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Apple reportedly plans to introduce the second-generation AirPods Pro alongside the iPhone 14 during a special event at Steve Jobs Theater this Wednesday. If you are considering upgrading to the new AirPods Pro once they are released, keep reading for a list of new features and improvements that have been rumored so far.

airpods-pro-black-background.jpg

In addition to all-new features, the second-generation AirPods Pro will likely adopt some features added to the third-generation standard AirPods last year. The new AirPods Pro might also adopt Bluetooth's LE Audio specification, which would have several benefits.

H2 Chip With Improved Audio Quality

The new AirPods Pro will feature a "significantly upgraded" 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."

Kuo did not elaborate on what benefits the new chip would provide, but given that the H1 chip powers audio-related functions, the upgraded chip in the second-generation AirPods Pro could result in improvements to sound quality, latency, active noise cancellation, Transparency mode, features powered by Siri, and more.

The upgraded chip could also enable Apple Lossless audio support.

It's possible the new AirPods Pro will feature Bluetooth 5.2 or higher with support for LE Audio. The specification includes a new low-power audio codec called LC3 that provides improved audio quality compared to the classic SBC codec, even at a 50% lower bit rate, according to the Bluetooth SIG organization.

Longer Battery Life

While there haven't been any firm rumors about the new AirPods Pro featuring longer battery life, it's reasonable to expect improvements in this area given that nearly three years have passed since the original AirPods Pro launched.

Apple's standard third-generation AirPods released last year provide 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 cancellation and Transparency mode turned off, the AirPods Pro last up to five hours per charge, which is still less than the third-generation AirPods.

One way the new AirPods Pro could achieve longer battery life is by adopting LE Audio's low-power LC3 audio codec as rumored.

Revamped Charging Case

The new AirPods Pro charging case is expected to gain Find My support, allowing users to track the location of the case in the Find My app in the event it is lost or misplaced, even when the AirPods Pro are not placed in the case. Earlier this year, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the case will be able to emit a sound when lost, with alleged renders of the case showing it will have speaker holes along the bottom.

magsafe-airpods.jpeg

It's also likely 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 have water resistance and not the case.

The charging case is expected to stick with Lightning this year before switching to USB-C alongside the iPhone 15 in 2023.

It may also be possible to attach a lanyard to the new case.

Improved In-Ear Detection

Yet another feature that the next AirPods Pro will likely adopt from the third-generation AirPods is a skin-detect sensor for more accurate in-ear detection compared to the dual optical sensors in the original AirPods Pro.

Apple says the skin-detect sensor "accurately discerns if AirPods are in the ear — versus in a pocket or on a table — and pauses playback when removed."

Fitness Tracking

In May 2021, Bloomberg's Mark 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 any further details about the feature.

AirPods Pro are already equipped with a motion-detecting accelerometer, and it's possible that improvements to this sensor would allow for some fitness tracking capabilities, but Apple's exact plans remain to be seen. On a potentially related note, iOS 16 allows the Fitness app to be used on an iPhone without an Apple Watch.

LE Audio Benefits

In 2020, Bluetooth 5.2 was introduced with support for a new LE Audio specification. At least two Apple employees are listed as participants in the development of LE Audio, and Apple is likely to adopt the specification for use in future devices.

LE Audio would be particularly beneficial for AirPods. Below, we've outlined five benefits that LE Audio would have for future AirPods Pro, assuming that source devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac are also upgraded with support for the specification in the future.
  • Improved audio quality: LE Audio includes a new low-power audio codec called LC3 that provides improved audio quality compared to the classic SBC codec, even at a 50% lower bit rate, according to the Bluetooth SIG.
  • Longer battery life: With the low-power LC3 audio codec, future AirPods Pro would have longer battery life for audio playback.
  • Multi-stream audio: LE Audio would enable the transmission of multiple synchronized audio streams between a source device like an iPhone or Mac and the AirPods Pro. This would allow for an individual left and right AirPod to each have its own Bluetooth audio connection with a device supporting LE Audio for improved reliability.
  • Connect many pairs of AirPods to an iPhone at once: LE Audio would allow for many pairs of AirPods to directly connect to a future iPhone, iPad, Mac, or other device and play audio simultaneously. Apple already has a feature that allows an iPhone or iPad user with AirPods to share audio with another person with AirPods, but the feature does not work with more than two pairs of AirPods.
  • No switching between iPhone and Mac required: LE Audio would allow AirPods to connect to multiple source devices like an iPhone and Mac simultaneously, eliminating the need to switch the AirPods between devices.
In July, the Bluetooth SIG said it anticipates availability of products with support for LE Audio to ramp up by the end of 2022.

Major Design Changes Unlikely

Back in 2020, Gurman and Wu reported that Apple had tested a more compact design for the new AirPods Pro that would eliminate the stems below the earbuds, similar to Beats Studio Buds. However, more recent rumors suggest that the second-generation AirPods Pro will not have any significant outward-facing design changes.

Article Link: What to Expect From AirPods Pro 2 at Tomorrow's Apple Event
 

Kylo83

macrumors 601
Apr 2, 2020
4,147
13,506
No lossless support is upsetting, what’s the point of having lossless on iPhones when we can’t hear it
 
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B4rbelith

macrumors regular
Oct 22, 2020
138
462
Better durability is the primary objective here. I've gone through three pairs in the three years I've owned them. Credit to Apple, they replaced them every time, but it must be costing them a fortune to do that.
 

elementalwingma

macrumors regular
Nov 23, 2014
217
151
I'll upgrade if we get significantly enhanced sound quality. I thought they were fine for what they were but then after trying the Sony WF-1000XM4 out of pure curiosity they don't even come close.
 

MrRom92

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2021
953
2,017
I am cautiously optimistic, I would like lossless-capable AirPods but unless Apple has their own secret wireless protocol we don’t know about yet, Bluetooth tech just isn’t capable enough. If they manage to go lossless at 16/44.1 minimum I will finally become an AirPods owner, if not… no sweat off my back.
 

metalsiren

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2017
897
1,603
that and improved ANC, I mean the ANC is good dont get me wrong but Sony and Bose current models are way stronger. and a new Bose will be out this week
 

ELman

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2017
523
1,420
My iPhone 13 Pro has "Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology" I assume new hardware (iPhone 14) is required for Bluetooth 5.2 and the ability to use LE audio. Or can this be updated thru firmware?
 

JTK Awesome

macrumors 6502
Jun 26, 2022
255
319
Boston, MA, USA
Apple needs to ditch the goofy eartip design and use normal press-on tips like the Beats Fit Pro and others. That snap-in arrangement is a Rube Goldberg solution looking for a problem. BFP sound quality, noise isolation, and noise cancelling work great (ditto for Jabra and many others!) and Apple should take note. They should also note that oval eartips in the currently offered sizes just don't work.

My big ears would like to see 5 sizes (including 1 larger than the current largest) instead of the current 3. My right ear could never seal long-term with the largest tip. My left ear is in between Medium (no seal) and Large (painful seal). SpinFit have solved this for me but an Apple product shouldn't need a 3rd-party solution to get good eartips.

And I almost forgot, whatever material Apple used for the AirPods Pro tips is terrible. It gets too slick too fast and, combined with the odd shape, they inevitably push themselves out of my ears after a few minutes.
 

applewatchpro

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Sep 6, 2022
19
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Honestly that sounds like too much to be true. It's several years worth of improvements at once, but still. Since when does Apple just improve something this much and not invent a new name or price for it?
 
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applewatchpro

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Sep 6, 2022
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- What about the tips? Are we going to be stuck with the same silicon tips with their weak structure? Many people, myself included, can't even use the included tips because they will just slide or squeeze right out. We're dependent on crappy third party foam tips to have something that will stay put. I'm getting tired of foam tips that disintegrate every couple of weeks and leave bits of foam in your ear canal.

- Can they make a case that doesn't explode open when you drop it on the ground and send the AirPods careening under the nearest furniture?
 
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syklee26

macrumors 6502a
Jul 26, 2005
923
2,536
Fact is that you CAN listen to lossless audio on iPhone.... if you use proper dongles. I know it is not a perfect solution but I am just saying that you could technically listen to them.

Lossless on AirPods Pro would be great, but Bluetooth just doesn't have enough bandwidth to support lossless. I think the best available wireless codec in terms of bandwidth is LDAC at 990kb, but (1) iPhone does not support the codec and (2) even at 990kb it is not truly lossless.

I think iPhone and AirPods Pro will have to support Wifi Direct or something in that nature to truly get us lossless streaming.
 

bigjnyc

macrumors 604
Apr 10, 2008
7,969
6,964
What if Apple introduces matte black or product red AirPods? Legendary!
Would be cool but highly doubtful.. The white earbuds have become iconic at this point and Apple enjoys pretty much free advertising from the millions of people walking around with them in their ears.

For me personally I am very intrigued by this LE technology and would definitely consider upgrading if it's included... But otherwise don't really see anything compelling outside of that.... My current Airpods pro still work wonderfully and save for one long flight I had recently I have not had any issues with battery life.
 

MrRom92

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2021
953
2,017
Fact is that you CAN listen to lossless audio on iPhone.... if you use proper dongles. I know it is not a perfect solution but I am just saying that you could technically listen to them.

Lossless on AirPods Pro would be great, but Bluetooth just doesn't have enough bandwidth to support lossless. I think the best available wireless codec in terms of bandwidth is LDAC at 990kb, but (1) iPhone does not support the codec and (2) even at 990kb it is not truly lossless.

I think iPhone and AirPods Pro will have to support Wifi Direct or something in that nature to truly get us lossless streaming.
It’s been possible to pipe full-fat 16/44.1 into our ears for over 40 years, anything’s possible when cables are involved… I think the great hope and dream is that we might be able to finally match that wirelessly, with all the convenience and niceties that AirPods have to offer. Just without the necessitated signal degradation and subpar fidelity.

I believe that as part of the newer Bluetooth audio standards, the left and right channels are broadcast separately to each device?
That in itself halves the bitrate needed to communicate with each earbud (at 16/44.1) from 1411Kbps to 705Kbps, and that’s before any compression takes place such as FLAC/ALAC which could significantly reduce the necessary bitrate for each channel even further.

It may not be completely infeasible given current tech standards, it’s just a matter of whether or not apple has cared enough to find a way to implement it and make it happen
 

bigjnyc

macrumors 604
Apr 10, 2008
7,969
6,964
- What about the tips? Are we going to be stuck with the same silicon tips with their weak structure? Many people, myself included, can't even use the included tips because they will just slide or squeeze right out. We're dependent on crappy third party foam tips to have something that will stay put. I'm personally I'm getting tired of foam tips that disintegrate every couple of weeks and leave bits of foam in your ear canal.

- Can they make a case that doesn't explode open when you drop it on the ground and send the AirPods careening under the nearest furniture?

Get yourself a pair of these, they are a bit pricey but will last you months easily. I would just avoid the white because they get really dirty

 
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applewatchpro

Suspended
Sep 6, 2022
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Fact is that you CAN listen to lossless audio on iPhone.... if you use proper dongles. I know it is not a perfect solution but I am just saying that you could technically listen to them.

Lossless on AirPods Pro would be great, but Bluetooth just doesn't have enough bandwidth to support lossless. I think the best available wireless codec in terms of bandwidth is LDAC at 990kb, but (1) iPhone does not support the codec and (2) even at 990kb it is not truly lossless.

I think iPhone and AirPods Pro will have to support Wifi Direct or something in that nature to truly get us lossless streaming.
I've been listening to lossless on iPhone for almost a decade. I had FLAC apps and Phillips Fidelio lightning headphones with an onboard 24-bit DAC before most of these people even knew what lossless was. This faux outrage is amusing.
 
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applewatchpro

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Get yourself a pair of these, they are a bit pricey but will last you months easily. I would just avoid the white because they get really dirty

What is special about these vs. every other 3rd party foam tip, like Comply foam?
 
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