AirPods Pro 2 just tipped for big audio boost with Bluetooth 5.2 upgrade

Concept image of stemless AirPods Pro 2 earbuds and charging case
(Image credit: Konstantin Milenin)

Apple could add support for Bluetooth 5.2 for the much rumored AirPods Pro 2, bringing in improved wireless connectivity and support for LE Audio. 

That's going by a filing spotted in the Bluetooth SIG products database by MacRumors. This filing could point to significant upgrades for future Apple products and — as the specification includes support for LE Audio with several improvements to the way Bluetooth handles wireless audio streaming — could be especially beneficial for any future AirPods models. 

With the Apple September event now confirmed to take place on September 7, we're hoping to see the launch of next-generation AirPods Pro wireless earbuds, alongside the reveal of the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch 8

Apple AirPods Pro 2 concept image

(Image credit: Konstantin Milenin/Yanko Design)

Raising the Bluetooth audio standard

Current iPhone models support Bluetooth 5.0, so while any news about Apple adopting Bluetooth 5.2 would be especially beneficial for the audio capabilities in any new AirPods models. We will also need to see the same specification incorporated into all its new Bluetooth compatible devices such as the best MacBooks, and best iPads to take full advantage of the benefits, including LE Audio support.

What is Bluetooth LE Audio?

Bluetooth LE Audio was revealed at CES in 2020 by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG for short), and is the latest version of the shortrange wireless transmission standard. The rollout of the Bluetooth standard on all devices is expected to ramp up as new models get launched towards the end of the year, bringing benefits to compatible models such as the best wireless headphones and the best Bluetooth speakers

Operating on Bluetooth Low Energy radio technology, LE Audio enables power to be used more efficiently, meaning battery power will last longer (which is an area where current AirPods models lag behind newer models recently introduced by rivals). It also introduces a new audio codec: the Low Complexity Communications Codec (LC3), which improves audio handling and extends wireless range with a stronger and more stable connectivity. 

It also adds support for hearing aids, and introduces Auracast broadcast audio, a new Bluetooth capability that enables one audio device to broadcast to multiple listening devices. This will enhance how listeners connect and share audio experiences at home and in the outside world, making sharing a common audio experience with multiple people a lot easier (and a lot more fun). 

In July, Bluetooth SIG anticipated availability of products with support for LE Audio to ramp up by the end of 2022. 

AirPods Pro 2 and Bluetooth 5.2 outlook

Apple is looking increasingly likely to launch second-generation AirPods Pro by the end of the year. But the appearance of the LE Audio filing seems at little late to be included in any imminent successor. 

Whether this is all part of the rumored lossless audio codec plans that would allow future AirPods to playback music at a higher quality is hard to say, but it does make sense that Apple has something in the works considering the current codec limitations Apple's earbuds favor.

Read next: This is the one upgrade I really want to see on the AirPods Pro 2. And now some smart AirPods Pro 2 features have been tipped just ahead of Apple Event.

Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.