Apple will likely release the AirPods Pro 2 during today’s “Far Out” event. This new generation could bring a new design, innovative Lossless support, as well as fitness sensors for the first time. Head below as we round up the latest rumors about this product that could launch during the iPhone 14 event.
AirPods Pro 2: New form factor?
By the beginning of 2022, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that AirPods Pro 2 would feature a new form factor design closer to the 2021 Beats Fit Pro. With that, these wireless earbuds would lose their sterns by likely featuring an in-ear wingtip design.
Then in June, a new leak by 52audio – which correctly predicted the AirPods 3 design – shows that AirPods Pro 2 will likely feature a similar design to the current generation, but with a tweak on the ear tips.
Rumors also believe the charging case will remain 21mm thick, while it will be 46mm tall and 54mm wide. For comparison’s sake, the current AirPods Pro charging case measures 45.2mm tall and 60.6mm wide.
As of now, no leaker or analyst predicted new colors for the AirPods Pro 2, although it’s likely that Apple will maintain only a white version of the product.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was also the first to report that Apple is planning to bring Lossless support to the AirPods Pro 2. He wrote back in January:
We expect Apple to launch AirPods Pro 2 in 4Q22 with new selling points, including a new form factor design, support for Apple Lossless (ALAC) format, and a charging case that can emit a sound for users to track. We are optimistic about the demand for AirPods Pro 2 and estimate shipments will reach 18–20mn units in 2022.
By the end of 2021, AirPods’ creator addressed the limitations of Bluetooth in an interview. Gary Geaves, Apple’s VP of Acoustics, has said that Apple would really like a wireless standard that allows for more bandwidth.
“Obviously the wireless technology is critical for the content delivery that you talk about,” he says, “so we have to concentrate very hard on squeezing the most that we can out of the Bluetooth technology, and there’s a number of tricks we can play to maximize or get around some of the limits of Bluetooth. But it’s fair to say that we would like more bandwidth and… I’ll stop right there. We would like more bandwidth,” he smiles.
If analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is right, Apple is probably adopting a new standard to offer Lossless support with AirPods Pro 2.
New chip and low-energy Bluetooth support
9to5Mac sources confirm that the next-generation AirPods Pro – codenamed B698 – will feature the next version of the H1 chip, Apple’s own audio processor. In addition, references for LC3 codec support on the AirPods Max beta firmware tease that AirPods Pro 2 could be the first to add Bluetooth 5.2 support.
This codec will bring more stability and efficiency to wireless earbuds. Not only that, but this new standard will help AirPods Pro 2 improve the sound quality for voice calls and songs with higher-bitrate support. Although low-energy Bluetooth and LC3 codec don’t promise “Lossless Bluetooth,” they will surely improve sound quality by a lot.
Kuo also believes that “AirPods may support health management functions in the future,” corroborating previous reports.
A study led by Apple shows how AirPods could be used to monitor respiratory rate. The study found that this audio can be a “viable signal for passively estimating” respiratory rates, also making it a more cost-effective way of doing so compared to traditional healthcare.
Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman first believed AirPods Pro 2 would have new fitness tracking features, but by the beginning of July, the journalist said Apple won’t add any health sensor to this year’s model.
This years’ AirPods Pro are unlikely to get heart-rate monitoring. As I’ve been reporting for a while now, Apple is gearing up to launch new AirPods Pro later this year.
Lightning or USB-C connector?
In May, Kuo predicted that this wireless earbuds charging case will still feature a Lightning port for charging, dashing hopes for a switchover to USB-C this year.
Kuo reported in May that Apple is currently testing the iPhone 15 with a USB-C port for charging. The analyst also predicted that when (or if) the iPhone switches to USB-C charging, Apple will also transition AirPods and other accessories to USB-C.
In June, 52audio speculated that the updated charging case for the AirPods Pro 2 will switch to USB-C based on its leaked images, as you can see here.
When will Apple release AirPods Pro 2?
The original AirPods Pro was first released by the end of 2019. Ming-Chi Kuo believes that AirPods Pro 2 is expected to enter mass production during the second half of the year. He also notes that AirPods Pro 2 will be manufactured in Vietnam, signaling a reduction in Apple’s reliance on China.
This comes after the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has informed some of its suppliers that it wants to shift production from China to hubs in Vietnam and India.
Previously, Kuo said AirPods Pro 2 would launch around Q4 of 2022, meaning the product could see the light of day around September-November, depending on Apple’s plan to announce this product alongside new iPhones, Mac, or iPads. With an event scheduled for September 7, this could be the perfect time to see the company unveiling this next generation.
How much will AirPods Pro 2 cost?
As of now, rumors don’t account for AirPods Pro 2 pricing. Currently, the first generation costs $249. If Apple adds new health sensors to this product + Lossless support, it’s likely that Apple could increase its price tag up to $50.
It’s also important to take a look at the company’s strategy with AirPods 3. Kuo described it as a “failed product segmentation strategy,” by saying Apple will likely discontinue AirPods Pro when launching the new model.
AirPods 3 orders for 2-3Q22 have been cut by 30%+. Due to the failed product segmentation strategy, demand for AirPods 3 is significantly weaker than for AirPods 2. AirPods Pro may get discontinued after Apple launches AirPods Pro 2 in 2H22 to avoid repeating the same mistake.
There’s a lot to be excited about the new AirPods model. If rumors turn out to be true, expect Lossless playback, a new form factor, and health and fitness sensors.