The AirPods Pro are Apple’s answer to high-end true wireless earbuds, offering an improved fit, active noise cancellation, Dolby Atmos audio support and much more – but even capable buds like the AirPods Pro can grow long in the tooth, and fans are beginning to think about the next-gen AirPods Pro 2.
While there are disputes about the changes on offer, the new AirPods Pro could feature an even smaller design alongside improved ANC capabilities when they’re released in 2022. Here’s all you need to know.
When will the AirPods Pro 2 release?
While there were several reports claiming the AirPods Pro 2 could appear in the first half of 2021, as we now know, that never happened.
They also didn't launch at Apple's early September event when it introduced a new 10.2in iPad, iPad mini, Apple Watch 7, and iPhone 13, nor at the subsequent October event when the company unveiled the AirPods 3 and updated MacBook 14 & 16.
So, when should we expect to see the next-gen Pro earbuds?
Ming-chi Kuo suggested back in April 2020 that the AirPods Pro 2 won’t go into mass production until Q4 2021 with release set for Q1 2022. While not much was said for over a year, Kuo then reiterated the claim in a June 2021 note to investors, suggesting the timeline could be set in stone.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman also suggests the second-gen AirPods Pro are due to be released in 2022, though a specific release window is yet to be confirmed.
However, while leaker @LeaksApplePro previously agreed with Kuo's timeline, that has since changed. Tweeting in October 2021, the leaker now suggests that the AirPods Pro 2 might not make an appearance until Q3 2022, though there was no reason for the supposed delay provided.
While that may be disappointing, the good news is that the AirPods 3 are available to order now if you can't wait to get your hands on a new pair of Apple-branded buds.
How much will the AirPods Pro 2 cost?
The good news – if you can call it good considering the premium price of the buds – is that Apple is looking to keep the AirPods Pro 2 at the same £239/$249 price tag as the original Pro buds. It makes sense considering just how popular the AirPods Pro are, even close to two years after release, still managing to attract an audience at the high-end price tag.
We’ve got a roundup of the best true wireless earbuds if you’re on the market for something a little cheaper and, y’know, available to buy right now.
What about the AirPods Pro 2 design?
Apple's updated AirPods 3 sport a similar design to the first-gen AirPods Pro, so it makes sense that Apple might be ready to change things up in its Pro line to keep things distinct. A late 2020 Bloomberg report sheds some light on possible design changes from the upcoming Pro buds.
According to the publication, Apple is looking to make the AirPods Pro 2 even more compact, possibly by removing the stem that houses the beamforming mics and other smart technology. If Apple goes ahead with the redesign, the AirPods Pro 2 could look similar in shape to the stemless Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro or second-gen Google Pixel Buds.
The problem, it seems, is fitting all the required tech into an even smaller design, with Apple reportedly struggling to integrate the various antennae, microphones and tech into a stemless AirPod chassis. That could have implications on the overall design plans depending on how development pans out in the coming months.
It’s also said that the AirPods Pro 2 charging case could be slightly thinner and taller, measuring in at 46mm tall and 54mm wide respectively compared to the 45.2mm x 60.6mm dimensions of the current case, but that likely won’t be noticeable unless you put both cases side-by-side.
What will be the new AirPods Pro 2 features?
There aren’t many details about the new tech and features the AirPods Pro 2 could offer, but you should expect the same headline features – including ANC, transparency mode and Dolby Atmos support – as the first-gen buds.
It's also almost certain that the case will include support for MagSafe charging - added retroactively to the first-gen AirPods Pro after its introduction in the AirPods 3.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman suggests that the second-gen AirPods Pro could feature motion sensors to power fitness tracking features, though it's unclear whether that's a result of hardware in the buds or iOS software.
However, Twitter leaker @LeaksApplePro suggests that there won’t be a huge upgrade on offer from the second-gen buds, claiming that there will only be slight improvements to battery life and noise cancellation and comparing it to the minimal update between the first- and second-gen AirPods.