The AirPods Pro 2 are in development, and it looks like there are some big upgrades on the way. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially since Apple’s first-ever noise-cancelling earbuds have remained a top seller and some of the best wireless earbuds you can buy. That is enough to warrant a sequel.
The AirPods Pro 2 leaks point to a possible redesign for Apple's earbuds that more compact, as well as improved noise cancellation, a better transparency mode and possibly even two sizes.
Here is what we know so far, including the AirPods Pro 2 potential release date, price, specs, features, and more.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 release date
With DigiTimes pointing towards a first half 2021 launch for the AirPods 3, it seems safe to say the AirPods Pro follow-up won’t be on store shelves anytime soon. The most recent hint at the AirPods Pro 2 release date comes via a Bloomberg report, claiming that the new buds may be announced as soon as 2021.
Go-to analyst for all things Apple, Ming-Chi Kuo, has claimed the AirPods Pro 2 will go into production from Q4 2021 to Q1 2022, as reported by MacRumors.
Our prediction: Holiday 2021.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 price
The original AirPods Pro is currently sold at $249, which, at the time of launch, made these wireless earbuds the most expensive in the category. Considering how well they continue to sell, along with plenty of AirPods deals, we don't see Apple lowering the price.
If anything, Apple may feel compelled to raise it by $25 or $50 if major upgrades are implemented. Overall, though, rumors that Apple will stick to the $249 price for the AirPods Pro 2 seem on target. Especially if the original AirPods Pro end up with a price cut to compensate.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 design
A report from Bloomberg suggests that the AirPods Pro could get an all-new design that drops the stems. Bloomberg's sources suggest that a current prototype design looks more like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live.
It’s almost a given that the AirPods Pro 2 will have the same system-in-package (SIP) design of the original version, which is also rumored for the AirPods 3. This allows Apple’s ANC circuitry and powerful H2 chip to fit in a more compact design.
A leaked image shared by a Twitter user named Fudge supposedly shows a new tool that Apple is sending out to service providers for testing the AirPods I and II, as reported by MacRumors. Its purpose: “cut-down on needless services in instances where a deep clean is all that is required.”
One day later, Fudge leaked another photo showing the AirPods Pro compatible with the tool; the tips would just have to be removed for testing. If made available for the AirPods Pro 2, it would definitely provide for a more efficient way of keeping your buds clean by preventing dirt-blockage.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 specs and features
Regarding features, most of what has been leaked or reported involves the AirPods 3. Very little has been divulged about the AirPods Pro 2, but the odds are high that these buds share many of the same features as its speculated counterparts.
This includes an advanced transparency mode to warn users of incoming hazards, bone conduction technology, third-party app support, and compatibility with the upcoming Apple AirTags to make locating misplaced AirPods simpler. All or most of these could end up being featured on the AirPods Pro 2, but don’t quote on us this.
You can expect many iOS 14 goodies to come part of the package as well like automatic switching, Dolby Atoms support, and spatial audio that will create a theater-like experience for listeners. Another feature to keep on your radar is Headphones Accommodation for frequency adjustments and sound amplification, along with Hearing Health, which provides updates to users on whether they’re listening to music too loudly.
Furthermore, you will probably see a slight boost in sound quality; LeaksApplePro believes this will come in the form of “a bit better” noise cancellation. It’s possible that Apple performs minor tweaks to the adaptive EQ. Add the Ear Tip Fit Test to the list as well, one of the newer features introduced on the AirPods Pro that to determine the best fit for optimized sound.
While the AirPods Pro 2 wouldn’t boast anywhere near the driver size of the AirPods Max (40mm), Apple could be working its magic to give these next-gen AirPods their own custom acoustic design that enriches audio. It’s possible that Apple performs minor tweaks to the adaptive EQ as well.
AirPods Pro gen 2-249$-Better battery life-A bit better of noise cancelling.-Ambient light sensors.Overall, a not so great update, more of like the AirPods gen 2 over AirPods gen 1.Expect them to release in Q4 2021 or Q1 2022.October 19, 2020
All signs point to the H1 chip likely powering the AirPods Pro 2. If true, then at least you know what’s coming: improved audio latency, battery management (50 percent more talk time), and connectivity, along with hands-free “Hey Siri” support and Audio Share to hear music on two sets of AirPods or Beats headphones from one audio source.
The gossip mill had been heating up with talk of the Studio (now known as the AirPods Max) receiving the popular U1 chip, which was introduced on the iPhone 11. Established leaker @L0vetodream even sent out a three-word tweet that said “u1 for studio,” hinting at the possibility. This didn’t come to fruition, as the AirPods Max carries an H1 chip in each earcup. That doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t see the U1 chip featured on the AirPods Pro 2. For those unfamiliar with the technology, the U1 employs Ultra Wideband technology that allows devices to locate and communicate with other U1-equipped devices; the Apple Tags is said to be taking advantage of the processor.
As for what’s new or has received little attention? Let’s see. One DigiTimes report indicates that biometrics sensors may be used on the AirPods Pro 2. Combined with other components, this would open the door for new health-based features: a step counter, motion detection, and heart rate monitoring are just a few examples.
A tweet from regular Apple leaker LeaksApplePro also corroborates this report with news Apple will be adding ambient light sensors to the AirPods Pro 2. Similar sensors have been used to monitor heart rate in other wireless earbuds like Samsung's original Gear IconX. That said they appear to have fallen out of fashion more recently thanks to their heavy power consumption.
Then there is this patent discovered by PatentlyApple, which shows Apple working on a new navigation system that builds on the AirPods Pro’s force sensor controls. It suggests the use of on-device capacitive sensors that, when tapped, enable a mode to perform in-air gestures. This would trigger different actions that could likely be assigned or customized in the settings.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 battery and charging case
With zero information out there on the AirPods Pro 2’s battery life, we can only go based on the rumors and what the original model has granted users, which, has been somewhat paltry.
Battery life on the AirPods Pro (4.5 hours) is rated less than the AirPods II (5 hours). There is no reason to believe it will change. In fact, playtimes could even be lower, depending on the specs, though LeaksApplePro claims the model will have “better battery life,” whatever that means. You can also expect the wireless charging case to remain unchanged with 24 hours of total playtime.
iOS 14 did introduce new settings to improve battery management such as notifications and Optimized Battery Charging, a feature designed to learn your charging routine and only charges to 100 percent when required to reduce battery aging.
Is this the time where Apple brings USB-C charging to the AirPods? If we’re going based on the images posted by infamous Apple leakers Jon Prosser and Mr·white, then there may be some truth to this theory. Prosser did post details and renders of the AirPods Studio, stating the headphones would have boasted an USBC port and no headphone jack.
Mr·white then followed up a week later with images of what is supposedly a new Lightning to USB-C braided cable that is to ship with the iPhone 12. Should either of these products be christened with the industry’s most popular charging connector solution, then it’s only a matter of time before other Apple products like the AirPods Pro 2 follow suit.
Info on the AirPods Pro 2 charging case is also non-existent at the moment, though Patently Apple discovered a patent showcasing a new “bistable hinge” for a future version of the noise-cancelling earbuds. This would provide a stronger and more reliable closure system, using some type of component (possibly a cap) that snaps into position to keep the lid securely shut. If true, then it’s practically a forgone conclusion this version would not be packaged with the first-gen AirPods Pro. Then again, it might be saved for a future model not named the AirPods Pro 2.
Apple introduced a new smart case for the over-ear AirPods Max headphones that automatically puts them into a low-power state. Whether we’ll see a hard case version for the AirPods Pro 2 is unknown for now.
PatentlyApple did spot a new patent filed by Apple that suggests the company is working on MagSafe AirPods. The patent shows a thin folio that snaps onto the back of an iDevice via magnets, making for a more portable-friendly, on-the-go charging solution than the standard AirPods Pro charging case. There isn’t much shared in the description, except that this version of the AirPods would have “a magnet that emits an external magnetic field that is detectable by a magnetic field sensor [read: MagSafe].” It also states that the “accessory device may include an inductive charging coil designed to supply power to the internal power supply 128, or other devices of the accessory device that require power.”
Apple unveiled its ecosystem of MagSafe charging and accessories for the iPhone 12 lineup, and there’s already talk of the company adding a MagSafe charger to the iPhone 13, showing the company’s commitment to the technology, which will likely carry over to the AirPods series at some point. Could the AirPods Pro 2 be that starting point?
What we want from the Apple AirPods Pro 2
We’re still far away from the AirPods Pro 2 coming out, but in the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to put together a wish list of advancements. A few concepts online have inspired some recommendations, though we think they might be out of the realm of possibility because Apple never really listens to the public. Hey, you never know. Take a look at what we want to see on the AirPods Pro 2.
Adjustable ANC: Apple says that noise cancellation on the AirPods Pro adjusts at 220-times per second. That is a lot of activity and juice-sucking right there. The AirPods Pro 2 would only benefit from adjustable ANC, allowing users to manually tweak the ANC levels and preserve battery life when set below the max level.
Customizable and Hi-Res sound: Some of the best wireless earbuds have a companion app that allows you to create your own sound profile by manually tweaking the frequency levels via EQ. It’s one of the biggest selling points on competitive models like the Jabra Elite Active 75t and Sony WF-1000xM3. It doesn’t hurt to have aptX HD support either to enjoy Hi-Res Audio-encoded files, especially as rumors heat up of Sony’s noise-cancelling buds receiving this in a future update.
The Digital Crown: The Apple Watch’s popular control feature has found its way onto the AirPods Max, which is used to deliver precise volume control, playback management, and Siri activation. To see something similar on the AirPods Pro, possibly near the bottom tip of each stem, would be pretty sick.
Lengthier battery life: If other wireless earbuds can push playtimes up to 9 hours with ANC on (like the Sony WF-SP800N), the AirPods Pro 2 should damn well be able to match that, or at least give us an extra two hours to work with.
Retina HD display: This comes courtesy of concept site Tech Blood, which created a rendering of the AirPods Pro 2 with a Retina HD Display right on the front of the charging case. Basically, the case can be used as a compass, for control playback, and to lock your AirPods to an iPhone. The screen would also be able to show battery levels, incoming calls, and the time. We’ll take it!
Reverse wireless charging support: Samsung was onto something when it introduced the game-changing Wireless PowerShare feature, which transforms some of the newer Galaxy smartphones into a wireless charging pad to recharge other devices. Granted, it seems like something better reserved for the newest iPhone, but wouldn’t it be cool to have this technology in the AirPods Pro 2 charging case to power up your Apple Watch Series 5 or Qi-compatible smartphone?