It’s been more than two years since Apple released the AirPods Pro, and if online speculation is correct, we’re due an update to the noise-cancelling earbuds later this year. Here’s everything we know so far.
So far, speculation has pointed to a release date of sometime in 2022 but, as is the norm with Apple, there’s plenty of guessing and hearsay about when these earphones will be released and what features they will have.
Read on for all the latest news and rumours about the AirPods Pro 2, including what they could look like, what features they might have, how much they could cost and when we expect them to turn up.
How much will the AirPods Pro 2 cost?
As the AirPods Pro 2 are yet to be confirmed by Apple, we can only speculate on how much they’ll cost. Reports have suggested that the upcoming earbuds will be priced around the same as the current AirPods Pro.
The AirPods Pro are £249/$249, which is the same price LeaksApplePro has tweeted that the Pro 2 will cost – at least in the US.
When will the 2nd gen AirPods Pro be released?
Apple analyst Min-Chi Kuo originally predicted that the AirPods Pro 2 would be released in the second half of 2021, but this date came and went with no sign of the Pro 2.
Other reports stated the earbuds went into production at the end of the 2021 and will make their debut in Q1 2022. That turned out to be untrue as well.
Most likely, the next pair of Pro earbuds will make their appearance in the second half of 2022. According to Twitter use FrontTron (the tweet has now been restricted), they said that the Pro 2 could be delayed until Q3 of this year, while Kuo now expects the earbuds to turn up as late as Q4 2022 (via MacRumors).
What will the new AirPods Pro look like?
The first pair of AirPods Pro shared a similar stem design to the Apple AirPods and Ming-Chi Kuo has stated that the Pro 2 will look very much the same but with updated internals.
However, according to a report by Bloomberg, there’s also a chance Apple could drop the iconic stem completely. The report states that Apple has been testing a more rounded shape that “fills more of a user’s ear”, similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live.
That said, the brand has apparently faced challenges trying to squeeze ANC, antennas, controls and mics into the smaller housing, so there’s a chance it won’t go through with the new design for this reason.
The charging case is also rumoured to be getting an update. It could be taller and thinner than before, albeit hopefully not at the expense of the battery life.
What features will the AirPods Pro 2 have?
One of the biggest selling points of the original AirPods Pro over the standard model was the addition of active noise cancellation (ANC) and a Transparency Mode. The earbuds also support Spatial Audio and Auto-switching.
With a water resistance rating of IPX4 and support for Qi wireless charging, we would expect the AirPods Pro 2 to incorporate all of the above.
In a now deleted tweeter LeaksApplePro claimed the Pro 2 will gain improvements in battery life, noise cancellation performance and integration of ambient light sensors. Bloomberg also stated the Pro 2 will pack “updated motion sensors with a focus on fitness tracking”.
The fitness tracking bit isn’t entirely new – a report from DigiTimes (via MacRumors) previously explained the light sensors could track heart rate, detect health conditions, track motion and more. These health-related features would appear to be linked to a 2017 patent request found by PatentlyApple that teases a range of biometric features, including a heart-rate sensor. According to one report by AppleInsider, the earbuds might even be able to detect your body movement and position to offer pointers during Apple Fitness+ workouts.
However, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has rolled back on the hype for the health-related features, saying such a feature is unlikely to make it to the AirPods Pro 2. In his Power On newsletter, he wrote “Over the past few months, there have been rumors about this year’s model gaining the ability to determine a wearer’s heart rate or body temperature. I’m told that neither feature is likely to arrive in the 2022 upgrade”. That’s not to say these features won’t make it to an Apple headphone but it seems likely it won’t Apple’s next true wireless that carries these features.
Another rumoured feature is a voice-activated transparency mode. AppleInsider spotted a patent titled “Interrupt for Noise-Cancelling Audio Devices” that would allow users to set a keyword or the voice of a contact that could bypass ANC. This would allow specific friends, family or colleagues to get your attention when the earbuds are in use.
Other speculation include the addition of Apple Music lossless audio. Lossless support would offer higher fidelity, but Apple would need to find a way to support ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) over Bluetooth.
That rumour comes from Kuo (via MacRumors), as does news of a charging case that would emit a sound to make it easier to track when misplaced. This would most likely be integrated with Apple’s Find My app.
Another interesting security feature spotted by PatentlyApple could allow users to authenticate their earbuds with Touch ID, Face ID or even by identifying the user’s inner ear construction or the gait of their walk.
That’s all the info we’ve found about the Apple AirPod Pro 2. We still expect them to launch in 2022, though the current design and feature set still appears to be in flux. We’ll be updating this page as we find more info about Apple’s next true wireless model.