AirPods Pro 2 are reportedly set to be one of many announcements we see at tomorrow’s Apple event. Three years after the original AirPods Pro were released, Apple is set to follow them up with a new generation. The changes aren’t dramatic, but I think AirPods Pro 2 could easily stand out as one of the biggest announcements tomorrow.
What to expect from AirPods Pro 2
Again, AirPods Pro 2 aren’t expected to be a dramatic overhaul compared to the first generation version. Initially, it was rumored that they could feature a new stemless design with an array of health and fitness tracking features. This design, however, was described as something that would be hard to pull off given the sheer amount of technology inside each of the AirPods Pro buds.
As such, more recent reporting suggests that AirPods Pro 2 will feature a design that is similar to or identical to the first generation. This means we’ll get the same in-ear design with multiple ear tip sizes and stems that offer quick access to playback controls.
With the design remaining the same, there are two rumored areas of focus for AirPods Pro 2. First, Apple has reportedly upgraded the charging case to offer a handful of useful new features. First and foremost, the case will likely include new speaker holes that would integrate with the Find My application.
On the side of the AirPods Pro 2 case, there are rumored to be new connectors for attaching straps to the case. There are currently a number of third-party accessories for AirPods Pro that offer a built-in strap, and this represents another way to cut down on the odds you lose your AirPods case.
Beyond the charging case, AirPods Pro are said to feature several component upgrades with an emphasis on higher quality audio playback. Ming-Chi Kuo has said that AirPods Pro 2 will be the first of Apple’s AirPods products to offer support for lossless audio playback.
According to Kuo, AirPods Pro 2 will support the Apple Lossless, or ALAC, format for audio playback. This comes after Apple added support for lossless playback to Apple Music over a year ago. As it stands today, none of the current AirPods models support the feature due to Bluetooth limitations.
On top of Kuo’s reporting, 9to5Mac sources have confirmed that the next-generation AirPods Pro – code-named B698 – will feature the next version of the H1 chip, Apple’s own audio processor. There’s also evidence of support for the new LC3 codec, which will improve audio calls, efficiency, and stability of Bluetooth devices.
These improvements may not sound like major upgrades, but I think they will all come together to make for a significant improvement to the AirPods Pro experience.
9to5Mac’s Take: AirPods Pro 2 could steal the show
AirPods Pro are one of my most-used Apple products. I love the design, the in-ear fit, the controls on the stem, the deep integration with the Apple ecosystem, and much more. But AirPods Pro as they exist today are not perfect. Even beyond a long-running service recall program due to various “sound issues,” there are some quirks that need to be fixed.
The AirPods Pro are powered by Apple’s custom H1 chipset, which was first introduced in 2019. Every version of AirPods since then has been powered by the same H1 chip, including the ultra-premium AirPods Max as well as a number of Beats products.
The rumored H2 chip would mark the first new Apple audio chip since then, and I have high hopes given the three year gap between launches.
In addition to improvements to audio quality, I’m also hoping for significant upgrades to things like stability, battery life, and connection speed. The H1 chip is already a major improvement over traditional Bluetooth. As such, I expect the combination of an upgraded H2 chip along with the new Bluetooth LC3 codec to be a significant improvement.
In addition to the upgrades to stability, performance, and audio quality upgrades, the addition of speakers to the AirPods Pro case will be another quality of life improvement. If you’ve ever misplaced your AirPods Pro case without your AirPods inside, I’m sure you know that it can be nearly impossible to locate. Being able to “ping” the case from the Find My app will make that process much easier.
There are other things on my AirPods Pro 2 wishlist that would be nice surprises. I would like to see some sort of health or fitness tracking feature. I’m very intrigued by what Apple might be doing in this space, especially when combined with data from the Apple Watch. Improved durability and longevity are also at the top of my list. AirPods Pro battery life currently drops off at a pretty fast rate after the first year.
And like everyone else, I’d love to see AirPods Pro make the jump to USB-C for charging, but that’s not looking like it will happen until next year.
Ultimately, while some might be disappointed that AirPods Pro 2 won’t have a new design, I’m more than happy with what the rumors say we’ll get this year. With how often I use AirPods Pro, significant quality-of-life improvements will be more than enough to get me to upgrade.
In fact, I’d selfishly add that I’d be worried if Apple was planning a major AirPods Pro design, just because the current form factor works so well for me.
What are your thoughts on AirPods Pro 2? Are you expecting to upgrade this year? Let us know down in the comments.
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