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AirPods Pro 2: What to expect from Apple’s upcoming ANC earbuds

It’s all gone a bit quiet on the AirPods Pro 2 front, with Apple apparently pressing forward with other product launches in the coming months.

And it becomes obvious why it’s going quiet with the suggestion that the AirPods Pro 2 are scheduled for a release in 2022.

Still, there’s plenty to look forward to with the next AirPod Pro in light of the first-gen’s reception. With a different and improved design, they offered a much better fit, better noise isolation and better audio. If you’re after an Apple owner looking for a new pair of headphones, the AirPod Pro would be high on our list of recommendations.

So, what can we expect from the next second-gen version? Here’s all the news, rumours and leaks about the AirPods Pro 2?

Related: AirPods 3 – What we know about Apple’s next true wireless earbuds

How much will the AirPods Pro 2 cost?

The current AirPods Pro retail for £249. Analysts say that Apple is expected to shift 90 million AirPods in 2020.

That’s not a bad showing, and if Apple continues to that pace then there’s little need for the Cupertino giant to reduce the price. Expect £249/$249 for the AirPods Pro 2.

Related: Best headphone deals

When will the AirPods Pro 2 be released?

The ever reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the second-gen AirPods Pro will be released in the second half of 2021.

This marks a slight departure from previous statements, which suggested that they’d go into production in the latter half of 2021, for a release in 2022.

In either case, a refresh of the AirPods Pro is still quite a way off. There has been rumbles of an AirPods Pro Lite model, but Kuo scoffed at this, believing this model is likely be a new Beats headphones.

YouTuber John Prosser said a new AirPods model is on the way for 2020.

We can only imagine he’s referring to the AirPods 3, as neither the AirPods Pro 2, AirPods Pro Lite or the AirPods X, are expected this year.

The AirPods X are believed to be sports-friendly wireless earbuds arriving  in 2020. According to Prosser, the AirPods X are meant to phase out the Beats range, but reports say that this is not the case at all.

Related: Best wireless headphones

AirPods Pro 2 design

While the standard AirPods design has enjoyed plenty of success, especially from people who aren’t comfortable with a traditional in-ear design. They weren’t particularly good for audio performance. The AirPods Pro were much improved in this regard. They have a tighter fit and create a better seal to stop external noises from interrupting the audio.

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the AirPods Pro 2 will look the same, with just the internals set to be updated.

Despite the improvement in the design, Apple could make further adjustments. One of our main complaints was the fiddly nature of the capacitive stem, which not the most responsive. Apple’s surprising reluctance to have the earbuds in anything other than glossy white means they attract dirt easily. More finishes would make them distinctive, as well as add an aspect of personalisation.

Related: AirPods Studio − Everything we know

AirPods Pro 2 features

The first-generation AirPods Pro had Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency Mode, IPX4 resistance and Qi wireless charging.

New features we expect the next Pro to have include the recently announced Spatial Audio and Auto-switching. When it launches, Spatial Audio will grant the support for 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos soundtracks. Auto-Switching allows the headphones to switch instantly between connected iOS devices. Count on these features to be supported by the next-gen AirPod Pro model.

There’s also been plenty of scuttlebutt Apple’s aspirations with health related functionality. Patently Apple spied a 2017 patent request about a range of biometric features that could be included in future AirPods. This list of features includes a heart-rate sensor, and it’s thought to be arriving in the second-half of 2021, which neatly converges with the reported release date of the AirPods Pro 2.

According to a report by DigiTimes/MacRumours, Apple may integrate light sensors into all its AirPod headphones. This will track heart rate, detect health conditions, motion as well as other physical movements.

And there’s room for improvements. Battery life is 4.5 hours with ANC on, which is short of the 7-8 hours more recent wireless earbuds are capable of. Manual adjustment of noise-cancellation would be on our wishlist too. While Apple says that the ANC of the AirPods Pro is constantly adjusted at 220-times per second, the ability for the user to set this level themselves would result in a better and, well, more adaptable performance.

And that is all the info we’ve gleaned about the next-gen AirPods Pro. We’re sure that once Apple has got its slew of releases for 2020 out of the way, the rumour mill will start up again.

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