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AirPods Pro 2 – coming soon

With less than a week to go until the Far Out event, rumours are growing that AirPods 2 may be launched there. What’s new then?

AirPod Pro 2
image courtesy of author

Techtember is here!

Silly season is very nearly with us. This time next week, Apple’s Far Out event will have been and gone. We know iPhone 14 & Apple Watch 8 will be on show, but how about AirPods Pro 2?

Far Out will be the first of at least two, and possibly three, events from Apple before we wave goodbye to 2022, thus the term Techtember has been coined. Apple has many products to reveal & hopefully release this year. They have their work cutout, that’s for sure. The list could well include;

  • Mac Pro
  • M2 Mac mini
  • M2 derived MacBook Pro 14-inch & 16-inch
  • M2 iMac
  • iPhone
  • Apple Watch
  • AR/VR Headset

That is some list, huh? Add to that macOS, iPadOS and iOS releases, and may be some new or revised iPads, an updated HomePod mini and possibly even a new, full-blown HomePod as well. We’ll certainly have plenty to discuss, dissect, analyse and write about.

But, it is one of the smaller items that interests me the most, and that is the distinct possibility of AirPods Pro finally being updated.

I just love ‘em

Writing this blog, I am actually wearing my current pair of AirPods Pro. And, if you required proof of how much I rate them, I chose the AirPod Pro over four other pairs of headphones with me today.

Just to point out here, I am not some weird headphone hoarder or collector. Ok, weird, possibly on reflection, but I have all these headphones with me, as my next YouTube video will be a beginners buyer’s guide…however, the fact remains, I picked the AirPod Pro over the other pairs within arm’s reach. Why?

Comfort, ease, and convenience, all factored in to the choice. The others are superior dynamically, and in their audio delivery, yet, it is the AirPod Pro that made the cut. I will switch over to a pair of Beyerdynamic 900’s later on when editing the video, but besides that, it’ll be AirPod Pro for most of the day.

More than just headphones

These AirPods just fit in to the day so easily. They have already been out with me on a cardio session this morning, and they are now back in my ears here. I have nearly as many Mac’s as headphones here, and they simply work with them all. No setting up. No fuss. No plugging in, and no trailing cables to consider, either.

From an audio standpoint, they actually deliver an effortless, listening experience, which is just what I’m looking for when consuming music whilst writing. By the way, if you’d not noticed, I now include a link to Apple Music at the bottom of these blogs, letting you know what I’ve been listening to as I write.

It now seems more certain than ever, that AirPod Pro will be updated this year, and more details have come along as to what improvements we can expect.

Time for change

AirPod Pro are now over three years old, so are due a little freshen up. I reckon, the release of AirPod Pro 2, would fit neatly in to the Far Out event, as they are both great accessories for iPhone & Apple Watch. The later events will be more Mac & iPad centred, which clearly are not as much the domain of AirPods. And, being so popular, I can’t see them coming out just as a press release between events.

What to expect?

Early in the rumour circuit, a stem-less, smaller design was muted and kicked about. From all we now know, the iconic shape will remain, though, with no changes to the physical form factor at all.

The H1 chip, will offer self-adapting noise capability. The chip will possibly now be in each AirPod, similar to AirPod Max. Using the available 10 cores in the chip, it should build on an already stellar audio output, with less chance of any de-syncing issues.

On Twitter, I noticed Ming-Chi Kuo tweeting that Apple lossless audio (ALAC) will now be coming to AirPod Pro 2 as well.

As much as I welcome that notion, how they will deliver it intrigues me. Audio is currently delivered to AirPods via Bluetooth. As far as I am aware, the only audio codec that works with Bluetooth is the AAC codec. Lossless audio uses a lot of data, so how that uncompressed data can be popped down the Bluetooth tubes, I will wait eagerly to find out. Have Apple’s engineers somehow come up with an alternative codec solution?

The Bluetooth standard itself is also due a boost to 5.2, which, we believe, will also be in the new AirPod Pro Max when they become available.

The improved Bluetooth connectivity will improve audio delivery as mentioned, offer even better battery life, and allow more than two pairs of headphones to be connected to a single iPhone at any time.

The acoustics technology for AirPod Pro, will be derived from AirPod 3rd generation. This’ll include Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking, Adaptive EQ, along with a custom high-excursion Apple driver and the high dynamic range amplifier.

And what not to expect

Stating the obvious, but because AirPods fit in the ear, many have speculated that they would be ideally suited for measuring your body temperature. I think that is a little premature – well, right now at least.

A body temperature sensor is coming to Apple Watch 8, but Apple has always been keen not to offer up empirical medical data. They’d rather notify you of any upward, or alarming trends than give exact readings. They feel by notifying you of concerning changes, you’d then be in an advanced position to seek professional medical guidance. As AirPods are in ear, I think they probably feel they are getting too near the crossover point of giving an actual temperature measurement. The same also applies to heart rate monitoring. All this may come to AirPods eventually, but not quite yet. A case of watch this space.

One change I wished for, when I recently wrote about five things, I’d love to see improved on the next iteration of AirPod Pro, was for USB-C charging to come to AirPods.

It seems, sadly, that I am about twelve months out on that one! Cynically, I understand why, too. Next fall, legislation is changing. Pretty much globally, USB-C charging will be mandated as the standard connector on all, small, handheld electronic devices.

By not including USB-C on this year’s AirPods 2 release, it will mean there will be a compelling reason that may tempt some owners to replace their AirPod Pro 2 after only one year, for the convenience of USB-C charging.

And the final thing not to expect, any time soon, is that AirPods will in some way act as a hearing aid or device. 52audio.com recently published a story, which focused on the speaker grill & cutout on the new case for AirPod Pro.

As far as I am aware, that speaker is there simply to utilise the FindMy network better, and emit a sound when your AirPods get lost. In the article, they carry on to say, that audio was going to be stored or collected in the case, and then sent to your AirPods. I think they were also suggesting that what we all assume to be a simple hoop for attaching your case to a lanyard, will actually be, in some way, part of the hearing device set-up.

Either, they have the inside scoop on a story everyone else has missed, or they are wide-of-the-mark.

Wrapping up

After three highly successful years, AirPod Pro are due a little love, and a freshen-up. The entire range of AirPods have been hugely successful for the company, and even at the slightly higher price point of £239, AirPods Pro, have held their own.

I swapped over to the Pro’s from an original pair of base level AirPods about six months ago. I can tell you, the benefits of AirPod Pro are massive, over the entry-level pairs. This year’s changes look to improving on an already winning formula.

Kerr–ching – count me in Tim!

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Get in the vibe and listen along to today’s chosen soundtrack. I wrote this whilst listening to https://music.apple.com/gb/album/love-city/268894456

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