Apple AirPods Pro vs AirPods Pro 2: What‘s Changed?

Chances are you‘ve seen those characteristic white wireless earbuds around, nestled inside peoples‘ ears as they go about their day, commuting, exercising, walking the dog. Apple‘s AirPods have become a ubiquitous tech accessory beloved for their seamless connectivity and portability.

The original AirPods first disrupted the market back in 2016. Then in 2019, Apple debuted the premium AirPods Pro, which added active noise cancellation and other upgrades into the mix. Now in 2022 with the AirPods Pro second generation, Apple aims to retain audio dominion.

As you look to potentially upgrade your earbuds, you may be wondering — what exactly is new and improved inside these AirPods Pro 2? Let‘s explore the key differences in depth.

AirPods Pro 2 vs AirPods Pro: Key Comparison

Here is a high-level overview spotlighting the major areas where the new AirPods Pro 2 make notable upgrades over the original AirPods Pro:

AirPods ProAirPods Pro 2
Audio qualityGoodImproved with H2 chip
Noise cancelingDecent ANC2x better ANC
TransparencyLets sound inAdaptive, less jarring
Spatial audioImmersiveMore precise, 3D sound
Battery life4.5 hours listening timeExtended to 6 hours
Charging caseWireless, MagSafe, 24+ hrs totalNow 30+ hours total
New featuresVolume swipe, skin sensor
Price$249 launch ($179 now)Stays $249

Next let‘s unpack those table highlights even further.

Breaking Down the Audio Upgrades

A key hallmark of the AirPods Pro 2 is improved sound performance courtesy of Apple‘s new H2 chip. This succeeds the previous H1 chip used on the original AirPods Pro to deliver faster processing and greater efficiency.

So in what specific ways does audio get better? The sound quality enhancements of the AirPods Pro 2 are centered around three areas – noise cancellation, transparency mode, and spatial audio.

2X Better Active Noise Cancellation

One of the major reasons you‘d pay up for AirPods Pro versus standard AirPods is to get that sweet noise cancelling technology. This uses the tiny beamforming microphones to block out ambient external sounds around you.

Reviewers agree that Apple has noticeably improved ANC quality in the H2 chip-powered AirPods Pro 2. CNET shared that Apple‘s claim of 2x better performance seems accurate, calling the isolation sensation "remarkable."

Noisy environments like airplane cabins, construction sites, crowded cafes — all become less distracting. This lets you focus without disruption on music, movies, calls, podcasts and so on.

Adaptive Transparency Alleviates Harsh Sounds

In addition to noise cancelling, transparency mode is the inverse function that uses mics to intentionally allow outside sounds in. This is great for when you still need situational awareness of your surroundings.

Apple has created an adaptive transparency feature for the AirPods Pro 2. It smoothly softens louder impulse noises like sirens, shouts, and tools activating. CNET said this helps make transparency mode more natural versus the sometimes jarring amplification you‘d get on the original Pros.

So whether you‘re order at Starbucks, chatting to a friend, or crossing the road, you get the best of both worlds – remaining present in your environment without as many annoying audio spikes.

Spatial Audio Is More Precise

Immersive spatial audio with dynamic head tracking already impressed on the first AirPods Pro. It created a surround sound effect where tunes felt like they were emanating from all directions, not just left/right stereo channels.

But Apple has notably improved this with a faster and more precise execution on the follow-up model. As your head pivots and rotates, that simulated spatial response happens quicker based on the H2 chip optimizations.

Professional reviews like Wired‘s say these enhancements make for an even more "convincing" and natural 3D audio experience with supported content. Spatial separation cues seem sharper as well when switching from standard stereo playback by contrast.

General Sound Boosts Too

Beyond the marquee upgrades to active noise cancelling, transparency mode, and surround spatial audio, Apple has also boosted general sound quality performance too with the AirPods Pro second generation:

  • Richer tone and better clarity, especially in mids/highs
  • Punchier bass reproduction that still avoids distortion
  • Less hiss or tininess during playback overall

This excellent wired analysis piece on covers these improvements in superb technical detail. But suffice to say, vocals, acoustic instruments, drum kits, and synth tones all benefit — making music more lively and refined through the AirPods Pro 2 drivers.

Even More Capability With the H2 Chip

The H2 chip responsible for those big audio upgrades also enables other helpful new functions on the AirPods Pro 2 as well. Let‘s examine those.

Swipe Volume Controls

A small but very convenient addition here is the new ability to control volume levels by touch. Just swipe your finger upwards or downwards on the stem to turn loudness up and down.

Before this required summoning Siri or grabbing your iPhone to adjust playback volume. No longer an extra hassle!

Skin-Detect Sensors

Apple has integrated sensors that can accurately determine if the AirPods Pro 2 are securely seated in your actual ear canal versus just lying on a surface.

This allows audio to smartly auto-pause when you remove the buds, and then instantly resume playback once you reinsert them. This should preserve battery life by preventing music/calls from playing needlessly anytime the earbuds aren‘t being worn.

Extended Battery Stamina

Thanks to various H2 chip efficiencies translating into power savings, Apple has managed to extend overall battery life on both the AirPods Pro 2 buds themselves as well as the charging case too.

You now get up to 6 full hours of listening time with active noise cancellation or transparency mode enabled versus 4.5 hours max on the original AirPods Pro.

Plus the bundled pocket-sized charging carry case holds enough reserve capacity to recharge the AirPods Pro 2 over 30+ times. That‘s up from 24+ recharges you‘d get with the prior generation model.

This all ensures you can keep listening for longer stretches without needing to find a power source. And just 5 minutes in the case still provides you roughly 1 hour of extra juice on the go. Awesome when you‘re bouncing between meetings and appointments all day!

Handy Hardware Additions

A few modest but meaningful hardware tweaks also accompany the second-gen AirPods Pro earbuds and case.

Added Extra Small Eartips

To promote a tighter seal and grip inside more ear configurations, Apple now includes a set of extra small sized eartips alongside the small, medium, and large.

These let folks with narrower ear canals finally achieve that snugger fit needed to unlock decent active noise cancellation. So more users than ever can experience quality sound isolation.

Lanyard Case Loop

A basic but practical enhancement made on the new AirPods Pro charging case is an integrated lanyard loop. This allows you to securely tether the case to a bag, belt loop, purse strap or keys via carabiner clip, wrist strap, etc.

This should help lower odds you accidentally drop and misplace those vital earbuds when stashing them on the go. Especially handy for athletes, students and professionals hustling through busy commutes each day.

U1 Chip For ‘Precision Finding’

Apple has also packed an ultra wideband U1 chip into the latest AirPods Pro 2 case. Like other Apple device trackers such as AirTag, this enables highly accurate finding through the Find My app when needed.

That translates to seeing distance in real-time with directional guidance that can lead you right to a lost case. The case even supports playing sounds to help pinpoint its location once nearby, so digging under couch cushions is (hopefully) a thing of the past!

Cost Breakdown: AirPods Pro Vs AirPods Pro 2

With all the capabilties covered, how do prices compare between the OG and second-gen Apple earbuds?

The AirPods Pro 2 launch at the same $249 MSRP that the original 2019 AirPods Pro debuted at initially. However now that the sequel model is out, Apple has officially discontinued the preceding generation.

You can still readily find them via third party retailers like Amazon and Best Buy though. And expect to enjoy discounts down closer to $179 on remaining AirPods Pro stock as supply diminishes.

I predict modest extra savings during holiday deal seasons as well on the first AirPods Pro iteration. But of course performance won‘t match what you get feature and sound-wise from the newest 2022 release.

Looking at total cost of ownership over 2-3 years though, the overall investment difference is typically under $100 if you buy the latest. And you’ll likely use these earbuds every single day for hours on end during that multi-year lifespan.

My take is that small premium nets you way more personal enjoyment. But both options beat wired headphones by leaps and bounds. Unless money is extraordinarily tight, spring for the AirPods Pro second generation!

What Does The Future Hold?

Gazing even further out, what might be next for the AirPods Pro line? Well, Apple tends to refresh its headphones every 2 to 3 years on average. So we likely won‘t see another new model until at least late 2024 or into 2025.

However, there are certain rumored features I expect to eventually materialize, perhaps in "AirPods Pro 3” or whatever Apple brands the next edition:

  • Temperature sensors capable of taking body readings
  • Some form of lossless CD-quality or hi-res audio support
  • Over-ear headphone style or bezels option
  • USB-C case charging instead of Lightning
  • Multi-device audio handoff and extended wear detection
  • Enhanced fitness tracking and health integration

The key is to keep delighting consumers with those magical upgrades only Apple can engineer. I don‘t foresee them ceding their audio domination anytime soon!

Now onto your most frequently asked questions about these phenomenal pro-grade earbuds…

FAQs: Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro 2

Are the AirPods Pro 2 actually waterproof for swimming or showering?

No, like the original model, the new AirPods Pro 2 still carry an IPX4 sweat and water resistance rating rather than being deemed fully waterproof. They can likely withstand some rain and splash exposure. But cannot be submerged underwater for any length of time.

Can I get the AirPods Pro 2 repaired if physically damaged?

Yes, you have options to get both generations of AirPods Pro fixed. Apple offers warranty service included for up to two years with new purchase. Most damage not covered for free can be repaired via local Apple stores, authorized service centers, or Apple‘s mail-in repair program for $89 per bud or $29 for the case.

What colors do the AirPods Pro second generation come in?

For now Apple only sells the AirPods Pro 2 model in traditional glossy white. No alternative colors exist yet like you see on the third-generation standard AirPods which come in space gray, starlight, midnight and Product Red.

I have an Android phone – do AirPods Pro still work well?

Absolutely. Both the original and second-generation AirPod Pros fully support pairing and streaming media playback through any modern Android smartphone. You‘ll miss out on select Apple-exclusive features like spatial audio. But for basic wireless listening demands, they perform great cross-platform.

Where can I find the best current discounts on AirPods Pro models?

Third party giant retailers often undercut Apple‘s pricing when trying to move inventory. Check Amazon and Walmart routinely for AirPods Pro deals slashing $50+ off sticker prices on both models depending on sales supply and demand at any given time. Sign up for price drop alerts!

I hope this guide serves you well on your quest for acoustic nirvana my friend! Let me know if any other questions pop up. For now though, get out there and enjoy whichever AirPods Pro generation you decide best fits the bill. 🎧

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