After three years, an upgraded version of AirPods Pro is finally expected at Apple’s September product event. But you don’t have to wait: Many details about Apple’s next wireless earbuds leaked out already.
They’re expected to be redesigned inside and out. Even the charging case reportedly will add new features.
AirPods Pro 2: It’s about time
AirPods have become an indispensable part of iPhone and Mac use for many people, both at home and at work. And active noise cancellation helped make AirPods Pro very popular.
But these truly wireless earbuds came out in 2019, and there’ve been significant technological advancements since then. There’s definitely room for improvement – buyers should expect a lot more than a simple face-lift.
AirPods Pro + AirPods 3 = AirPods Pro 2
Tipsters say AirPods Pro 2 will look much like AirPods 3 from 2021, but with the soft silicone tips necessary for ANC. That means the stems aren’t going away, and the buttons will stay, too.
There are no rumors that point to new color options, either. At this point, it seems likely the product will stay white. It’s probably about branding: You know anyone you see with a pair of white earbuds with stems is wearing AirPods (or wishes they were).
Better sound quality, of course
AirPods Pro 2 will offer better audio quality. Duh. The question is, how much better?
The new buds almost certainly will feature a new version of Apple’s audio processor, the H1 chip. This will handle Bluetooth 5.2 and Bluetooth LE Audio with Low Complexity Communication Codec, a powerful new standard for stronger wireless connections and improved audio quality.
Incidentally, LC3 should improve devices’ battery life.
Second-gen AirPods Pro might bring lossless audio, too. Maybe. Apple Music offers the Apple Lossless Audio Codec. This is better than the usual Advanced Audio Codec but current AirPods don’t support ALAC because it uses too much bandwidth. Months ago, a report indicated Apple’s second-generation Pro earbuds would support ALAC, but there’s been no mention of it since then. It’s not considered likely at this point.
Health capabilities? Perhaps.
Speaking of once-rumored features that might not be in AirPods Pro 2, an unconfirmed report indicated the earbuds will include heart rate detection. The device’s location inside the ear will supposedly make this possible. But more recent reports indicate that this will have to wait for a future version.
More likely is a new hearing aid feature. The charging case supposedly will include a microphone. The wearer could put it near the person they’re talking to, and the case would receive their speech and send it straight to the wireless earbuds. This is already possible with an iPhone in place of the case.
And the case is expected to get other improvements, too,
A much better AirPods Pro 2 case
The charging case for AirPods Pro 2 will be an important part of the product, just as it’s been for the earlier versions.
In some ways, it’s not changing. Leaks say the case will keep the Lightning port. (A switch to USB-C is expected in 2023, when the iPhone 14 makes the same port swap.)
But the charging case for AirPods Pro 2 supposedly will get a major upgrade with the addition of Find My support. Users will be able to locate the device from their iPhone, and Apple is reportedly adding a speaker so it can emit an audio alarm. AirPods themselves already can do this.
And Apple might actually build in a lanyard clip. 😮
Launching at Apple’s September 7 event
Obviously, leaks and rumors about AirPods Pro 2 have been circulating for months. The latest of these point to Apple taking the wraps off the updated earbuds at its Far Out product event scheduled for September 7.
The price remains unknown. The new version could stay at $250, or Apple might bump up the cost. The original model is not expected to stay in Apple’s product lineup at a reduced price.
We’ll probably know for sure this week. And we’ll almost undoubtedly get all the official details on the iPhone 14 series and three new Apple Watch models.