GOOD OL' APPLE is reportedly working on a new version of its odd-looking AirPods headphones to make its users appear even more ridiculous in public than they already do.
According to Bloomberg, "people familiar with the matter" have said the Cupertino firm will introduce upgrades to its wireless AirPods, with a big one seeing the integration of voice-assistant Siri.
If true, those who already dare to use the AirPods in public will now be seen speaking to themselves as they tell the in-ear voice assistant what they want their phones to do next.
The sources of the rumour say the new version of the wireless earphones could come as soon as this year thanks to an upgraded wireless chip, while a subsequent model for as early as next year will introduce water resistance, they added, asking not to be identified discussing private product plans.
However, when they say water resistant, they mean for the headphones to survive splashes of water and rain, not full immersion in water.
The Siri component will work in the same way as it does on iPhones, with users summoning the virtual assistant by simply shouting "hey Siri". Internally known as 'B288', the new version of the AirPods will also include an upgraded Apple-designed wireless chip for managing Bluetooth connections.
The first AirPods include a chip known as the W1, and Apple released the W2 with the Apple Watch late last year. Perhaps this will be known as the W3? Who knows? And even more impotantly, who cares?
Nevertheless, the news comes not so long after rumours of a recent teardown revealed Apple's HomePod speaker costs just $216 (£154) to make.
According to yet more people familiar with the matter (perhaps Apple needs to start rethinking who it tells its secrets to) the HomePod generates margins of over a third (38 per cent) for Apple.
This is significantly lower than Apple's competitors, such as the Google Home and Amazon Echo, which have margins of 66 percent and 56 percent, respectively.
Apple isn't so lenient with its margins as on its other products, however. The Cupertino firm reportedly generates margins of 64 percent on its flagship iPhone X device according to analyst house IHS Markit, and the original Apple Watch, which cost $349 at launch in 2015 was estimated by IHS to cost only $84 for the materials, a margin of over 75 per cent.
Maybe this means Apple has less confidence in its speaker releases over that of its phones. µ
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