I have bought two pairs of AirPods Pro this year, and the second pair still continue to surprise me
Far Out has a lot to answer for!
I didn’t need another pair of AirPod Pro…
I recall settling down to watch Apple’s final event of the year in September, thinking there was nothing in it for me. Turns out, I am a poor judge! It actually turned out to be a costly event for me, as I bagged an iPhone 14 Pro, Apple Watch 8, and AirPods Pro 2.
The watch and phone were, at least, understandable; my old phone was over two years old, and I had never owned an Apple Watch before. But I had only just bought my first pair of AirPods Pro a few months earlier.
So, what made me buy another pair so soon?
Blame it on the content
I love sitting down to write every day, and also making videos every week too. This year has been my first full year of immersing myself knee-deep in the world of content creation.
But, one of the drawbacks of making such regular content, is that you need ‘stuff’ to write about. In truth, that is what was behind buying the second pair of AirPods Pro. However, what started off as a pragmatic, business purchase, soon became one of the best purchasing decisions I made this year.
What are they packing?
The improvements over my first pair of AirPods Pro, were huge.
The Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) is probably their shining moment. Apple claims that AirPod Pro 2 are twice as effective when it comes to noise cancelling. Although that is hard for me to prove, I’d sure be tempted to give them the benefit of doubt.
The H2 chip is at the heart of this wizardry. Due to some dead clever computational algorithms, the H2 chip is responsible for the improved three dimensional sound, better battery life, and the ANC too. The chip processes audio more accurately, delivering you a more immersive listening experience.
That chip is at the heart of another, innovative feature of AirPods Pro 2 as well – Adaptive Transparency. Over the weekend, I actually noted it working. I was walking past a building site, which had loud, industrial tools operating, and these AirPods simply attenuated, the loud, heavy, thumps, and grinding noises. It made the sounds almost harmoniously disappear.
You’ll find these AirPod Pro 2s bring crisper highs, and a deeper bass, even at low volume. Speaking of the sound, there is a new, unique driver packed inside these AirPods, which is clearly making its presence felt.
I think the ANC is possibly helped by the slight repositioning of the rear vent, which is responsible for detecting unwanted, outside noise, and cancelling it, before it ever reaches your ears.
The other new feature, is the ability to change volume on the AirPods themselves now as well. It is kind of fiddly to get used to the required motion at first, but once you nail the technique, it’s easy enough. It’s one of those features you imagine has always been there, and it just makes using them, day-to-day, simpler. The fit has been looked at, and is a marginal improvement from the 1st generation Pro’s.
But, as good as these AirPods Pro 2 are, it seems Apple are not willing to sit back and rest. Changes could be coming to the entire range of AirPods.
When Apple Music began to support Lossless Audio, many thought that would be a prefect segue to replace AirPods Pro Max.
The technology to stream Lossless to AirPods of any kind, even via a cable for the Max, just still does not exist – yet at least. So, as AirPods Max turn two years old, there still seems no signs of any large-scale updates.
Apple is working on a higher quality Bluetooth codec for the current generation AirPods Max. They would, however, need to update the hardware so that users could take full advantage of this audio development.
Bloombergs Mark Gurman, said a month or so back, that he can see nothing new on the horizon just yet for these $549 pair of headphones, besides may be some colour changes;
“Apple only recently caught up with demand for the product, and it is not currently working on a second generation of the AirPods Max, though it has discussed launching additional colour variations in the future.“
The only cosmetic changes that may come this year, apart from the colours, could be the introduction of USB-C charging, and possibly popping that fantastic H2 chip in them too.
AirPods 4th generation
The 3rd generation are only a year old. Honestly, there is not much they could do with these that I can think of.
I guess they could introduce either ANC or Adaptive Transparency to a 4th generation, but if they were to pack too many features in to the entry-level AirPods, the price too would be forced up. Possibly, support for Bluetooth 5.3 may be an inexpensive, but meaningful addition.
AirPods Pro 3
The current 2nd generation AirPod Pro are so good in every respect, that honestly, I’ve no idea of how they how they can be improved upon.
The only areas that could be looked at are the fit, which are still not as good as the original 1st generation AirPods I owned, and bringing the improved audio codecs to them when they become available.
Obviously, we are deep in the in the gift-giving, holiday season. Except for AirPods Max, AirPods are affordably priced devices. If you are looking for a present in these last few days, you could do far worse than look at buying someone AirPods.
If you know someone who sits working on a Mac listening to content, or is a regular commuter with their iPhone in hand, then AirPods would be a perfect gift.
They are small to carry, have good battery life, and deliver great, high-quality audio. Comfortable, and packed with great technology, AirPods would be the perfect gift to give this Christmas.
As I said at the start of this story, AirPods Pro 2 will quite probably go down as the best of all the Apple purchases I made this year. And, considering the amount of new gear I have gathered over the past twelve months, that is quite the complement.
Make someone very happy this Christmas – give them a pair of AirPods. It will also give you some peace this holiday season too!
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