Apple doesn’t need to launch the AirPods Pro 2 any time soon — Here’s why

The AirPods Pro being held in hand
The AirPods Pro being held in hand (Image credit: Future)

It’s been rumored for nearly two years that the AirPods Pro 2 are weeks away from their debut. Yeah sure, how many times have we heard that before?

I fell for that same hearsay last year when speculation arose that Apple would make a surprise announcement for their newest noise-cancelling earbuds dropping during the 2021 holiday season. Mind you, this was shortly after the AirPods 3 came out in October. Clearly, that never came to fruition.

Enter 2022: there’s a report almost every month sharing a new, highly anticipated AirPods Pro 2 release date. There's also scuttlebutt of economic setbacks impacting production, causing more delays than the Morbius film. On top of that, you have revered analysts like Ming-Chi Kuo stating Apple will revamp its strategy for the AirPods Pro 2 rollout because of disappointing AirPods 3 sales. 

Whatever is happening with Apple’s upcoming flagship buds, we’re urging them to wait a little longer and get things in order, and we urge you to practice patience too. Let us explain.

The supply chain nightmare

The AirPods Pro and AirPods 2 placed atop of a MacBook Pro (2019)

(Image credit: Future)

No one saw the COVID-19 pandemic coming. We're more than two years in and it’s still rocking the tech industry, specifically global consumer staples from the likes of Apple. Tim Cook admitted to losing 6 billion in sales by means of supply chain issues. More importantly, the processor shortages and COVID-related manufacturing disruptions resulted in manufacturing delays for iPhones, iPads and Macs. If the AirPods Pro 2 are expected to receive a “significantly upgraded chip,” as Kuo claims, then it will likely be affected as well.

AirPods Pro 2 case rumor

(Image credit: MacRumors)

At the start of the year, there was talk of Apple increasing their component orders in preparation for the AirPods Pro 2 launch, per DigiTimes. However, the latest report from Nikkei says that Apple is lowering iPhone and AirPod production due to a slowdown in demand caused by rising inflation and the Ukraine crisis. Not to mention Foxconn, Apple’s primary supplier, recently suspended production at two factories after several COVID-19 cases were reported.

Production halts and a lack of resources won’t just push back the AirPods Pro 2 release date, but these troubles could also lead to other concerns. Functional concerns!

All those rumored upgrades may not the make the cut

Apple AirPods Pro 2

(Image credit: Weibo)

Apple creates roadmaps for all of its products; it’s rare for it to drop slated features it envisions being pivotal for their ecosystem. As with every rumored model of AirPods, the next-gen AirPods Pro are bound to receive many upgrades. The rumor mill suggests a new stem-less design, in-air gestures to activate commands, longer battery life, lossless audio, and enhancements to active noise cancellation and adaptive EQ.

There’s also talk of added fitness features, including body-temperature detectors, posture-monitoring sensors, hearing-enhancing modes, and ambient light sensors that measure blood-oxygen levels and detect heart rate.

Our reviewer testing the AirPods Pro's force sensors

(Image credit: Future)

Functionality on all AirPods is tied to Apple’s H1 chip. Whether Apple decides to take the AirPods Pro 2 down that same path or create an all-new circuitry, less processor availability means more production setbacks. Even worse is the possibility of specific features being cut to accommodate a faster release window.

We don’t want the AirPods Pro 1.5 after three years. Neither do you. Therefore, it only makes sense for Apple to push back the AirPods Pro 2 until they can create the product they intended to from the start.

Apple continues to refresh the AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Future)

There are reasons why the AirPods Pro are among the best wireless earbuds ever made. They offer a well-rounded package that delivers great performance across the board, apart from the short battery life (sorry, but 5 hours max is just too short). The fact that they remain a top seller and gift-guide favorite shows their mass appeal. Three years on the market and Apple is still extending their lifespan with new functionality.

So much was originally introduced on the AirPods Pro when launched in 2019. ANC was a first for the series. The inclusion of an adaptive EQ to automatically adjust frequencies when listening to music was viewed as a breakthrough. Apple’s force sensor became the category’s most reliable and user-friendly control scheme. We can’t forget cool functions like the Ear Tip Fit Test to determine the best tips for optimal fit.

AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The AirPods Pro are still receiving new features via iOS updates. Last year’s updates brought us automatic switching, enhanced Find My for locating misplaced buds, headphone accommodations to customize audio, and the model’s killer feature: spatial audio. We don’t know what’s on the horizon, but based on Apple’s track record, they’re likely working on the next big iOS update that will welcome more perks. Then again, they could save this for the AirPods Pro 2 launch, which would also trickle down to other compatible AirPods models, much like they did with the AirPods 3.

Speaking of the AirPods 3 launch, Apple took the opportunity to re-release the AirPods Pro on the same day, bundling this version with a MagSafe charging case. There was little advertising for this, and only big tech publications reported on it. Nonetheless, this is another demonstration of Apple’s commitment to keeping every AirPods model modernized, and more updates mean they can ride on the AirPods Pro’s coattails for at least another year or two.

Outlook — wait for the AirPods Pro 2, unless you really want noise-cancelling Apple buds

Playing the waiting game with every new Apple release becomes taxing. There’s still no confirmation on what the AirPods Pro 2 will be or when they will launch. And unless you’re connected to an Apple insider, expect to wait longer for this sequel to hit store shelves.

The AirPods Pro wireless earbuds sitting atop of wireless charging case

(Image credit: Future)

It isn’t all bad news though. The more time Apple has to include every component detailed in their roadmap, the more perfect the AirPods Pro 2 will be.

And just because you’re waiting doesn’t mean you have to go without Apple noise-cancelling earbuds. At the time of this writing, the AirPods Pro (MagSafe Version) is on sale for as low as $174 across several major online retailers. This is an amazing deal when considering the generous markdown from the original MSRP ($249).

This is just one journalist’s opinion, but if you’re that committed to Apple releases, then continue holding your breath until the AirPods Pro 2 becomes official. Otherwise, quit denying the inevitable and pick up the original AirPods Pro for now.