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AirPods Pro 2: could Apple’s next ANC earbuds arrive in 2022?

It’s been over two years since Apple released the AirPods Pro, meaning we’re due an update to the noise-cancelling earbuds. Here’s everything we know so far. 

Apple often updates its true wireless series every couple of years and, with the massive amount of rumours surrounding the next Pro earbud and leaks hinting at a 2022 release date, we assume a new pair is on the horizon. 

Read on for all the latest news and rumours surrounding the AirPods Pro 2, including what they could look like, what features they might have, how much they could cost and when exactly we expect them to turn up. 

How much will the AirPods Pro 2 cost? 

The AirPods Pro 2 are yet to be confirmed by Apple, never mind the price, however, reports indicate the new earbuds will cost 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 have stated that the earbuds went into production at the end of the 2021 and will make their debut in Q1 2022. If these rumours are correct, the Pro 2 could arrive any day now. 

Apple is expected to host a spring event in March/April this year, so its possible we could see an announcement for earbuds there. The latest rumours say this event will take place on March 8. 

However, we wouldn’t suggest you get your hopes too high, as other rumours have pinned a late 2022 release date for the next pair of Pro earbuds. According to FrontTron, 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 AirPods 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. 

According to the tweet above from LeaksApplePro, the Pro 2 will gain improvements in battery life, noise cancellation performance and integration of ambient light sensors. Bloomberg have likewise stated the Pro 2 will pack “updated motion sensors with a focus on fitness tracking” so this seems to check out. 

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. This could make the Pro 2 a great pair of running headphones

This features would also appear to be linked to a 2017 patent request founded 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. 

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 rumours 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. 

The above 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.

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