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Kuo: AirPods Pro 2 to offer Lossless support, new form factor, more

Kuo: AirPods Pro 2 to offer Lossless support, new form factor, more thumbnail

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is back in 2022 with his first report about the AirPods Pro 2, rumored to launch later this year. According to Kuo, there’s a lot changing with the upcoming AirPods.

As of now, rumors regarding AirPods Pro 2 said that these wireless earbuds would feature a new form factor closer to the 2021 Beats Fit Pro and new sensors for measuring the user’s health.

Now, in a note to investors seen by 9to5Mac, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo offers some tidbits about this upcoming product:

We expect Apple to launch AirPods Pro 2 in 4Q22 with new selling points, including a new form factor design, support for Apple Lossless (ALAC) format, and a charging case that can emit a sound for users to track. We are optimistic about the demand for AirPods Pro 2 and estimate shipments will reach 18–20mn units in 2022.

This is the first time an analyst or leaker predicts that wireless earbuds could feature Lossless support. By the end of 2021, AirPods’ creator addressed the limitations of Bluetooth in an interview.  Gary Geaves, Apple’s VP of Acoustics, has said that Apple would really like a wireless standard that allows for more bandwidth. 

“Obviously the wireless technology is critical for the content delivery that you talk about,” he says, “but also things like the amount of latency you get when you move your head, and if that’s too long, between you moving your head and the sound changing or remaining static, it will make you feel quite ill, so we have to concentrate very hard on squeezing the most that we can out of the Bluetooth technology, and there’s a number of tricks we can play to maximize or get around some of the limits of Bluetooth. But it’s fair to say that we would like more bandwidth and… I’ll stop right there. We would like more bandwidth”, he smiles.

If analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is right, Apple is probably adopting a new standard to offer Lossless support with AirPods Pro 2. Kuo also believes that “AirPods may support health management functions in the future,” corroborating previous reports.

For the AirPods line in general, the analyst says Apple is “regaining momentum” as shipment in 4Q2021 was better than expected, at 27 million units (107% QoQ and 20% YoY). With that, Kuo revised AirPods shipment to 90 million units in 2022, with 25% YoY growth.

1Q22 AirPods will beat the seasonality, with solid demand driving shipment almost the same amount as in 4Q21. Better-than-expected AirPods shipments for two consecutive quarters proves Apple’s product strategy is correct.

9to5Mac’s take

While having AirPods Pro 2 with Lossless support could be a cool idea, we still have to see how Apple would implement that. Over the years, the company has been very conservative regarding its audio initiatives. For example, when it launched Lossless and Dolby Atmos with Spatial Audio support, Apple opted to promote more the Spatial Audio feature rather than Lossless.

Another problem with Lossless songs is that not even wired AirPods Max can stream music in that format, so if the company addressed that with AirPods Pro 2, this would mean that Apple would need to update AirPods Max as soon as possible, whether via firmware update or with a new version.

As for me, personally, having Lossless support doesn’t improve my experience, even if I’m listening to songs in this format on the original HomePod or with a pair of HomePod mini. The only time I notice something different in a song is whether it offers Spatial Audio support – since it’s mastered differently.

Are you excited about these new rumors regarding AirPods Pro 2? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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