When it comes to Apple predictions, tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has a better record than most, so it's worth paying attention to his latest update on the future of the AirPods. Kuo says an improved pair will arrive next year, with support for wireless charging, followed by a major upgrade in 2020 with an all-new design.
As 9to5Mac reports (opens in new tab), the case for the new AirPods will be where the wireless charging magic happens, thanks to a component upgrade. The earbuds themselves are set to get better Bluetooth technology too, according to Ming-Chi Kuo.
Kuo doesn't specify what exactly the all-new design might involve, but there are only so many shapes that work for a pair of earphones. One of the big upgrades previously rumored for the next-generation AirPods 2 is "hey Siri" integration – so you'll be able to access Apple's digital assistant without getting your phone out.
Apple's best-selling accessory
Other whispers from the rumor mill have suggested extra sensors will be fitted inside the next AirPods to enable various kinds of health and fitness monitoring. It's possible that the new AirPods will be able to augment whatever tracking is happening on your phone, adding to the number of ways the Apple Health app can keep tabs on your well-being.
In his most recent report, Ming-Chi Kuo also says the AirPods have been Apple's most popular accessory ever in terms of sales. He expects Apple to be shifting more than 100 million pairs of AirPods by the time 2021 rolls around.
What we didn't get this time is any mention of the AirPower charging mat that Apple previewed way back in September 2017 and since seems to have forgotten about. It's possible that we'll see the AirPower mat (or something like it) finally appear in early 2019 when the next revision of the AirPods earphones see the light of day.