AirPods Pro 2 have a secret design upgrade to unlock better audio

AirPods Pro 2 on a mosaic table
AirPods Pro 2 on a mosaic table (Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

If you've tried a pair of Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro earbuds, cleverly called the AirPods Pro 2, you've likely noticed a significant jump in sound quality over the original.

While the recent buzz around sound quality has mostly been focused on if a pair of headphones or music streaming service supports Lossless Audio, a Hi-Fi quality standard that has been supported by Apple Music, Amazon Music, and eventually Spotify, Apple saw an opportunity to improve sound quality in its new earbuds without the need for Lossless support.

In an interview with our friends at What Hi-Fi?, Esge Andersen, an Apple acoustics engineer who has been with the company for 11 years, talked about how they achieved this jump in audio quality without the need for Lossless Audio support.

It's all about the airflow

Andersen notes that the most important thing they found to improve sound quality for AirPods Pro 2 was airflow, saying that “when we talk about good sound, it’s all about how we move the air in the product – 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.”

The engineer says that, with AirPods Pro 2, the goal was to get as close as possible to "give everybody an AirPods Max in their pocket,” a pretty audacious goal since the over-the-ear AirPods Max headphones come in at over twice the price of the company's new earbuds.

The team behind the audio for the earbuds was focused on ensuring a quality experience across devices. Andersen says that  “If you’re on your Apple TV with a bigger screen, our tuning is different than it would be on an iPhone.” The engineer says that they also worked to ensure you would get an identical sound signature regardless of the volume you were listening at.

Regardless of what device you are using or the environment, you are listening in, Andersen says that the goal was always to "give you the best experience was our goal… no matter what it is you have, we want to give you the best experience.”

Apple launched the AirPods Pro 2 earbuds earlier this fall. The next-generation wireless earbuds feature better sound quality and noise cancellation, volume adjustment on the earbud stems, and a number of upgrades to the charging case including the ability to charge with your Apple Watch charger, Find My functionality, and a lanyard attachment.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.