The AirPods Pro 2 were officially announced at Apple's September “Far Out” event. Since their release, the new AirPods Pro have been hailed as one of the market’s best noise-cancelling earbuds. Laptop Mag even awarded them a 5-star rating, praising the follow-up for their personalized 3D sound, smart active noise cancellation (ANC), and longer battery life.
Despite the critical acclaim, there are some Apple fanboys who aren’t completely satisfied with the final product. The reason: lack of new features, which leaks, reports, and industry insiders had us believing would be in abundance. Only a mere handful made the cut.
Whether there are plans to add previously anticipated features in a future iOS update or leave them on the cutting room floor is unknown. Some of them may not even exist and will live on theoretically in Reddit forums. What we do know is that a few could have made these practically perfect wireless earbuds essentially flawless.
Here are 5 of the best features Apple should have introduced on the AirPods Pro 2.
Interrupt for noise-cancelling audio devices
At the beginning of this year, AppleInsider (opens in new tab) spotted a patent entitled “Interrupt for Noise-Cancelling Audio Devices” that would introduce a more enhanced version of transparency mode. The feature would allow users to specify a “pre-designated contact” that an Apple audio device would recognize as an “interrupt authorized contact.”
In other words, this would make the AirPods Pro 2 smart enough to determine whose voices can be heard and whose should be cancelled out, based on personal preferences. In addition, the patent suggests multiple voices could be approved as interrupters, and that the buds could respond to pre-determined keywords.
Just think of how clutch this would be for commutes, office use, and when your partner needs a hand.
When it comes to sound, Apple is focused solely on its Spatial Audio 360-degree sound format. However, more high-end wireless earbuds are jumping on the lossless audio bandwagon, giving the competition a serious sonic advantage.
It was rumored at one point that Apple was developing a new lossless codec, which would let the AirPods Pro 2 play back music at a higher quality on compatible devices. That turned out to be false.
The AirPods Pro 2 operates on Bluetooth 5.3, but the product would require extra hardware (likely a Qualcomm processor) to deliver lossless audio. It’s possible that the feature is part of the AirPods roadmap and could be in the works.
Built-in health tracking
Apple has done a tremendous job of building out their health platform on iOS. The current push for Apple Fitness+ on non-Apple Watch devices (set to launch on iPhone/iPad this month as part of iOS 16.1) shows the company is ready to expand their fitness ecosystem. It would have been even greater if the AirPods Pro 2 supported the on-demand workout service or the numerous other health features that were rumored these past two years.
Buzz of the next-gen AirPods receiving a built-in heart rate and body temperature sensor was killed when Bloomberg's Mark Gurman (via the Power On newsletter) was told that "neither feature is likely to arrive in the 2022 upgrade."
Were they just officially scrapped? Not that we’re aware of, but Gurman believes they could arrive in another future product. Two other fitness features previously suggested by experts include body-temperature detectors and posture-monitoring sensors.
Other rivals are leaping ahead of the AirPods Pro 2 in terms of fitness functionality. The Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 has a heart rate sensor, and the Honor EarBuds 3 Pro comes with temperature monitoring technology.
One of the oldest Apple rumors is still going strong today. Current iPads and MacBook Pros support USB-C charging, and the company just confirmed the iPhone will adopt the feature to comply with European Union law.
Any hopes of seeing it on the AirPods Pro 2 were crushed when Apple supply chain expert Ming-Chi Kuo (opens in new tab) confirmed the company was keeping its proprietary Lightning connector to power up their next-gen buds.
USB-C is the more practical charging solution and gives gadget owners many benefits. For one, it delivers significantly faster transfer speeds than Lightning: up to 40Gbps versus 480Mbps. Power delivery is increased for better fast charging. Furthermore, Apple keeps its technology exclusive to their devices, whereas USB-C is compatible with a wide array of devices across all platforms.
Better Android support
Apple is petty, and it shows in their engineering practices. We understand why Siri remains exclusive to Apple products, but to leave the digital assistant function disabled and not allow for Google Assistant, Bixby or Alexa use is just cold. Even more frustrating is the pairing process, which often sees the AirPods struggle to establish a connection on non-iOS and macOS platforms, specifically Android.
As if that wasn’t enough, the AirPods Pro 2 brought about more technical issues. During our testing, we noticed bugs like audio muting after 30 seconds of playback on media apps like Spotify and YouTube. Apple’s AAC codec didn’t perform well either.
It’s not like Apple doesn’t have a solution for better Android support. They created the Beats Studio Buds specifically for this matter, allowing for seamless connectivity and use between both iOS and Android devices. These buds even support the Beats app that is available for download in the Google Play store for extended functionality.
Apple and Beats’ offerings operate on different chip sets – the Studio Buds was designed with dual-platform, custom architecture. You’re telling me Apple can’t figure out a way to make their all-new H2 processor more Android-friendly? C’mon now.
Outlook – don’t expect to see these features anytime soon
Apple will definitely update the AirPods Pro 2 with new functions over its life cycle. It’s also a possibility that Apple relaunches the model in two years with new hardware stuffed underneath the hood to accommodate such features. Remember, they did update the original AirPods Pro with a MagSafe charging case during the AirPods 3 launch.
We’re only few weeks into the AirPods Pro 2’s release, so the thought of any major updates being introduced right away is foolish. If there’s anything in the works, it’ll likely be small improvements like fixed bugs or better mic performance on calls.
Big features are going to take time, which means living with your frustrations a little longer.