What can we expect from AirPods Pro 2?
Do you recall those halcyon days when we used to get a free pair of headphones along with our new iPhones? Doesn’t seem that long ago, does it, but in truth, it is over five years now since we had headphones, free in the box. At the time, there were the normal moans and groans, but as ever, we accepted what Apple dealt us and moved on. Not only that, as we are about to find out, they have become a hugely important part of Apple’s business. So let’s look forward to AirPods Pro 2 shall we…
Apple has been a titan of the tech industry forever, it seems. Being the first company to hit both the $1 trillion and $2 trillion market cap milestones. The company is currently worth more than all FTSE 100 companies combined. The astonishing fact is, AirPods alone now generate $23.05 billion! If you combined the revenue from Twitter, Spotify andSquare, AirPods wins hands down! In fact, it even gives Netflix a damned good run for its money as well. Based on revenue, the AirPod side of Apple’s business alone is worth a staggering $240 billion.
Where did it all start?
In essence, the AirPods we wear today are not all that different from those early, wired ones. Of course, the one major difference is that AirPods are wireless, Bluetooth headphones, designed by Apple. They were first announced on 7 September 2016 along with iPhone7. They rapidly became Apple’s best-selling, and favourite accessory. AirPods are now the entry-level model in a three-model lineup which includes AirPod Pro (more of which later), and AirPod Max. 2019 saw the first upgrade to AirPods with the 2nd -generation featuring the H1 chip and better Siri integration. Last year we had another improvement to the perennial favourites, now with a shorter stem and MagSafe charging capability.
The Pros introduced in 2019 with the H1 chip, active noise-cancelling (ANC) and transparency mode were an immediate success. The improvements over standard AirPods made these a worthy trade up. Many owners of the original, or even second and third generation AirPods, decided that the extra functionality warranted the spend. The latest of those improvements includes Adaptive EQ and Spatial Audio. So, with AirPod Pro still attracting good sales, the company have decided a facelift and freshen up is in order. Unlike last year, with the second and third generation of AirPods being on sale side-by-side, when AirPod Pro 2 drop later this year, they will be the only version available. What do we suspect the new AirPod Pros will hold in store for us? That is what I am about to look in to.
Of course, AirPod Pro are easily recognisable from the base model, due to the much smaller stems. According to Bloomberg, the newer version may be even more compact, possibly with no stem at all. Apple is testing a much more rounded, budlike design, possibly reminiscent of the Google Pixel Buds. That said, it is no walk in the park to achieve the desired design, which is proving a challenge. The most recent leaked images, supplied to MacRumours, clearly show the stems are still in place.
The go-to Apple leaker, Ming-Chi Kuo, believes that AirPod Pro 2 will feature Lossless Audio. No one is totally sure how they will achieve this though. AirPods play music via Bluetooth. Currently, Bluetooth is limited to the AAC codec. Simply put, not enough data can be pushed through Bluetooth to deliver Lossless Audio. It would appear the company is working on a solution though, so that Apple Lossless Audio files could be streamed, somehow circumnavigating the existing Bluetooth technology.
One of the biggest problems of AirPod is also their strength. They are small. This makes them super portable, light and comfy to use, but also ever so easy to misplace. We can expect the next-generation to have far better Find My integration, which allows them to emit a sound, so finding lost AirPods should become a little easier later this year. The recently leaked images lend to this idea too. The case appears to have speaker holes, which, we assume, is for the Find Myfunction. The case also seems to have space where you’ll be able to attach a lanyard. Why you’d want to, an altogether different question, though!
Fitness has become hugeto Apple, so it seems logical to expect further Fitness integration to be a part of AirPod Pro 2 this fall. Some kind of fitness tracking could be added through the built-in motion sensors. Other than that, of course, they will have all the currently available features such as Spatial Audio, ANC and Transparency Mode, but also improved device switching and faster device pairing.
Nothing certain yet, but Kuo is suggesting the back half of the year. The September or October event would seem a natural event at which to show these, with an immediate release thereafter. Prices, again, are yet to be confirmed also.
Are they worth it?
My timing could not have been worse, but I have just traded up to AirPod Pro in the last month. If you are still on the base model AirPods, then trust me, the improved audio, and functionality make the spend well worth it. That said, if I had my time over, I would probably have waited a few months longer. So, for now, I’d recommend making do with your current AirPods, and look out for AirPod Pro 2 this autumn.
Are you an AirPod wearer? What are looking for in AirPod Pro 2?
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