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Apple AirPods Pro 2: Price, release date, features, and more

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. 

Recently, 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. The tech giant is expected to host multiple events this fall, kicking off this September. While the AirPods Pro 2 haven't been tipped to launch by then, only time will tell.

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 with 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 second-generation AirPods (from $159/£159) 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 now all wrapped up, we now know the AirPods Pro 2 were definitely not in the cards. The AirPods 3 weren't announced either. There are still multiple Apple events expected in 2021, including the Apple 'Unleashed' event on October 18, but expect a new pair of AirPods rather than a new pair of AirPods Pro.

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. That said, 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. Now, the AirPods 3 are expected to launch with the iPhone 13 rumored to arrive later this year, leaving the Pro models for a later date.

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. Judging from this, there's good reason to believe the next pair of AirPods Pro will be released sometime in March 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. 

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.