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Apple AirPods Pro 2: Everything we know so far

Apple Airpods Pro
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The AirPods Pro 2 have been a long time coming. Ever since Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecast his predictions back in 2020, earbud fans have speculated how Apple will update its immensely popular AirPods Pro.

The current AirPods Pro are still among the best wireless earbuds thanks to their seamless pairing with popular Apple devices such as the iPhone or iPad, and standout features such as noise-canceling and transparency mode. Apple's next-gen earbuds aren't expected to be much of an upgrade, but they could potentially add more health-focused features. 

Apple released a beta version of the AirPods Pro firmware so Apple Developer Program members could test features before officially being released. This gives us a sneak peek at upcoming features that the AirPods Pro 2 are sure to have, too. September's "California Streaming" event and October's "Unleashed" event in 2021 have already come and gone, which leaves 2022 to be the prime year for the big announcement.

After rummaging through rumors and leaks all about the AirPods Pro 2, take a look at everything we know so far, including the potential release date, price, features and more. As for those itching to get their hands on the original earbuds right now, here's why you should buy the AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro 2 price

Twitter leaker @LeakApplePro claims the AirPods Pro 2 cost the same as its predecessor, with a retail price of $249/£249. This would make the original earbuds irrelevant. Seeing as the AirPods Pro are the middle ground between the cheaper third-generation AirPods (from $179/£169) and the AirPods Max ($549/£549), it makes sense for Apple to stick with this price. 

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However, there are also rumours of an AirPods Pro Lite that will be an entry-level pair of earbuds for the AirPods Pro, with a price point of $199. While this price is much more appealing for wireless earbuds enthusiasts, you'll find plenty of Apple AirPods Pro with price cuts down to $199.

Apple AirPods Pro 2 release date

With the September Apple event and October event in 2021 all wrapped up, we now know the AirPods Pro 2 were definitely not in the cards. However, we did get the AirPods 3, which are the next best thing considering they look near-identical to the AirPods Pro.

Recently, the DigiTimes reported (via MacRumors) that Apple suppliers are gearing up for shipments in preparation for a 2022 launch date, which is expected to be in the second half of this year.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims the second-generation AirPods Pro will be released in the fourth quarter of 2022, meaning we may see a similar release date to Apple's recently launched AirPods 3. The third-gen AirPods launched in late October, giving us a good indication the AirPods Pro 2 will follow suit.

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While Kuo claims we'll see the AirPods Pro 2 in late 2022, leaker FrontTron recently tweeted the AirPods Pro 2 won't release until Q3 of 2022. With this in mind, it's best to take this all in with a pinch of salt. However, Kuo often hits the nail on the head when it comes to rumored Apple products, and was even the first to forecast his predictions about the next-gen AirPods Pro back in 2020. 

Insiders speaking to Bloomberg indicate the AirPods Pro 2 will release as soon as 2022, with the Apple AirPods 3 set to launch in 2021. The latter came true. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman believes there won't be an AirPods Pro hardware refresh until 2022. However, with the recent delay of the rumored OLED iPad Air originally set to arrive in 2022, the second-generation AirPods Pro could be pushed back at any time, too.

According to Kuo (via MacRumors), the second-gen AirPods Pro will launch next year with "innovative" health tracking features.

Originally, according to Taiwanese media company Digitimes and Japanese blog Mac Otakara, the AirPods Pro 2 were slated to release in April during the Apple Event. However, that never happened, meaning the next set of AirPods Pro may still be a while away — more towards the start of 2022.

Apple's first pair of AirPods came on December 13, 2016, with the updated second-generation AirPods on March 20, 2019 and the third-gen AirPods appearing in October, 2021. Judging from this, there's good reason to believe the next pair of AirPods Pro will be released sometime in March or October 2022. 

Apple AirPods Pro 2 design

According to Mac Otakara, the new AirPods Pro is expected to have a more compact design for its charging case, with a new case being 46mm tall and 54mm wide, although it will stay 21mm thick. Essentially, this will make the case slightly thinner, with the current case being 45.2mm tall and 60.6mm wide.

(Image credit: Weibo)

A previous report from Bloomberg suggests Apple will be cutting the stem off of the AirPods Pro 2, while the new AirPods 3 will have a shorter stem like the current AirPods Pro.  

We may already have a sneak peek at the second-generation earbuds, as they are expected to have a similar design to Apple's unannounced Beats Studio Pro earbuds.

Leaked by Apple itself in the iOS 14.6 and tvOS 14.6 beta (and revealed by superstar NBA player LeBron James) the Beats earbuds are completely stemless, with charging cases that look similar to the AirPods Pro's, albeit with more of an oval-shaped design.

The stem of the AirPods Pro are host to a big feature; the squeeze mechanic to pick up phone calls or to control music. However,  the next AirPods Pro could also adopt “in-air gestures,” if a recent patent is anything to go by. Instead of squeezing the stem, as you would with the AirPods Pro, you might hover your hand over the next-gen AirPods to trigger a certain action. 

(Image credit: MacRumors )

As for the AirPods Pro 2's case, MacRumors received alleged images depicting a similar case design with a few tweaks. The image comes from a source named "Xerxes," but has yet to have an established track record when it comes to leaks. According to the report, the case will have speaker holes placed along the bottom, adding a new "Find My" feature that will be available for the case. The source claims it will be introduced in iOS 16.

Along with this, there will be a metal hoop at the side of the case for users to add a strap. Additionally, the leaker claims the AirPods Pro will keep the current design rather than ditching the stem. MacRumors makes it a point to state that the image may not be accurate at all, but until Apple officially announces the next-gen AirPods, it's hard to say otherwise. 

Apple AirPods Pro 2 features

The AirPods Pro 2 are expected to have better battery life, improve the noise-canceling mode, and have “ambient light sensors.” That last feature is expected to be for fitness, which will be able to measure your blood oxygen levels and detect your heart rate. To back this up, Kuo recently stated the AirPods Pro 2 will have "innovative" features, including health tracking.

(Image credit: Apple)

Bloomberg reports the next-gen earbuds will be equipped with motion sensors and fitness tracking tech. It isn't certain if the ambient light sensors will be the motion censors mentioned in the report.

What's more, sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal say other health features will be introduced to next-generation AirPods, including body-temperature detectors, posture-monitoring sensors and hearing-enhancing features. Apparently, Apple is engineering AirPods prototypes that can detect the wearer's core body temperature by analyzing their inner ears. The company may also implement posture-focused motion sensors in the earbuds, allowing AirPods to alert wearers that they're slouching.

Much like how the Apple Watch is catering for health and fitness, hence why users can get three months free when they buy the wearable, the AirPods Pro 2 are looking to be more fitness-focused. However, Apple's upcoming Beats Studio Pro earbuds also cover the fitness aspect of Apple's line of earbuds.

Apple may improve the battery life of the AirPods Pro, too. Currently, they boast up to 24 hours. However, they could be better by upgrading its wireless transmission standard to Bluetooth 5, as pointed out by TechRadar.

While the noise cancellation feature has been favoured by most, the AirPods Pro aren't the best on the market. Many believe the Pro 2 models will have better noise cancellation. When the original earbuds were released, many owners complained that a firmware update made the special feature worse, believing that Apple was trying to prolong the life of the Pro models by reducing the quality of noise cancellation (via The Verge).

Apple is now releasing beta firmware updates for Apple Developer Program members, offering a sneak peek at new features. The beta includes improvements set to arrive in an upcoming firmware update, including spatial sound in FaceTime, Ambient Noise Reduction, and Conversation Boost to increase the volume of conversations. The beta firmware testing gives us a good indication of what we might expect the upgraded AirPods Pro 2 will offer, too.

If there's room for improvement, Apple will surely improve on this feature if they release the AirPods Pro 2.

Apple AirPods Pro 2 outlook

As always, despite reliable sources claiming what they know about Apple’s upcoming products, take all of this with a spoonful of salt. This year has seen a global component shortage, and it’s even hit Apple. This means many products could be indefinitely delayed, and that goes for the AirPods Pro 2.

Apple's next-generation Pro models are shaping up to be a small upgrade from the popular AirPods Pro, much like the jump from the first AirPods to the second-gen AirPods.