6 upgrades AirPods Pro 2 need to make me buy them

the apple airpods pro with their charging case
(Image credit: TechRadar / IM_VISUALS)

When it comes to the best AirPods, I'm a massive fan of the AirPods Max, but I've never warmed as much to the current AirPods Pro.

I like Apple tech, but I’d much rather listen on a set of Astell & Kern UW100s or Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch earbuds, because when it comes to the best wireless earbuds the AirPods Pro just don’t top my list after trying them. 

But with with the imminent launch of the AirPods Pro 2, likely later this year, that could change – there's plenty of killer features Apple could add to make them irresistible. Here are six things that would persuade me to buy the AirPods Pro 2. 

1. Better battery life

As we said in our AirPods Pro review, the battery life here isn’t brilliant: you’re looking at 5 hours max without using the charging case. My A&Ks last an hour longer, and my Melomania Touch run three hours longer than that. To be fair I’m not using active noise cancelling there, but the AirPods Pro battery life is low compared to many of the best active noise cancelling earbuds.

It doesn't need to be doubled or anything extreme like that, but an extra hour or two would go a long way.

AirPods Pro in woman's ear, while she holds the stem

Could there be a stemless future for AirPods Pro? (Image credit: Shutterstock)

2. Shorter stems (or no stems at all)

I know they’ve become a kind of fashion statement among younger folks, but I hate the stems on the current AirPods Pro: they feel odd in my ears and I hate the way they look, not least because if you’re wearing nice earrings your AirPods Pro are effectively bellowing NEVER MIND THE JEWELRY LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME. 

A more 'conventional' earbuds design would make me like the AirPods Pro 2 a whole lot more.

3. USB-C charging

One of the few things I dislike about my AirPods Max is the insistence of Lightning for charging when everyone else in the world is going USB-C –including Apple for its iPads and MacBook Pros. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the same charging port as my other recent Apple kit and pretty much every other electronic device made in 2022? Yes. Yes, it would. Insiders say Apple is sticking with Lightning for now, and for once I’m hoping the insiders are wrong.

AirPods Pro components breakdown

We're sure AirPods Pro 2 will get an audio quality upgrade, but what kind? (Image credit: Apple)

4. Better sound quality

AirPods Pro sound good. But they’re not Astell & Kern UW100 good, or Bowers & Wilkins PI7 good, or Sony WF-1000XM4 good. 

The AirPods 3 got a significant sonic upgrade compared to their previous version, and hopefully their more expensive sibling will get the same.

That could include the rumored lossless audio support. Other wireless headphones are upping the sound quality with either the latest Bluetooth aptX codecs, Snapdragon Sound or, in the case of Sony, its own LDAC technology; Apple has hinted at wanting to have its own better-than-Bluetooth solution so fingers crossed it’s in this year’s buds.

5. More tips

Ears do not come in just three different sizes, but AirPods Pro ear tips do. Offering more would be one of the least expensive upgrades Apple could add, and it would be helpful for people like me with ear canals so big you could float a narrowboat down them. Most manufacturers offer lots of tips for the perfect fit. Apple should too. 

And while we’re on the subject of fit, I’m quite keen on the fins you’ll find in buds such as the Melomania Touch and Apple’s own Beats Fit Pro: they give you a much more secure-feeling fit for pounding pavements or cycling on terrible road surfaces, so it would make a big difference to some people to have them as an option.

AirPods Pro on table with all three tips sizes visible

More tips options would be welcome in AirPods Pro 2. (Image credit: Future)

6. Other color options

I know, I know, white headphones are Apple’s thing, and they have been since the first iPod. But I’d love to see the Pros come in the same colors as the AirPods Max, or even the metal finishes of the current MacBook Pros

File this one under “unlikely”: Apple tends to leave the colors to its very similar but differently marketed Beats Studio Buds. But as with anything you wear, have more aesthetic options could make a big difference to their desirability.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.