AirPods Pro 2 reportedly launching in 2022 with 'innovative experience'

AirPods Pro
(Image credit: Future)

Update: A newer rumor has narrowed down the release date of the AirPods Pro 2 to Q3 2022.

Evidence is mounting that the AirPods Pro 2 release date will have to wait until 2022, though it could allegedly feature some exciting changes from the current-gen AirPods Pro.

In a recent research note, in-the-know Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted a 2022 launch for the upcoming wireless earbuds. According to Apple Insider, the note claimed the AirPods Pro 2 will deliver an “innovative experience” — not something you’d expect from just another set of headphones, especially not a successor to one of the best wireless earbuds out there.

What exactly this “innovative experience” entails, Kuo did not elaborate on, though we have an idea. Apple executive Kevin Lynch recently suggested that the AirPods range will explore sensor fusion, a method of combining sensor data from devices like the iPhone 12 and Apple Watch to provide more accurate fitness tracking data.

As it happens, we’d already heard that the AirPods Pro 2 could include some sort of built-in fitness tracking capability. And while putting a step counter in the AirPods Pro 2 wouldn’t be particularly groundbreaking, it’s not impossible that Apple could expand on such health-focused features to create an ear-worn alternative to the best fitness trackers.

There have also been quieter, less corroborated whispers that the AirPods Pro 2 could ditch the bud-and-stem design shared by all previous AirPods; except, of course, the over-ear AirPods Max. A more compact, rounded bud shape in the style of the Beats Studio Buds might therefore be another of the AirPods Pro 2’s big changes, though it’s not clear what Apple would do with its signature Force Sensor control scheme if this were the case.

In any case, this is the latest in a string of occasions when a 2022 release date has come up, so while that could be any time between next January and December, we wouldn’t bet against it. In the meantime, the AirPods 3 is expected to launch later in 2021, potentially alongside the iPhone 13.  

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.