Apple AirPods Pro 2: What to Expect Based on the Rumors

The AirPods Pro (pictured) may get an upgrade in 2022.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The AirPods Pro belong to CNETs popular wireless earphones, but Apple hasn’t released a new version since its debut in 2019. That could change this year, however, as multiple reports suggest a new version is in the works.

The current AirPods Pro brought more premium features like active noise cancellation and a customizable fit for Apple’s wireless earbuds. Based on the reports we’ve seen so far, the second-gen model will add other improvements like a slimmer stalkless design, a new charging case, and fitness features. Such changes could be important for Apple to remain competitive with rivals like Apple SamsungBose and Sony.

Continue reading: Best Wireless Earbuds for 2022

AirPods were originally marketed as a companion to the iPhone 7, Apple’s first smartphone without a headphone jack. But in the five years since their launch, AirPods have become the most popular wireless earbuds in the world. Apple’s current AirPods lineup includes the $129 (second generation) and $179 AirPods, in addition to the aforementioned AirPods Pro AirPods (third generation) and the $549 over-ear AirPods max Headphones.

Here’s a closer look at what to expect from the possible AirPods Pro 2.

AirPods Pro 2 are likely to launch in 2022, possibly in the fourth quarter

Reports from Bloomberg and trusted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo both say the AirPods Pro will arrive in 2022. However, it’s unclear when exactly we can expect the debut.

In December, Kuo predicted the AirPods Pro 2 would arrive in Q4 2022, according to a MacRumors research note. That suggests they might be part of it Apple’s product flash this usually takes place towards the end of the year. For example, Apple announced the iPhone 13
lineup, the Apple watch series 7the AirPods 3 and a new line of MacBook Pro laptops last September and October.

One more last tweet from Kuo says the AirPods Pro will be released in the second half of 2022. Bloomberg, on the other hand, hasn’t given a timeframe within 2022 for the release of the AirPods Pro 2. However, don’t count on snagging the original AirPods Pro at a discount when the second model launches. Kuo also predicts Apple will discontinue the current version when the AirPods Pro 2 arrive to keep up high demand for the new earbuds.

Continue reading: Change these settings to get the most out of your Apple Watch

AirPods Pro 2 may support lossless audio

Apple might offer audiophiles something to get excited about with the AirPods Pro 2. The next-gen version may support lossless audio, according to a note obtained by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo 9to5Mac and Apple Insiders. Lossless audio compression preserves the original data of the original source file, resulting in overall improved audio quality. As Apple notes on its support page, you currently need a wired connection to hear lossless audio on Apple products, unless you’re using the device’s built-in speakers.

Apple, of course, never talks about new products before they’re announced. But Gary Geaves, Apple’s vice president of acoustics, hinted that the company wants to push the boundaries of Bluetooth technology to improve audio quality when speaking to home entertainment outlet What Hi-Fi.

“There are a number of tricks we can use to maximize or circumvent some of Bluetooth’s limitations,” Geaves told What Hi-Fi in December. “But it’s fair to say we’d like more bandwidth and … I’ll stop right there. We would like to have more bandwidth.”

Continue reading: Apple Watch SE vs. Series 7: Why Apple’s cheaper watch could be the better value

AirPods Pro 2 can lose the stems

It might be time to say goodbye to the glossy white stems AirPods have had since they launched in 2016. Apple’s next AirPods Pro could have a more understated, stem-free look, similar to that Outperforms Studio Buds, according to Bloomberg. This report only says that Apple is testing this type of design, so it’s unknown if it will be the final product design.

If this change is made, it would be the first time Apple has significantly overhauled its true wireless earbuds since the first time they came out AirPods Pro Launched in 2019. It would also make the AirPods Pro look more like competing earbuds SamsungAmazon and Bose, among others.


Unlike Apple’s AirPods, the Beats Studio Buds have a stem-free design.

David Carnoy/CNET

It also raises the question of how Apple will implement touch controls on the next AirPods Pro model. It comes from the current house version Apple’s force sensor, which lets you control media playback and access Siri. Without the stalks, Apple would likely have to place those touch controls on the earbuds themselves, much like they do with the Outperforms Studio Buds.

The AirPods Pro 2 may also get a new case, according to Japanese blog Macotakara. This makes sense considering the case would need to be slightly different to match the new design of the buds. The report gives the dimensions of this new case the same as the AirPods 3, which is water resistant (unlike Apple’s other AirPods cases). An investor note from Kuo, seen by AppleInsider and 9to5Mac, says the charging case for the next-gen AirPods Pro will also be used can make a sound. This is to make it easier to locate a lost or misplaced suitcase.

Continue reading: AirPods Pro 2 could get a redesign that ditches the iconic stems, and that’s a real shame

They could have fitness tracking capabilities

AirPods can do a lot of things, however activity tracking is not one of them. Apple could soon change that with the AirPods Pro 2, which Bloomberg says will feature updated motion-tracking sensors intended for fitness tracking.

The report doesn’t go into further detail, but a 2017 Apple patent filing suggests ways to measure biometric signals via earbuds could be explored.

Apple would join the likes of Jabra and Amazon, both of which already offer fitness-focused features in their respective wireless earbuds. Jabra’s Elite Sport Earbuds can track the number of repetitions during the workout and the heart rate during the Amazon Echo Buds
training can track.

Continue reading: The best training headphones for 2022

11 Apple Airpods Pro

The AirPods Pro (pictured) were launched in 2019, and Apple hasn’t released a new model since then.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What else to expect from the AirPods Pro 2

While Apple hasn’t said anything about its future plans for AirPods, we can infer a lot based on the AirPods AirPods 3. For example, the $179 AirPods offer slightly better battery life than the two more expensive AirPods Pro and the second generation AirPods. It seems plausible that Apple would improve the battery life of the AirPods Pro 2 to at least match, if not surpass, that of the AirPods 3.

It also wouldn’t be surprising if the next AirPods Pro got the AirPods 3’s skin detection sensor, which can more accurately detect when an AirPod touches the wearer’s ear than any other surface.

Another open question is how much the AirPods Pro 2 will cost. Apple sells the current AirPods Pro for $249, although you can usually find them cheaper elsewhere. We don’t know anything for sure about Apple’s future plans.

But if Apple discontinues the original AirPods Pro when it announces the new ones – a strong possibility – it could keep the $249 price tag for the new model. Apple didn’t change the standard price of AirPods when it launched the second generation AirPods in 2019. And while the AirPods Pro might be a bit expensive compared to some of Apple’s competitors, their popularity has proven that people are willing to pay a higher price.

If the rumors are true, the new design and fitness tracking capabilities will be the biggest improvements we can expect. These changes might not be enough to sway someone who recently bought the AirPods Pro. But they might be significant enough to convince those who bought the originals in 2019 to upgrade. We’ll have to wait for Apple to make an announcement to know for sure.

For more information, see Here’s how to find the best AirPods dealsCNET’s list of best apple earbuds for 2022 and 21 AirPods tricks you should try today. You can also check out all the rumors we’ve collected about the iPhone 14.

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