AirPods Pro 2
"AirPods Pro 2" may come with an all-new stemless design, lossless audio playback, and improved on-device intelligence. Rumors indicate a late 2022 launch with possible health features and a new charging case with Find My.
● Rounded, stemless design
● H2 processor
● Lossless support
● Late 2022 release date
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The first-generation AirPods Pro are over two years old, but Apple is expected to wait until the end of 2022 to release the new model. Rumors suggest the "AirPods Pro 2" will offer a smaller design, new chip, and other possible improvements like better audio and active noise cancelation (ANC).
The next generation of AirPods Pro are among the last of Apple's unreleased AirPods products still being rumored. The AirPods Max were released in December 2020, and all signs point to the "AirPods Pro Lite" being the same product as the recently released AirPods 3.
"AirPods Pro 2" Features
Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple may release the updated AirPods Pro in 2022. While leaks have been minimal, one October 2020 report predicted the "AirPods Pro 2" would have a fresh design that more closely resembles recent earbuds from Samsung, Amazon, and Google. The rounded design would fill the user's ear and either lose the stem entirely or replace it with a shorter one.
The "AirPods Pro 2" would have updated Apple Silicon, replacing the H1 system-on-a-chip found in the first-generation AirPods Pro. We don't yet know the full list of changes the "H2 chip" would bring, but leaks point to a more complex structure that would take up less space, allowing for the stemless "AirPods Pro 2" design.
Though no reports have specifically addressed this, it's possible the "AirPods Pro 2" would bring audio and ANC improvements. The current AirPods Pro offer impressive sound and ANC relative to their small form factor. Audio quality and ANC differentiate AirPods Pro from standard AirPods.
Apple introduced lossless audio to Apple Music in 2021, and the next generation of AirPods are expected to gain compatibility with this format. Bluetooth doesn't have the bandwidth to play back true lossless audio, so Apple may need to release a new AirPlay version to accomplish this.
The updated "AirPods Pro 2" would still have a wireless charging case, but it would likely be smaller due to the buds' compact design. The third-generation AirPods introduced magnetic "MagSafe" charging to the case, but at normal 5W charging. It is possible Apple could introduce faster wireless charging for the new pro models.
In addition to faster wireless charging, the new case could have improved Find My capabilities and a built-in speaker. This speaker would allow a sound to be played from the case when being located by its user.
Apple may also release the new earbuds with health or fitness-focused tech. Accelerometers, heart rate sensors, and other components could work together with an Apple Watch to provide a wider and more accurate range of health data.
Rumors in November 2021 point to a later 2022 release window, with a possible Q3 announcement. The slight delay may be related to the ongoing chip shortage that has affected every portion of the consumer electronics industry in 2021.
AirPods Pro are defined by a handful of premium features that justify the higher price point and set them apart from AirPods 3. ANC, Transparency mode, changeable ear tips all make these earbuds "pro."
Active Noise Cancelation
AirPods Pro has ANC to eliminate external noise from a listening experience. Apple's pro-level earbuds utilize a microphone on the outside of the earpiece to listen continuously for external noise, sending a sound called anti-noise into the ear in what's virtually real-time. The anti-noise cancels out the external sound almost entirely before the wearer can hear it. A second microphone located inside the ear listens to the sound in your ear canal and will cancel any unwanted noise.
The ANC is continuously adjusted at 200 times per second to ensure the best results. This may improve with better chipsets and algorithm adjustments.
Apple could also offer more dynamic ANC modes, like noise cancellation with machine learning that allows voice passthrough.
Transparency mode is another listening mode for AirPods Pro. When wearing earbuds with flexible ear tips, you're likely seeking to seal off the ear canal entirely. This creates a barrier to external sound that makes hearing the world around you difficult, even with ANC turned off.
Transparency mode uses the microphones to adjust the ANC to a much lower level, then pipes in some of the external environment and voices to your ear. It even listens for your voice to make it easier to speak naturally. This means that you can walk around town and not be afraid that you'll miss hearing an oncoming car.
When wearing a single AirPod Pro, Transparency mode is on by default. To make ANC work with only one ear, you will need to change it in settings. If you are in ANC mode and remove one of your AirPods, it will automatically switch the remaining AirPod to Transparency mode.
Fit and Design
If you tried to wear Apple's original earbuds or Airpods and you found that their "one size fits most" design just didn't fit you, you will want to try again with the pro model. AirPods Pro includes three different earpieces in the box, which allows for some variety to the fit and seal. The attachment is a simple plastic oval that should easily be replicated and sold by third parties, so even if Apple's tips don't work for you, others may.
Another unique feature introduced is its ability to perform an "Ear Tip Fit Test" and verify that the ear tips you have chosen provide a proper seal.
Apple says that with ANC turned on, the AirPods Pro will last 4.5 hours and only gain another half hour with it off. The charging case offers an additional 24 hours of battery. Apple says that 5 minutes in the case will get you 1 hour of listening back.
Apple will likely target a similar battery life with the new AirPods Pro. However, battery life could be more limited depending on volume level and features enabled given the smaller size.
Water resistance is rated at IPX4 for the existing AirPods Pro, which is unlikely to change with the new set. Don't expect to go swimming with true-wireless earbuds anytime soon.
Previous AirPods used a tap gesture to summon Siri or play/pause music, and that gesture may return if there isn't a stem for the Force Sensor. Users can always control playback using an Apple Watch or iPhone if the tap gestures are uncomfortable.
Some rumors say that Apple could add a heart rate sensor for improved health tracking. This may benefit those without an Apple Watch or provide more accurate metrics during a workout.
Accelerometers could also be used to track a user's posture or even enable fall detection for a wearer in certain conditions.
Expect the Lightning port to remain for the new product. Kuo shared a rumor in May 2022 suggesting that even with "iPhone 15" potentially shifting to USB-C, it is still too soon for the AirPods to do so.
"AirPods Pro 2" Price and Release Date
No reports have pointed to specific pricing for "AirPods Pro 2," but we expect the updated earbuds to be around the same as the original's $249 price tag.
Reports predict the "AirPods Pro 2" may launch in late 2022, perhaps in the September Apple event where the "iPhone 14" will be announced. Early adopters of the original AirPods Pro will need new hardware soon given that the batteries are entering their third year of use.