July 7 update below. This article was first published on July 4, 2022.
Apple’s next high-end headphones are due later this year, but a new report from Apple commentator Mark Gurman suggests some planned features may be missing, such as the much-anticipated groundbreaking health monitoring.
July 7 update. It looks like the audio improvements promised for iOS 16 are also starting to arrive for existing members of the AirPods lineup, although that’s just for developers. It will be available to all users later. When the AirPods Pro 2 are released, they will surely have these upgrades as well, so we can add them to the list of upcoming features below. It should be noted that the firmware will be available for all AirPods except for the very first i.e. second generation AirPods, third generation AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. Here are the details…
An update has just been released to the beta software for AirPods, which developers can access. This update came right after the third developer beta of iOS 16 and is a beta firmware update that developers got right after WWDC in June.
This software brings an improvement to the automatic switching function that allows you to switch seamlessly from listening on your iPhone to your iPad or Mac, for example. Bugs and stability fixes are also mentioned for this new firmware.
This all builds on the introduction of something called Custom Spatial Audio which uses the iPhone’s front-facing TrueDepth camera to create a personal profile when you play Spatial Audio content.
More importantly, the LC3 codec is coming in beta firmware. This is designed to deliver higher quality audio calls and could be transformational in other ways for AirPods Pro 2 – all the details of this worthwhile upgrade here.
While it’s only possible to install it if the headphones in question are paired with an iPhone running iOS 16 or an iPad with iPadOS 16, it’s a racing certainty I’d say the features will be in AirPods Pro 2 from launch. Now back to those other new features and the sting in the tail.
Here’s everything we learned from Gurman’s latest missive, in his latest Power On newsletter.
Gurman says that’s still slated for this year, which will be three years since the original AirPods Pro. By the way, I would expect the next model to be called AirPods Pro second generation rather than AirPods Pro 2.
Although it doesn’t specify the date, I expect Apple to announce the next AirPods Pro at an event in September or October. That’s not certain, though: The originals were revealed at a closed-door event on October 28, 2019, and released two days later. The same arrangement could apply to new headphones.
Gurman also says this new version is “about the weather”: after three years, early adopters may find their current headphones have dwindling batteries, although that’s not my experience.
For a while now, there have been rumors about new health-related features for the upcoming AirPods Pro. Apple chief Kevin Lynch hinted last June how sensors on different devices could talk to each other with new features that would be possible.
The first predicted sensor was that the headphones could measure the wearer’s heart rate through their ears. This is a nice supplement that would be of real benefit to someone who runs, for example.
Second, a temperature sensor has been provided to measure the user’s body temperature. Again, this could be very helpful.
However, the disappointing news is that Gurman says neither will arrive this year, meaning we’re waiting for the AirPods Pro 3 to reap the benefits, assuming the feature is still being developed.
That’s not certain, though Gurman says, “I’m told none of the features are likely to arrive in the 2022 upgrade, though both enhancements have been explored within the company and may arrive sometime. day.”
Let’s not hold our breath, then.
Even so, big updates are still expected in the 2022 model, including better voice calls and even, possibly, lossless audio playback. Better battery life is also on the cards.
We’ll find out later in the year, but check back for updates as we get them.