Update: AirPods pro 2 may be the rage, but what about AirPods Max 2? A new patent has sparked speculation that the next Apple headphones could ditch the digital crown for touch gestures.
With the AirPods Pro set to turn three later this year, Apple is widely expected to unveil an AirPods Pro 2 sooner rather than later. Now a new report from DigiTimes (opens in new tab) has added credence to that, with the revelation that Apple has begun to step up chip orders from NOR Flash, one of its key suppliers.
While the report doesn’t give release date specifics, the usually correct Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has already filled in that particular gap, predicting that AirPods Pro 2 will arrive in the fourth quarter of this year with a series of small but significant upgrades.
Along with the usual improvements to sound quality you can expect from generational leaps, Kuo has stated that AirPods Pro 2 will likely be the first Apple buds to support lossless audio via the company’s ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) format. On top of that, we can apparently expect that these wireless earbuds will be tougher to lose, with a case that can apparently emit a sound to help you track it down when misplaced.
Kuo has also backed up the longstanding rumor that Apple will introduce some kind of health tracking features to AirPods Pro 2. Whether that will be for those without an Apple Watch or features to compliment the wearable’s suite of fitness features remains to be seen.
Finally, Kuo reports that we can expect a “new form factor design,” without elaborating on what that might mean in practice. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that AirPods Pro 2 may ditch the stems altogether, which wouldn’t be wholly surprising given the cheaper AirPods 3 came out with a far shorter stem than previous generations, suggesting Apple sees it as something that needs to be minimized.
That said, the only purported AirPods Pro 2 images we’ve seen so far show earbuds that look much the same, albeit with a slightly modified case. While the source is untested, the images do show speaker holes in the case, which matches Kuo’s prediction, so there could well be something to it.
Whatever the future holds, AirPods Pro are long due an update, having first arrived on October 30, 2019. While they still occupy the second spot on our list of the best wireless earbuds you can buy, competition is fierce, and three years is a long time for any tech company to stand still, let alone Apple.