Upgraded Motion Sensors in AirPods Pro 2 to Enable Fitness Tracking
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could feature fitness tracking capabilities for the first time thanks to updated motion sensors, reports indicate.
Last year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said that the second-generation AirPods Pro will feature updated motion sensors and have a focus on fitness tracking. Previously, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested that Apple was looking to add health and fitness features to AirPods in the long term.
Notably, Apple has patented an in-ear fitness monitoring system that integrates an advanced biometric sensor to detect physiological metrics including temperature, heart rate, perspiration levels and more, through skin contact and via built-in motion sensors.
Little else is currently known about how fitness tracking on the second-generation AirPods Pro could work, but integration with the Apple Watch's Activity Rings seems highly likely if the feature does emerge later this year. Apple's upcoming software update for the iPhone, iOS 16, expands the Move ring to all users, even if they do not own an Apple Watch, letting them set up a daily Move goal in the Fitness app and see how their active calories help to close their ring. Users can also share their Move ring with friends for added motivation.
The iPhone's motion sensors can track steps, distance, flights climbed, and workouts from third-party apps, which can be converted into an estimation of active calories to contribute to users' daily Move goal. Leveraging AirPods to gather further activity data, especially for users who do not have an Apple Watch, may now be more likely given Apple's upcoming expansion of the Move ring to all iPhones.
Beyond fitness tracking capabilities, the second-generation AirPods Pro are expected to feature the same design as the current model, skin-detect sensors instead of IR sensors, a "significantly upgraded" wireless chip, support for Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) playback, and a sound-emitting charging case for location-tracking purposes.
Kuo, Gurman, and Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes have repeatedly said that the AirPods Pro 2 will launch in the second-half of 2022. Kuo has narrowed down the launch of the AirPods Pro 2 to the fourth quarter of 2022, which runs from October through December of the year, so the new model is now likely just a matter of months away. For more information, see our detailed AirPods Pro 2 guide.