Nearly three years after the launch of the first-generation AirPods Pro, Apple is launching a second-generation model alongside the iPhone 14 lineup and several new Apple Watches. While the second-generation AirPods Pro share the same design as their predecessors, they improve features such as Active Noise Cancellation, in-ear detection, and battery life, while introducing new functionality such as Adaptive Transparency, touch control volume adjustment, and precision discovery.
The first-generation AirPods Pro have now been discontinued by Apple and prices at third-party retailers have dropped. As such, some customers may be considering whether to purchase the discounted first-generation AirPods Pro or purchase the second-generation version.
The two generations of AirPods Pro share most of their features, so should you consider buying or sticking with the first-generation AirPods Pro to save some money? These details also serve as a way to see all the differences that the new AirPods Pro bring.
AirPods Pro (first generation)
- Active Noise Cancellation
- High dynamic range amplifier that powers speaker drivers with high excursion and low distortion
- H1 chip chips
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Optical IR sensor for in-ear detection
- Forced sensor control
- IPX4 sweat and waterproof earbuds
- Up to 4.5 hours of listening time with Active Noise Cancellation enabled
- 24 hours total listening time with Active Noise Cancellation using the MagSafe Charging Case
- MagSafe Charging Case with Find Mine
- MagSafe Charging Case is compatible with MagSafe chargers, Qi wireless charging mats, and Lightning
- Three silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
AirPods Pro (second generation)
- Active Noise Cancellation (2x more powerful)
- Transparency and Adaptive Transparency
- New low distortion audio driver and dedicated amplifier for richer bass and clearer sound
- H2 chips
- Bluetooth 5.3
- Skin detection sensor for in-ear detection
- Force sensor and touch control for volume adjustment
- IPX4 sweat and water resistant earbuds and charging case
- Up to 6 hours of listening time with Active Noise Cancellation enabled
- 30 hours total listening time with Active Noise Cancellation using MagSafe Charging Case
- MagSafe Charging Case with built-in speaker for Find My, Precision Tracking and Lanyard loop
- The MagSafe Charging Case is compatible with Apple Watch chargers, MagSafe chargers, Qi wireless charging mats, and Lightning
- Four silicone ear tips (XS, S, M, L)
Overall, the second-generation AirPods Pro offer modest upgrades over the previous generation with valuable upgrades across the board, but there are some new features that are a must-have. Some users who frequently use their AirPods Pro may be able to justify upgrading to the second generation model due to various upgrades, but this will not be the case for all existing users.
Many users who recently purchased AirPods Pro may not be able to justify upgrading to the current second generation AirPods Pro unless they desperately want features like Adaptive Transparency, touch controls for volume adjustment, or Apple Watch charger compatibility. Users who purchased their AirPods Pro in late 2019 or early 2020 may see even more reason to upgrade, especially if the battery in their existing device has decreased significantly. These customers will benefit from the plethora of enhancements offered by the second generation model.
If you’ve been interested in buying AirPods Pro for a while, now would be a good time to pick up the first-generation models at a big discount, but keep in mind that they’re now around three years old. Likewise, keep in mind that AirPods Pro are one of Apple’s most frequently discounted products, so waiting to buy a second-generation model for a few months can result in significant savings.