What the AirPods Pro 2 Tells Us About the AirPods Max 2 in Ten Ways

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The AirPods Max is now the oldest current-generation AirPods product that is still available from Apple following the launch of the second-generation AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods Pro may give some of the best clues as to what to expect from the second-generation AirPods Max because they include a number of new features like Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip.

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Almost two years later, rumors about a successor to the original ‌AirPods Max‌ are thin on the ground. The last time we heard anything about the AirPods Max was in May 2021, when Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple was considering offering new color options for the product. In addition to new color options and revised audio hardware, at least ten potential ‌AirPods Pro‌ features could make their way to the second version of the ‌AirPods Max‌.

Bluetooth 5.3 Connectivity

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Alongside the H2 chip, the new ‌AirPods Pro‌ features Bluetooth 5.3, a specification that has also come to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and the Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch Ultra. As such, the second-generation ‌AirPods Max‌ will similarly feature the latest Bluetooth standard. Bluetooth 5.3 features essential enhancements to reliability, connection performance, and power consumption.

H2 Chips

Source: Apple Keynote
Credit: Apple Keynote

The second-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌ is the first device to contain the H2 chip. Apple’s custom silicon chip is explicitly designed for earbuds and headphones.

The H2 chip enables improved computational audio to enhance sound quality on the ‌AirPods Pro‌ . It improves battery life with better energy efficiency. As the ‌AirPods Max‌ is Apple’s high-end AirPods, it seems almost sure that the next version will contain an H2 chip in each earcup. The chips will likely be at the heart of the device’s audio hardware improvements.

Adaptive Transparency

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The second-generation AirPods Pro comes with a brand-new Adaptive Transparency mode that greatly reduces unwanted environmental noise like a passing car siren, construction equipment, or even loudspeakers at a concert while still allowing significant environmental noise like speech.

The feature is designed for “more comfortable everyday listening,” according to Apple. Along with improvements to ANC facilitated by the H2 chip, it seems highly likely that the second-generation ‌AirPods Max‌ will also feature Adaptive Transparency.

Improved Active Noise Cancellation

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Thanks to the H2 chip, the second-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌ feature improved Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), up to two times more effective at blocking unwanted noise.

The outward-facing microphones detect external sound so the AirPods can analyze environmental noise. In contrast, the inward-facing microphone listens to the sound coming toward the ear. The new ‌AirPods Pro‌ then adapts the sound signal reaching the ears 48,000 times per second to eliminate external noise.

The second-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌ is also equipped with a new driver and improved acoustic algorithms to reduce additional unwanted noise. As the only other AirPods to offer ANC, it seems inevitable that with the H2 chip, the second-generation ‌AirPods Max‌ will also provide enhanced ANC.

Skin-Detect Sensors

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The AirPods Pro is the only product in the current generation of AirPods not to have Apple’s skin-detect sensor technology, which was first introduced on the third generation of AirPods. The present ‌AirPods Max‌ still uses optical IR sensors to detect when they are placed over a user’s ears.

Skin-detect sensors could speed up and improve the accuracy of playback pausing and resuming. Still, they would not be as helpful on the AirPods Max because playback is unlikely to be triggered on a surface or in a pocket. The skin-detect sensors are also more efficient and deliver better battery life – something that the ‌AirPods Max‌ could also take advantage of.

Conversation Boost

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It is also possible that the ‌AirPods Max‌ could also gain Conversation Boost. This feature has thus far been exclusive to the ‌AirPods Pro‌.

Conversation Boost is a feature that enhances the sound of someone speaking directly in front of you so that you can more easily understand what they are saying. It was created to help people with mild to profound hearing loss hear conversations better. The AirPods Pro’s beam-forming microphones are used for this.

Sweat and Water Resistance

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The third-generation AirPods and second-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌ feature IPX4-rated sweat and water-resistant earbuds and charging cases. This is an area that Apple has improved over time on its various earbuds. Still, the first-generation ‌AirPods Max‌ do not feature any sweat or water resistance rating.

Some sweat and water resistance rating for the second-generation model seems plausible, especially given Apple’s growing focus on health and fitness. In 2020, the first-generation AirPods Max was released just one day after Apple Fitness+, so the second-generation model may have a stronger fitness focus by being sweat-resistant.

Longer Battery Life

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Apple touts improved battery life for the third-generation AirPods and the second-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌. Suppose Apple doesn’t reduce the size of the internal battery. In that case, the second-generation AirPods Max could experience a similar increase in battery life thanks to the efficiency improvements of the H2 chip, Bluetooth 5.3, and skin-detect sensors.

Charging

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The second-generation AirPods Pro’s case now has a spot to charge using an Apple Watch charger and the numerous existing charging methods, including MagSafe, Qi wireless charging, and Lightning.

It is too early to say if the second-generation ‌AirPods Max‌ will feature a new way to charge, such as via ‌MagSafe‌. Still, such a change would necessitate more profound changes to the ‌AirPods Max‌’s design. Apple may be aware of the benefits of having various charging options and may want to extend this to its most expensive headphones, given that it now offers four different ways to charge the AirPods Pro.

U1 Chip and Precision Finding

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The second-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌’s MagSafe Charging Case features an Apple U1 chip for Precision Finding in the Find My app, much like AirTag item trackers.

The current ‌AirPods Max‌ features essential support for ‌Find My‌. Still, a U1 chip in the second-generation version could enable a much more precise way to locate the headphones when they are nearby.

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