely, an overall improvement on the Powerbeats 3, which we awarded 3.5 out of 5 stars in our review.
While their 12-hour battery life impressed at the time, we'd like to see this increased with the addition of the H1 headphone chip.
As running headphones, it's imperative that the Powerbeats 4 boast a secure fit; when we tested the Powerbeats 3, we found that they sometimes became loose during workouts, even though we felt they were generally quite comfortable to wear.
The sound quality should also see an improvement. Beats headphones have an unfortunate reputation for muddy, booming bass frequencies, and this is a problem we encountered with the Powerbeats 3.
We'd like to see a more balanced soundstage on offer from the Powerbeats 4, without losing Beats' signature bassy feel that lends itself so well to working out.
Beats managed to achieve this with the true wireless Powerbeats Pro, so we wouldn't be surprised to see the same linear piston drivers in the new earbuds.
Lastly, we're hoping that the Beats Powerbeats 4 represent better value for money than their predecessors, which cost $199.95 / £169.95 / AU$259.95 at launch. While we're not counting on this price dropping, we would expect to see a few more quality of life features, like the active noise cancelation offered by the AirPods Pro.
Otherwise, they won't be able to beat the Optoma NuForce BE Sport4 to the top spot of the best wireless neckbuds, which cost less than $100 / £100 / AU$150.