Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro is finally nearing launch, with a release expected later this year. If you’re considering upgrading to the new AirPods Pro as soon as they’re released, read on for a list of five new features to expect.
In addition to all-new features, the second-generation AirPods Pro will likely inherit some of the features added to the standard AirPods last year.
The new AirPods Pro will feature a “significantly improved” wireless chip compared to the H1 chip in the original AirPods Pro, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The new chip could be branded as an “H2 chip” given the improvements.
Kuo didn’t elaborate on the benefits the new chip would bring, but since the H1 chip enables audio-related functions, the improved chip in the second-generation AirPods Pro could lead to improvements in sound quality, latency, active noise cancellation, transparency mode, features powered by Siri and more.
The improved chip may also enable Apple Lossless audio support.
Longer battery life
While there are no firm rumors about the new AirPods Pro with longer battery life, it is reasonable to expect improvements in this area given that almost three years have passed since the original AirPods Pro was launched.
Apple’s standard third-generation AirPods released last year offer up to six hours of listening time per charge, compared to up to 4.5 hours for the current AirPods Pro. Even with Active Noise Canceling and Transparency Mode turned off, the AirPods Pro last up to five hours on a single charge, which is still less than the third-generation AirPods.
Charging case improvements
The charging case for the new AirPods Pro may emit a sound, making it easier to locate the case when it’s lost, Kuo said. AirPods Pro can already be tracked via the Find My app on an iPhone, but the charging case cannot play sound.
It is also likely that the new AirPods Pro charging case will have IPX4-rated water and sweat resistance like the charging case for the third-generation AirPods. Currently only the AirPods Pro earbuds are water resistant and not the case.
The charging case is expected to stay with Lightning before switching to USB-C in 2023.
Improved in-ear detection
Yet another feature that the next AirPods Pro will likely inherit from the third-generation AirPods is a skin-sensing sensor for more accurate in-ear detection compared to the dual optical sensors in the original AirPods Pro.
Apple says the skin-detection sensor “accurately distinguishes whether AirPods are in the ear — versus in a pocket or on a table — and pauses playback when they’re removed.”
In May 2021, BloombergMark Gurman and Debby Wu reported that the second-generation AirPods Pro would include “updated motion sensors with a focus on fitness tracking,” but the report did not provide further details on the feature.
AirPods Pro already come equipped with a motion-detecting accelerometer, and improvements to this sensor may enable some fitness tracking capabilities, but Apple’s exact plans are yet to be revealed. On a possibly related note: iOS 16 allows the Fitness app to be used on an iPhone without an Apple Watch.
Design and release date
In 2020, Gurman and Wu reported that Apple tested a more compact design for the new AirPods Pro that would eliminate the stems under the earbuds, similar to Beats Studio Buds. However, more recent rumors suggest that the second-generation AirPods Pro will not see any significant outward-looking design changes.
AirPods Pro was introduced with an Apple Newsroom press release on October 28, 2019 and launched two days later. The new AirPods Pro are expected to launch in late 2022, with September or October being the two most likely months for the headphones’ launch. AirPods Pro currently cost $249 in the United States, although they are often discounted by resellers such as Amazon and Best Buy.