AirPods Pro get USB-C and a few new tricks

From TechCrunch: No name change. The AirPods Pro 2 are still the AirPods Pro 2. Apple’s high-end earbuds got the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it treatment during last week’s iPhone 15 event. In fact, I both blinked and missed it, while headsdown on a news story. My suspicion is the company’s failure to give the buds much stage time is a direct reflection of the upgrade here, which arrives in the form of a USB-C charging case and some updates to listening modes.

There’s also one other important bit of information that Apple has yet to reveal, but it has to do with a piece of hardware we won’t be seeing until early next year. Much like the AirPods, the Vision Pro was mostly absent from the event. I’d anticipated a look at some additional content, but it seems the company is saving that for closer to launch. In fact, the newish AirPods Pro belatedly confirm something we’ve suspected for a while: Spatial audio was setting the stage for spatial computing. Confirmation arrives in the form of the H2 chip.

In addition to its appearance in the AirPods Pro, the chip can also be found in the Vision Pro — an aspect about the headset the company hasn’t revealed until now. What that means in practical terms is that the headset is effectively built for Apple’s headphones. How’s that for ecosystem play? When the two are paired, you’ll get 20-bit, 48kHz lossless audio at ultra-low latency. Given how spatial audio on headphones give the listener a sense of location, it’s easy to see how the two will ultimately pair nicely together. Of course, that specific experience is something we’ll have to save for another day, closer to the Vision Pro launch, I suppose.

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