There’s always something new and unseen lurking around the corner when it comes to one of the best-known tech giants in the world. Apple always has groundbreaking releases waiting for its loyal customer base come September and October, and 2022 is no different. Among other things, we’ll finally see a brand-new iteration of globally popular Apple AirPods.
While it might seem like Apple AirPods Pro have been around forever, seeing as how they’ve become a staple of modern living, in reality, they’ve just turned three years old. Unparalleled in the field of sound quality and noise cancellation, Apple AirPods have taken the world by storm and are now due for an upgrade.
Here’s everything you need to know about the next step in AirPods’ grand evolution.
The Cult Appeal of Apple
Apple is a globally renowned brand with a reputation for harboring cult-like loyalty from its audience. Most people have a love or hate relationship with Apple, but whether you’re a diehard fan of the brand or a sworn enemy, the fact of the matter is that Apple’s fame knows no borders.
Apple’s rise to stardom had a lot to do with the company’s attempt to position itself as anti-mainstream and different from all the other computer brands at the time. Many would argue that this is somewhat ironic, seeing as how Apple today is the very definition of mainstream.
From the get-go, Apple marketed itself as a brand rather than focusing its messaging on a specific product. iPads, iPhones, and Macs are all iconic Apple products, but they’re not the core of the brand’s messaging or the subject of the audience’s reverence. Instead, the Apple trademark and the most recognizable logo in the world gather all the people to it.
Clever marketing and brand identity made Apple what it is today. That’s also why the company’s loyal customer base refuses to abandon ship, even when specific products don’t meet their demands. At the end of the day, they put their faith in Apple as a brand, knowing that it's a brand that delivers quality sooner or later.
While it’s true that ingenious marketing turned Apple into a household name, it would be unfair to overlook their products’ outstanding features and cutting-edge hardware. Credit where credit is due — Apple’s products bleed quality, and there’s no denying it.
That’s why people await each new Apple product with bated breath, anxiously lining up to see what the greatest tech giant has in store for us next. It’s no different now, with the second-generation Apple AirPods Pro hiding around the corner.
Launch of the Apple AirPods
It’s October 2019, and Apple has just released a product that aims to compete in an already oversaturated market. Apple AirPods Pro was, like the first generation of AirPods from 2016, released with an unusual lack of marketing and media attention. That was especially strange given the steep competition in the market and the objectively high price of the accessory.
It makes it all the stranger that AirPods spread like wildfire, conquering the market like no other device of its kind before it. Sales exceeded all expectations, and there seemed to be no shortage of hype around the product announcement.
The wireless earbuds had everyone talking about them and talking to themselves. There was a period of acclimatization for us all. Seeing people walking around and apparently mumbling to themselves while they were, in fact, using their nifty wireless earbuds connected to their iPhones via Bluetooth. Once the novelty’s worn off, all that was left were people with gadgets at the very frontier of hands-free technology.
Interestingly enough, AirPods weren’t a brand-new idea Apple had cooked up. Several years before, they tried their hand at EarPods, the notoriously unfitting device that did little to maintain sound quality and prevent sound leakage. Learning from their mistakes, Apple conducted massive research into earlobe types and shapes, prototyping the device that is now the pinnacle of wireless accessories.
Apple AirPods Dictating Trends
Bose Sport Earbuds, Sony WF-1000XM4, and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (just to name some) all have one thing in common — they’re playing catch up with the rampant success of AirPods Pro.
They also share the same impossible task of defining precisely what it was that skyrocketed AirPods into the wireless accessory hall of fame. Was it the superior noise cancellation or impressive battery life? They all began to adapt their products to the new standard set by AirPods Pro, with variable success. While all of the competitors boast high-quality products and have loyal followings of their own, none of them could match the AirPods’ game-changing entrance into the market.
A lot of the “blame” seems to fall on millennials and Gen Z who adopted AirPods as a form of social flexing, i.e., expressing social status with expensive gadgets. In that sense, it could be possible to consider AirPods’ painfully high price tag as beneficial to the product rather than its flaw. The price of AirPods could very well be one of the reasons why they were such trend-setting devices.
Then again, AirPods’ breakout success probably has much to do with the brand itself. If it were any other wireless earbud manufacturer selling their product for the top dollar, they would probably go under sooner rather than later. The Apple brand is what sold the earbuds, not their specifications, no matter how impressive and desirable.
What can Apple AirPods Offer Next?
With AirPods Pro 2 just around the corner, rumors are running rampant, but there seems to be a general consensus regarding what the latest iteration of earbuds will offer.
The most notable change is the next generation H2 chip, a successor of the H1 variant that ran previous AirPods Pros. The new chip will build upon the solid foundations set by H1 by taking all of the best, most sought-after features of the previous chip and improving them. Active noise cancellation will be twice as efficient, with an adaptive transparency mode that reduces loud environmental sounds such as sirens or construction.
The new H2 chip should also bolster the quality of acoustics all around. Richer bass and clearer sound across a broader range of frequencies will deliver an overall exceptional acoustic experience, especially when paired with custom amplifiers.
As is the case with all the best competing products across the board, AirPods Pro 2 will feature IPX4 sweat and water resistance, crucial to the prolonged functioning of wireless earbuds.
Product design could also change slightly. Stems might be removed altogether, resulting in sleeker-looking earbuds. Although, that would also dictate a new direction in how charging cases are designed, meaning you won’t be able to reuse existing chargers. White-plastic exterior and replaceable rubber tips will probably remain as they are now.
An interesting tidbit about AirPods Pro 2 is the potential introduction of various health features. It’s rumored that the AirPods can detect the wearer’s posture and remind them to correct it. There’s also a chance the new device will come with body temperature monitoring capabilities. Most impressive is the next-generation AirPods’ ability to function as a hearing aid for people with auditory impairment.
Since the next-gen AirPods will rely on Bluetooth 5.2 technology, they won’t feature support for lossless audio, as Bluetooth is incompatible with Apple Lossless Audio Codec (APAC) files.
How many of these changes and features see the light of day remains to be seen. In any case, AirPods Pro 2 will be a remarkable step-up from the previous generation of wireless earbuds, and there’s no doubt about it.
Apple AirPods Under the Spotlight
Apple releases new devices annually, leaving many to wonder exactly how much of an improvement this year’s device is over the previous iteration. Many agree that newer versions of products are only minimally better than last year’s release and don’t warrant such a high price.
Apple AirPods are a completely different story in that it’s been several years since the previous release. It’s reasonable to assume that Apple has spent this time developing a device that truly builds upon the strengths of the previous version while doing away with any shortcomings.
In our opinion, AirPods Pro 2 will justify the price tag and deliver a kind of auditory experience and performance that is to be expected of a high-end Apple product. We expect it to be a worthy successor to the already imposing device that is AirPods Pro.
Whether you buy your pair for social signaling or the sheer acoustic quality of the brand-new H2 chip, you will not be disappointed.