Upcoming ‘AirPods Pro 2’ Set to Include Heart Rate and Hearing Aid Features

The next generation of AirPods Pro will include many upgrades both externally and internally.
iPhone 14 Concept AirPods Pro Credit: Victor Carvalho / Unsplash
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The next entry in Apple’s AirPods Pro lineup may include quite a list of exciting enhancements if there’s any truth to the latest report on Apple’s progress.

Rumors of Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro have been making the rounds for over a year. Many expected Apple would release this successor to the 2019 AirPods Pro last fall, but that never happened.

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It’s entirely possible the company may have originally planned to do so, but of course, the global health pandemic slowed everything down, and if Apple has to choose between the iPhone and AirPods, it’s not hard to guess which one is going to land on the back burner.

The AirPods 3 arrived last fall, so all eyes are now on the “AirPods Pro 2” as the next in line. The original AirPods Pro are still selling reasonably well, but by this fall, they’ll have been on the market for nearly three years.

Early rumors of the new AirPods Pro suggested that Apple was trying for a buds-like design, similar to the premium true wireless earphones offered by Google and Samsung. Our sources confirmed this in February, but nobody seems certain yet whether Apple will be able to pull it off.

However, a new report from 52audio suggests that Apple may have given up on this stemless design so that it can fit more technology into its next big AirPods Pro release. It could be worth keeping the stems if everything its sources say is true.

What’s Coming to the ‘AirPods Pro 2’

The design is expected to be closer in style to the AirPods 3, although ear tips will be necessary for the Active Noise Cancellation to work properly. The microphone openings and sound cavity tuning holes are said to be similar to the AirPods 3.

Internally, the AirPods Pro 2 will get some much more significant upgrades. A new H1 chip will improve both performance and power consumption, although it’s not clear whether it will be a whole new chip or the same H1 with a different design.

This will also apparently result in much better Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) by incorporating improvements to the self-adaptive EQ algorithms. Not surprisingly, sources say the new AirPods Pro will follow the acoustic characteristics of the AirPods 3 while continuing to support features like Spatial Audio.

The report also notes that Apple finally plans to add a heart rate detection sensor to the AirPods Pro. This will take readings from the wearer’s inner ear to monitor heart rate. It may also support temperature detection, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

We’ve been hearing reports of heart rate monitoring in AirPods since at least 2018, but this kind of thing takes a while to perfect. Apple has likely been aiming to add heart rate and other health sensors to AirPods for years, so maybe it’s finally cracked that nut.

Apple has also been working on ways to turn AirPods into legitimate hearing aids that could be marketed as FDA-certified devices. 52audio’s sources say this will be introduced in the AirPods Pro 2 by building a remote microphone into the AirPods charging case. This would effectively work as a remote microphone to assist people with hearing loss.

A speaker may also be incorporated into the charging case to play sounds, specifically to help locate the case with the Find My app, although there may be other uses for it as well. The report doesn’t say whether Apple plans to add a U1 chip for improved precision finding. Apple added enhanced Find My support for AirPods Pro and AirPods Max last year, but this relies on Bluetooth, so it’s not quite as accurate as tracking down an AirTag.

Lastly, it also looks like the “AirPods Pro 2” could be the next Apple device to drop the Lightning port and move to USB-C. Apple will likely transition the iPhone to USB-C by 2024 to adhere to new European regulations, so naturally, Lightning-based accessories will also make that transition. With AirPods on a 2–3 year release cycle, it makes sense that the next AirPods Pro would need to adopt USB-C now since they’ll likely remain the most current version into 2024.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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