Something to look forward to: After hearing about new AirPods for months, Apple is getting closer to launching a new set of premium wireless earbuds. Instead of the awkward tap to access Siri, the next generation will support "Hey Siri" for touch-free activation of the assistant.

Rumors of second generation AirPods are still running rampant. In the latest discovery, a prompt to setup "Hey Siri" for AirPods was found in the iOS 12.2 beta. As clear as day, Apple is presenting a means of calling up the digital assistant from AirPods.

In a report published Wednesday by Digitimes, Apple is alleged to be releasing AirPods 2 during the first half of this year. Bloomberg has also reported that new AirPods are arriving in 2019 as well as the addition of over-ear headphones with noise-cancellation that may compete against Bose, Sony, Sennheiser, and Microsoft's offerings. Most recently, industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that new AirPods could be launched during the first quarter of 2019.

Given that Apple has included support for "Hey Siri" in its latest iOS version, it seems that next generation AirPods are well on their way to launch. Aside from new voice interactions, Apple has also held discussions on adding biometric sensors to AirPods, including heart rate monitoring. Bluetooth 5.0 will bring dual audio streams to next generation AirPods. Improved water resistance is also expected.

It is believed that Cirrus Logic has been providing support to the development on AirPods 2. As a company that holds more than 30 years of experience in noise-cancellation technologies and has numerous audio converters, codecs, signal processing chips, and MEMS microphones in its portfolio, it is clear why Apple chose Cirrus as a partner. It is unknown at this time whether Cirrus has also provided any components or design expertise towards over-ear headphones.