The AirPods Pro will be three years old in October, and a second generation is long overdue for 2022. Now, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has put his weight behind a release date for the fourth quarter of AirPods Pro 2, and has describes some of the upgrades we can expect. Later this year.
In an investment note seen by 9to5Mac, Kuo says the most significant upgrade is the planned introduction of lossless audio, via Apple’s Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC). No other lossless format is mentioned, which is perhaps not surprising given that it would be a good way to push audiophiles to Apple Music – which recently got support from ALAC – rather than Spotify. or similar.
Lossless tracks are also much larger files, which would be handy for Apple as it looks to sell iPhone 14 handsets with more internal storage later in the year. This would certainly make the supposed 2TB iPhone 14 model easier to justify.
But there are also important issues to overcome. The trickiest of these are the limitations of Bluetooth itself, which presents a kind of bottleneck. It’s possible Apple is looking to push its own standard or just develop a codec to make ALAC workable, but it’s certainly something the company is chewing on. In an interview with our sister site What Hi-FiApple’s Gary Geaves made it clear that the company “would like more bandwidth” and hinted that it has plans in that direction, without specifying exactly what they might be.
Elsewhere in the note, Kuo reaffirms the rumor that Apple will use the Pro headphones for health management in one way or another, and suggests that they might boast a “new form factor design. “. While he doesn’t explain, it’s worth noting that the AirPods 3 have seen their stems significantly reduced, which could be an area to watch out for.
Finally, Apple would have something in the works for those who keep misplacing their AirPods. Kuo claims that the charging case “can make a sound that users can follow.” It would, of course, depend on your ability to anchor your heads before you lose them, but it’s better than nothing.
Kuo is planning a fourth quarter release date for the AirPods Pro 2, which would put the headphones firmly towards the end of the year, even later than the usual September launch of the new flagship iPhones and Apple Watches. Still, Kuo is confident the demand is there, with the analyst predicting shipments of 18-20 million units before the end of 2022.