AirPods Pro 2 are AirPods Max in your pocket, says Apple

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 2022
Apple engineer Esge Andersen says that the company wants AirPods Pro 2 to sound like AirPods Max, and has detailed steps the team took to get there.

AirPods Pro 2 offer better ANC and sound quality
AirPods Pro 2 offer better ANC and sound quality


AppleInsider described the AirPods Pro 2 as being "already excellent earbuds, improved." Now Esge Anderson has revealed what work has been going in to the new earbuds since their predecessor's launch in 2019.

"This ability to be able to give you the best experience was our goal," Andersen told What Hi-Fi magazine, "no matter what it is you have, we want to give you the best experience."

"We wanted to give everybody an AirPods Max in their pocket," he continues. "And at the end of the day, there is somewhat of a compromise, because you can't make it perfect for everybody yet."

Redesigning the original AirPods Pro

Anderson revealed that Apple has a panel of what he called "expert listeners," who are consulted in the testing of designs. Reportedly, the biggest challenge has been regarding high frequency response -- and the solution involved concentrating on airflow.

"When we talk about good sound, it's all about how we move the air in the product," said Anderson, "which is kind of weird because it's not talking about the enclosure or how it looks, but it's about ensuring that we also design for airflow."

He says that the audio team works with designers and that their aims are the same. "If we can make the sound better [through redesign]," he says, "I think our industrial design team are very open to that."

AirPods Pro 2 (on sale for $199.99) do not support lossless audio, despite that now being a staple of Apple Music. Anderson suggests that's down to limitations in Bluetooth rather than Apple's own hardware or firmware.

"We don't think that [Apple's] codec currently is the limitation of audio quality on Bluetooth products," says Anderson. "We want to push the sound quality forward, and we can do that with a lot of other elements."

At time of writing, AirPods Pro 2 are among the Apple devices getting significant discounts in the Black Friday sales.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    aatbaatb Posts: 10member
    AirPod Max in your pocket? I wish. I love my AirPod Pro gen2 for the gym and on the go but my AirPod Max are my go to for everything else. 
    watto_cobraracerhomie3rmusikantowjony0
  • Reply 2 of 21
    A worthy goal, nonetheless.

    Very interesting to know that airflow has such an influence on audio quality, though. One of those things that seems obvious in hindsight but is clearly moving the art forward.
    watto_cobranapoleon_phoneapartbloggerblogrmusikantowStrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 3 of 21
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,793member
    AirPods Pro 2  are much better value than AirPods Max.

    but then, what isn’t?
  • Reply 4 of 21
    entropys said:
    AirPods Pro 2  are much better value than AirPods Max.

    but then, what isn’t?
    Each serves a different part of the market
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 5 of 21
    aatb said:
    AirPod Max in your pocket? I wish. I love my AirPod Pro gen2 for the gym and on the go but my AirPod Max are my go to for everything else. 
    "We wanted to give everybody an AirPods Max in their pocket," he continues. "And at the end of the day, there is somewhat of a compromise, because you can't make it perfect for everybody yet."

    A somewhat misleading headline for this article if taken so literally because it lacks the context of the full quote from the Apple engineer above. APM in your pocket was the goal, but compromises were necessary. Hardly surprising given the sheer physical difference between these products. But I own both APM and the gen 2 Pro and the 'buds get closer to APM than I ever would have believed was possible. How close? I took my gen 2 Pros instead of my APM for a 15 hour flight to Tokyo and didn't miss the APM one bit. The noise cancelling is astounding, right up there with the APM, and while sound quality isn't quite the APM equal, it's certainly in the same ballpark. I wasn't a fan of the Pro gen 1, and honestly expected to be returning the Gen 2 after trying them out, but I"m super impressed with the improvements Apple has made. 


    roundaboutnownapoleon_phoneapartStrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 6 of 21
    Utter rubbish… If Apple wanted us to have AirPods Max in our pockets, something so small could never even approach the performance of something as big as AirPods Max. Instead of going on flights of fancy regarding achieving the impossible, Apple should do something about the exorbitant price of AirPods Max. No matter how good they sound, I’ll never even consider buying AirPods Max until Apple fix a new price that many more folks can afford. AirPods Max are the only “over-the-ears” cans I never feel comfortable wearing in public - I’ve worn many over-the-ears cans out and about and never given a second thought to how I look. Getting back to AirPods Pro 2, the new additions to the case and tweaking their audio performance I’ll not be buying them. I’ve got the first generation APP and am very happy with their performance. I’ll not be “upgrading” to APP gen 2 when my original pair becomes unusable because I’ve recently bought a pair of Beats Fit Pro and apart from the wireless charging feature on the original APP I love the look (Stone Purple) and performance of my new Beats Fit Pro ((I’ve bought a USB-C wireless charging card for on a few dollars (or our equivalent of) and it works perfectly). I’d never criticise anyone’s choice of the new AirPods Pro but I’d say try and audition Beats Fit Pro and then decide (ignore anyone who tells us that volume can’t be controlled from the Beats Fit Pro, they can and it takes all of 3 or 4 minutes to change the buttons on the buds to volume controls, one bud volume up & the other volume down - I’ve gone for right bud up and left bud down which works perfectly. I love my Beats Fit Pro so much I’m probably going to buy a white pair as a Christmas present to myself (Stone Purple and the white version definitely looks coolest to me - the black and grey versions are way to dreary to even consider IMHO). So to sum up, the new AirPods Pro may be improved but not by much according to a friend who has just bought some I’d definitely recommend auditioning Beats Fit Pro if you can (probably asking someone who has a pair) because IMHO they sound way better than the revamped AirPods Pro - and you’ll save nearly 50 £$). 
    edited November 2022
  • Reply 7 of 21
    kmareikmarei Posts: 121member
    "We don't think that [Apple's] codec currently is the limitation of audio quality on Bluetooth products," says Anderson.

    no
    other vendors have higher quality streaming using bluetooth streaming using LDAC and aptX HD
    just apple won't use them

    aptX HD supports 24 bit audio (not 16 like apple) and double the max bit rate
    i've tried the same song on an iphone and an android that supports aptX with a bluetooth receiver that supports aptX HD on high quality speakers
    and the difference was definitely noticeable
    especially in the lower bass and upper treble ranges

  • Reply 8 of 21
    Basically true. v2 was a Massive improvement in sound quality over v1. I find myself reaching for my Max's much less since getting these. 
  • Reply 9 of 21
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,064member

    AirPods Pro 2 are AirPods Max in your pocket, says Apple

    not. There's no comparison.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 10 of 21
    entropys said:
    AirPods Pro 2  are much better value than AirPods Max.

    but then, what isn’t?

    At first I wasn't interested at all in replacing my original Airpods Pro with the 2s, but at the last minute I decided to. I don't regret it a bit. The sound in much improved, in my opinion. The new Airpods would not let me use "Hey, Siri" consistently until the latest Airpods update. Now they're pretty much perfect.
    Alex_V
  • Reply 11 of 21
    Pretty sure the cover shot is of AirPod Pros, the 1st Generation.
    (Admittedly, this is a first world problem.)

    And for the record, I owned a pair of 1st Generation. 
    I upgraded to the AirPod Pro 2nd Generation, skeptically,
    and I haven’t looked back.
    edited November 2022 Alex_V
  • Reply 12 of 21
    I’ve never experienced the AirPods Max, but what I can say about the 2nd Gen AirPod Pro is that it is one of the best products Apple has created. They are truly excellent.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,522member
    kmarei said:
    "We don't think that [Apple's] codec currently is the limitation of audio quality on Bluetooth products," says Anderson.

    no
    other vendors have higher quality streaming using bluetooth streaming using LDAC and aptX HD
    just apple won't use them

    aptX HD supports 24 bit audio (not 16 like apple) and double the max bit rate
    i've tried the same song on an iphone and an android that supports aptX with a bluetooth receiver that supports aptX HD on high quality speakers
    and the difference was definitely noticeable
    especially in the lower bass and upper treble ranges

    Yes.

    It seems like an Apple engineer filling in for a marketing employee. 

    He obviously didn't look around at how other vendors deal with transmitting better quality audio on similar sized earbuds.



  • Reply 14 of 21
    kmarei said:
    "We don't think that [Apple's] codec currently is the limitation of audio quality on Bluetooth products," says Anderson.

    no
    other vendors have higher quality streaming using bluetooth streaming using LDAC and aptX HD
    just apple won't use them

    aptX HD supports 24 bit audio (not 16 like apple) and double the max bit rate
    i've tried the same song on an iphone and an android that supports aptX with a bluetooth receiver that supports aptX HD on high quality speakers
    and the difference was definitely noticeable
    especially in the lower bass and upper treble ranges

    That.  Right there.  "on high quality speakers" which is what you need to be able to reproduce the nuances of lossless music.  Not tiny little drivers that fit in your ear and you listen to out in public with all sorts of ambient noise.  There's a reason "Audiphiles" have a listening room that is acoustically corrected.

    But Apple marketing has to keep people thinking that lossless music in a tiny, portable device is capable of making any difference.
    edited November 2022
  • Reply 15 of 21
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,658member
    A worthy goal, nonetheless.

    Very interesting to know that airflow has such an influence on audio quality, though. One of those things that seems obvious in hindsight but is clearly moving the art forward.
    I think Dr Bose would disagree with any notion of airflow and wave technology being something that’s only obvious in hindsight since he’s been leveraging it for nearly 40 years. 
  • Reply 16 of 21
    entropys said:
    AirPods Pro 2  are much better value than AirPods Max.

    but then, what isn’t?
    AirPods Max are designed to be a great high end product which they are. They are not for wearing outside or at the gym. They are designed for those who want to closely listen to music.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 17 of 21
    I’ll never even consider buying AirPods Max... AirPods Max are the only “over-the-ears” cans I never feel comfortable wearing in public. So to sum up, the new AirPods Pro may be improved but not by much according to a friend who has just bought some. I’d definitely recommend auditioning Beats Fit Pro if you can (probably asking someone who has a pair) because IMHO they sound way better than the revamped AirPods Pro.
    Fascinating example of split personality disorder. This poster doesn't own AirPods Max... would "never even consider" buying them... BUT... he also never feels comfortable wearing the headphones he doesn't own in public. Hmmmm... And then: he hasn't even heard the AirPods Pro 2, himself. His source for how they sound is "according to a friend who just bought some." BUT... his opinion, based on never having listened to to them, is that the Beats Fit Pro sound way better. 
    uraharaStrangeDays
  • Reply 18 of 21
    MadbumMadbum Posts: 437member
    I have both but I actually think it’s pretty close. Which is pretty amazing
  • Reply 19 of 21
    charlesn said:
    I’ll never even consider buying AirPods Max... AirPods Max are the only “over-the-ears” cans I never feel comfortable wearing in public. So to sum up, the new AirPods Pro may be improved but not by much according to a friend who has just bought some. I’d definitely recommend auditioning Beats Fit Pro if you can (probably asking someone who has a pair) because IMHO they sound way better than the revamped AirPods Pro.
    Fascinating example of split personality disorder. This poster doesn't own AirPods Max... would "never even consider" buying them... BUT... he also never feels comfortable wearing the headphones he doesn't own in public. Hmmmm... And then: he hasn't even heard the AirPods Pro 2, himself. His source for how they sound is "according to a friend who just bought some." BUT... his opinion, based on never having listened to to them, is that the Beats Fit Pro sound way better. 
    Yep. Really funny.
    dewme
  • Reply 20 of 21
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,658member
    I read through the original article and I interpreted the “AirPods Max in your pocket” reference to be more of a design goal for sound quality and not a claim of equivalency. I do subscribe to the Headphone Show channel on YouTube and their preliminary review of the AirPods Pro 2 was very positive both in terms of sound quality as well as active noise cancellation. They tend to focus on audiophile grade headphones but they have been quite complementary about the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max when it comes to their sound quality and features that they bring to a very large population of consumers who are very appreciative of what these products deliver.  

    When it comes to prices, nothing that Apple currently sells is even close to a lot of products in the “audiophile” market segment, but they don’t have to be because they still represent a tremendous value for the performance and features they deliver in the true wireless headphone market that is still in its formative years. As Apple and others in the consumer segment continuously improve the sound quality of their products, like Apple has done with the AirPods product line, and as the audiophile focused product makers find the market for true wireless products too lucrative to ignore everyone at all price points will only benefit. 

    I used to think that Apple ditching the analog audio jack on its consumer products was a curse. But now I see it as a prime motivator to force the market as a whole to bring wireless audio products that can meet the needs of all consumers, including demanding audiophiles, to market at all price points. It’s too big of a market to ignore. I never thought I’d call the analog audio jack removal a blessing, but it will eventually turn out to be exactly that, imho.
    StrangeDays
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