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AirPods Pro 2 alleged first images just surfaced

AirPods Pro 2 renders
(Image credit: MacRumors)

Could this be our first look at AirPods Pro 2? MacRumors has published images that purport to show the second generation of Apple’s premium wireless earbuds, with a familiar looking design for the buds themselves, but some interesting twists for the charging case.

But the site is quite clear that they come from a source “without an established track record” with accuracy that can’t be verified. Given the AirPods Pro 2 are now tipped for a release in Q3 2022, maybe these images are somewhat accurate. 

Leaks from unexpected sources have come good in the past — most recently with the introduction of a notch on the 2021 MacBook Pros.  All the same, you should probably treat these images as concept art rather than a guarantee of what’s to come, especially as the presence of stems on the buds directly contradicts what Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has said we should expect.

That report was from a year ago, of course, and it’s possible Apple has had a change of heart. In any case, MacRumors’ source — who goes by the name of “Xerxes” and claims the images come from an “Apple internal source” — is adamant that the stems are here to stay.

Indeed, the only real change for the buds themselves is the absence of an optical sensor. Given AirPods 3 switched from optical to skin-detect sensors, it’s possible that AirPods Pro 2 will follow the same design route.

The main change comes with the charging case: twin speaker holes, and the introduction of a metal loop for attaching a strap.

AirPods Pro 2

(Image credit: MacRumors)

According to MacRumors’ source, the addition of speaker holes isn’t for tinnily listening to music and podcasts from the case itself, but because Apple will be expanding its “Find My” feature to the case and buds independently of each other. The speakers are purely to play a sound to help you find that missing case down the side of the couch — so why two are needed is a bit of a mystery, unless it’s more for symmetry than functionality.

The loop for attaching a strap is arguably more controversial. Apple hasn’t seen the need to add a strap to AirPods before, and while it wouldn’t exactly be unwelcome, it does make the case design look a touch more busy, disrupting the minimalist aesthetic.

AirPods Pro 2

(Image credit: MacRumors)

Still, with both these design changes making the AirPods Pro 2 case that bit harder to lose, it’s possible that Apple is just responding to feedback from buyers. Tracking lost items has been something of a focus for the company since the introduction of AirTags earlier this year, and this may just be another step down that path.

So, treat these images with a degree of skepticism, but it will be a while before their accuracy is revealed. AirPods Pro 2 is likely to be a 2022 product, especially as Apple has only just released the third-generation of its standard AirPods.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.