AirPods Pro 2 are harder to lose, last longer, and sound better

Apple Airpords 2 on black background
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple announced the new AirPods Pro 2 wireless earbuds at its Far Out September event, which was streamed live from the company’s Cupertino, California headquarters.

Pricing was announced as $249 / £249 / AU$399 and AirPods Pro 2 preorders are live now ahead of the shipping date of September 23.

The new AirPods Pro features the same “protruding stick” design as the previous version, and white remains the lone color option. A key upgrade is a capacitive touch control on the earbuds’ outer surface that permits volume adjustment by swiping your finger up or down – a feature the original lacked.

A new H2 chip allows for advanced computational audio in the new AirPods Pro, with the benefits being two times the amount of noise cancelled, according to Apple, along with an Adaptive Transparency Mode that processes sound at 48,000 times per second, and will reduce sounds such as heavy machinery even when you have Transparency Mode turned on.

Same as with the AirPods 3 and AirPods Max, Spatial Audio is supported on the new AirPods Pro. There’s also support for the new personalized Spatial Audio option in iOS 16 that uses the TrueDepth Camera feature on the iPhone to create a unique listener profile based on your head and ear shape, so the sound movement is more convincing.

Airpods pro 2 on dark background

(Image credit: Apple)

Lightning wired charging, plus Qi and Apple MagSafe wireless charging are options with the new AirPods Pro, but you can use the charger that comes with the Apple Watch for the first time. For the new model, battery life has been upgraded to 6 hours for a single charge and 30 hours total listening time with case charges – that's up from 4.5 hours and 24 hours respectively in the original versions.

There are few new features to be found in the new model that were listed in our 5 upgrades to expect from the AirPods Pro 2 post, but one of them is an improved case, with a built-in speaker to provide feedback for pairing and low power and charging status. It’s also used for precision finding, with the case’s speaker emitting a beep when the iOS Find My feature is used, in addition supporting UWB directional location finding with your iPhone, so you can pointed right at your lost AirPods.

Finally, Apple has also added a new low-distortion speaker and custom amplifier, so we assume audio quality overall will improve over the originals.

There was no mention of lossless audio, but Apple did say that the H2 chip supports high-bandwidth connectivity, so we don't know what that means just yet. We've written previously about how Apple could add lossless sound to AirPods over Bluetooth, so perhaps there's more to come from these buds in the future. 

Al Griffin
Senior Editor Home Entertainment, US

Al Griffin has been writing about and reviewing A/V tech since the days LaserDiscs roamed the earth, and was previously the editor of Sound & Vision magazine. 

When not reviewing the latest and greatest gear or watching movies at home, he can usually be found out and about on a bike.