It’s been nearly three years since AirPods Pro were released in 2019, and since then Apple is now up to the third generation for its regular AirPods with no update yet to the higher-end wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC).
Despite its age, the AirPods Pro are still a solid pair of ANC earbuds, but Apple is probably starting to feel the pressure since there are plenty of ANC earbuds like the Sony LinkBuds S that sound incredible and cost less.
It appears Apple has been working on second-generation AirPods Pro since we saw some recent rumors and renders from 52Audio. According to these leaks, many of the improvements to AirPods Pro 2 might actually be on the charging case.
What will the AirPods Pro 2 look like?
From the renderings that 52Audio obtained, the AirPods Pro 2 may look extremely similar to the AirPods 3 with its shorter stem and lower-profile look; the rumor of a stemless design like Galaxy Buds 2 is unlikely. Apple could also improve the sweat resistance of the AirPods Pro 2; currently AirPods Pro have an IPX4 rating.
How will the AirPods Pro 2 sound?
52Audio also says that the AirPods Pro 2 might have the same “acoustic characteristics” as the AirPods 3 and will have a range of features like head tracking and audio sharing.
Apple is expected to include the same audio quality that made its first AirPods Pro great, but it now has the experience from both the upgraded AirPods 2 and 3 to draw from. There’s also a rumor that Apple will improve the Bluetooth quality on AirPods Pro 2 to enable lossless audio.
What health features will the AirPods Pro 2 have?
Long rumored, the AirPods Pro 2 might come with health features like heart rate and temperature sensors. The latest leak from 52Audio lines up with previous reports that AirPods Pro 2 could be used as hearing aids or a thermometer.
Health tracking features are more commonly seen with fitness trackers or smartwatches like the Apple Watch Series 7, but getting a quick — although probably not super accurate — temperature or heart rate reading off your AirPods Pro 2 could help with detecting sickness early.
Will the AirPods Pro 2 case have a speaker?
While the actual earbuds don’t look stylistically very different from the first-gen AirPods Pro, the renders from 52Audio show many small details and changes to the charging case. At the bottom, we can see three holes that resemble speakers. My guess is that they’re for emitting a noise when used with Apple’s Find My app.
This makes a lot of sense on AirPods. Currently, the Find My App can only “play a noise” through the AirPods buds themselves if you lose one or both of them. That works fine for when the AirPods are outside of the case. But when the buds are inside of the charging case, there’s no way to locate them by playing a sound.
A small speaker — even just a mono one — would make it possible to find the case, or the buds and the case together.
Is that an accessory/lanyard loop on the case?
One of the more discrete details we see with the latest renders is an accessory loop on the side of the AirPods Pro 2 charging case. As minor as this design is, there are many third-party cases out there that make it easier to attach AirPods to things like a bag or keychain. This little addition would make it less likely you misplace or lose the AirPods Pro 2.
Will AirPods Pro 2 have Precision Finding like on AirTags?
Precision Finding is the feature where you can use an iPhone with a U1 chip to precisely locate an AirTag. There are no reports that claim Apple will include Precision Finding on AirPods Pro 2, but I’d love to see the feature given how much more accurate it is for locating lost items than listening for a sound. Admittedly, adding Precision Finding to AirPods Pro 2 would probably increase the price, so maybe not.
Will the AirPods Pro 2 case use USB-C for charging?
It’s hard to tell just by looking at 52Audio’s images, but the charging case appears to have a USB-C port. The report says Apple is switching to USB-C, but reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that the AirPods Pro 2 charging case will stick to Lightning. More recently, Kuo predicted that the AirPods Pro 2’s charging case releasing in the second half of this year will still have Lightning, but that the cases of all AirPods models in 2023 will charge through USB-C.
As someone who’s sick of Lightning, I think Apple should ditch the proprietary port for USB-C in AirPods Pro 2. If you consider all the pressure the company is facing from the European Union, and more recently from a few U.S. senators, it’s time that Apple converts all its products to USB-C, including the AirPods Pro 2. Apple is even expected to switch its iPhone and its entry-level iPad over to USB-C eventually. Let’s rip the Band-Aid off and get this over with. The sooner we switch to USB-C, the sooner we can finally live the universal port dream.
How many hours of battery life will the AirPods Pro 2 have?
When the AirPods Pro came out in 2019, the 4.5 hours of listening time (5 hours with ANC) set the bar. Today, not so much. There are tons of wireless earbuds with longer battery life like the Sony WF-1000XM4 that come with up to 8 hours of listening time with ANC.
Apple needs to increase the listening time on the AirPods Pro 2 to catch up. No reports have said anything about battery life, which is worrying. Also, Apple has a tendency to not increase battery life by much with each generation of its products. If Apple can’t increase the listening time for the AirPods Pro 2 buds by much, then it better give the charging case more juice for charging.
When is the AirPods Pro 2 release date?
Let’s take a look at the timeline for every pair of AirPods (wireless earbuds and the over-ear AirPods Max) released to date:
- AirPods (first-gen): December 13, 2016
- AirPods (second-gen): March 20, 2019
- AirPods Pro: October 30, 2019
- AirPods Max: December 15, 2020
- AirPods (third-gen): October 26, 2021
There’s no new information from 52Audio about a release date, but we have a report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman that AirPods Pro 2 might launch in the fall. Whether that’s alongside the iPhone 14 / 14 Pro and Apple Watch Series 8 or at a separate event for rumored hardware such as the M2 chip-powered Mac mini, MacBook Pros, and Mac Pro, and refreshed HomePod is unclear.
Apple typically announces new iPhones in September. Looking at the AirPods release dates, it would be in step for AirPods Pro to come out in October or December to capitalize on the holiday shopping season.
How much will AirPods Pro 2 cost?
AirPods Pro currently retail for $249. Apple could either keep the price the same or increase it. A good idea: Sell AirPods Pro 2 at $249 and drop the AirPods Pro to $199. AirPods 3 sell for $179.
The current AirPods price lineup looks like this:
- AirPods (second-gen): $129
- AirPods (third-gen): $179
- AirPods Pro: $249
- AirPods Max: $549
There’s a lot of room between $179 and $249.
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