I love my AirPods Pro. They’re one of the few Apple products these days that contain the elusive ‘Apple Magic’.
The design, performance, and convenience of Apple’s wireless earbuds have always been a high point for me, and it has spawned countless clones from the competition.
They’re not perfect, though. The silicone ear tip has broken on my left AirPod Pro and the battery life has been waning for some time. As a result, I’ve turned to OPPO’s simply brilliant Enco X, which just so happen to absolutely smash the AirPods Pro in the sound department, too.
It’s time, Tim. We need new AirPods Pro. And if rumours are to be believed, that’s exactly what we’re going to get this week.
As you might guess, I have a few items on my wish list.
Broken record time.
I’m fed up with Lightning. Apple rightfully did away with their proprietary charging method on the iPad quite some time ago. The introduction of USB-C for the iPad Pro in 2018 even surprised certain Apple employees at the event, who whooped and hollered during the announcement.
I can’t think of a single argument for keeping Lightning on AirPods Pro 2. Every other pair of headphones on the market rely on USB-C, along with pretty much every battery-powered device you can buy today.
The EU is rightfully pushing manufacturers to this single point of charging and data transfer. It means fewer cables, less faffing about, and, more importantly, more convenience for the user.
It’s time to move on. And, if Apple doesn’t, expect many fruity words on the topic from yours truly next week.
Lossless audio (of some kind)
Apple finally added lossless audio to its Apple Music library last year. As many will point out, it was one of the last music streaming providers to do so.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider that Apple’s range of headphones and earbuds aren’t capable of playing back such high-fidelity audio. Apple is also smart enough to know that most of its user base couldn’t give two hoots about this stuff.
The limiting factor is Bluetooth, which, in standard form simply cannot transmit the amount of data required to reproduce truly lossless audio. Despite this, manufacturers are starting to reveal their solutions for the Bluetooth conundrum, and the likes of Nura, Qualcomm, and even Samsung are forging ahead with high-res lossless streaming.
Insiders believe that Apple has been working on its own proprietary codec for wireless lossless audio for some time. Is it possible that AirPods Pro 2 will debut the new technology before the next iteration of AirPods Max? I think it’s highly likely.
However, a huge pinch of salt is required here. Lossless audio is the domain of the audiophile, and AirPods Pro are not aimed at that market. Any ability to playback lossless audio wirelessly is therefore going to be tempered by the fact that these are still consumer-grade earbuds.
Any difference in audio quality is going to be marginal – unless Apple significantly upgrades the audio capabilities within the next iteration of AirPods Pro. That’s why I’m so keen for them to do something in the area of lossless; if it means we’ll end up with better-sounding earbuds overall, and something which gets closer to the likes of the Enco X, I’m all ears. Literally.
A thinner case
If there’s one thing the standard AirPods have over AirPods Pro, it’s the case.
Headphone cases are so important. They make or break the convenience of carrying around even the smallest pair of earbuds.
Apple made serious gains in convenience when they introduced the charging case for the original AirPods in 2016. When the AirPods Pro landed three years later, the case was fatter and far more noticeable in one’s trouser pocket compared to its predecessor.
Apple isn’t behind the pack on this one; I’ve tested countless wireless earbuds and they all suffer from varying degrees of Chunky Case Syndrome. The only pair that don’t, weirdly, is my beloved OPPO Enco X, whose case pulls off the weirdest trick of feeling thinner, lighter, and smaller overall than the AirPods Pro case even though it’s actually bigger in every regard.
I’m not sure what the answer is, but Apple is one of the best at surprising us with innovative designs. I’d love to see a why-didn’t-anyone-else-think-of-that design for the next AirPods Pro case.
Better battery longevity
Ask any AirPods owner about the main gripe they have with their Apple earbuds, and they’re likely to mention the gradual decline in battery life.
If you intend on keeping your AirPods Pro for longer than a couple of years (a not unreasonable desire), then you’ll need to balance that length of ownership with a battery that gradually loses its stamina.
This isn’t unusual – all batteries degrade over time, but AirPods have always seemed rather too susceptible to it. Mine have certainly got noticeably worse – to the point where I need to charge them far more regularly if I’m to get through a day.
Let’s hope that battery technology has reached a point where this will become less of an issue in the next version of AirPods Pro.
AirPods Pro are long overdue for an update. They’re nearly three years old, and one can only assume that Apple has spent that time waiting for the successor’s technologies to mature. At least, I hope that’s what they’ve been doing.
I won’t have all of my wishes above granted. In reality, I think we’ll probably see a slightly modified design and some form of high-resolution audio if AirPods Pro 2 are launched on Wednesday.
What do you want from Apple’s next wireless earbuds?