Since the AirPods Pro were released in October 2019, we haven't seen an updated version, but that could change in 2021. Apple is rumored to be working on a new version of the AirPods Pro, the AirPods Pro 2, and there could be some design changes in store.
This guide covers everything that we know so far about the AirPods Pro 2.
The AirPods Pro already feature a shorter stem than the standard AirPods, but the second-generation version of the AirPods could potentially have no stem at all.
According to Bloomberg, Apple wants to make the AirPods Pro 2 more compact by eliminating the short stem that sticks out from the bottom. Apple is testing a more rounded shape, which would mean the AirPods 2 might look more similar to something like the Google Pixel Buds or the Samsung Galaxy Buds, both of which are stemless.
Current AirPods and AirPods Pro models do not support Lossless because AirPods play audio using Bluetooth, and Bluetooth is limited to the AAC codec. Higher quality Apple Lossless Audio files would need to be streamed to the AirPods Pro directly in a way that circumvents Bluetooth, so Apple would need to develop some kind of alternative connection solution.
Find My Sound Integration
The next-generation AirPods Pro are expected to be able to play a sound for location tracking purposes. Emitting a sound will let users locate their AirPods Pro if they are lost or misplaced somewhere nearby.
Getting the hardware of the AirPods Pro into a smaller package has proven to be challenging, so there could ultimately be changes to the planned design.
Apple is reportedly finding it difficult to integrate AirPods Pro features, antennas, and microphones into a chassis that's reduced in size.
Sketchy images said to be of the next-generation AirPods Pro depict a charging case with speaker holes on the bottom, and a spot for a lanyard at the side. The speaker holes are allegedly for a Find My feature that will allow the case to be locatable even when the AirPods aren't inside, with the case able to play a sound when lost.
The AirPods in the images do not have a stemless design as has been rumored, and the source that supplied the images said that the AirPods will not have the stemless design. The person that provided the images to MacRumors said they were from an "Apple internal source," but they can't be verified and should be viewed with some skepticism at this time.
The upcoming AirPods are expected to feature fitness tracking features enabled through built-in motion sensors, though just what these fitness tracking features will be is unknown at this time.
Aside from the design changes and the new sensors, the AirPods Pro 2 are expected to be identical to the current version of the AirPods Pro, and we haven't heard rumors of new features.
Expect spatial audio support, fast device pairing, quick device switching, Active Noise Cancellation, and Transparency Mode.
A future version of the AirPods Pro could include a USB-C connector instead of a Lightning connector, as Apple is rumored to be planning to introduce iPhone 15 models with a USB-C port instead of a Lightning port in 2023 to comply with new regulations being introduced in Europe.
The AirPods Pro 2 are not expected to feature a USB-C port, with Apple instead opting for Lightning for this year's refresh. The USB-C design revision will be implemented in 2023 or beyond.
The AirPods Pro 2 are expected to see a 2022 launch, with the earbuds likely set to debut in the fall alongside new iPhones.
For more on the current version of the AirPods Pro and the AirPods Pro 2, we have a dedicated AirPods Pro roundup that walks through all of the features.