After the release of the second-generation AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max became the oldest current-generation AirPods product left in Apple’s lineup. With the introduction of several new features such as Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip, the second generation AirPods Pro can provide some of the best indications yet of what to expect from the second generation AirPods Max.
Almost two years later, the rumors of a successor to the original AirPods Max are thin on the ground. The last we heard about the next-generation AirPods Max was a May 2021 report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman explaining that Apple was considering launching new color options for the device. In addition to new color options and revised audio hardware, there are at least ten potential AirPods Pro features that could make their way to the second version of the AirPods Max.
The second-generation AirPods Pro is the first device to include the H2 chip, Apple’s custom silicon chip designed specifically for earbuds and headphones.
The H2 chip enables enhanced computational audio to improve sound quality on the AirPods Pro and improve battery life with better power efficiency. Since the AirPods Max are Apple’s most premium AirPods, it seems almost certain that the next version will include an H2 chip in each earcup. The chips will likely be at the heart of any improvements to the device’s audio hardware. Bluetooth 5.3 Connectivity
In addition to the H2 chip, the new AirPods Pro feature Bluetooth 5.3, a specification that is also included in the entire iPhone 14 series, as well as the Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra. As such, it’s inevitable that the second-generation AirPods Max will similarly feature the latest Bluetooth standard. Bluetooth 5.3 offers significant improvements in reliability, connection performance and power consumption.
Improved Active Noise Canceling
Thanks to the H2 chip, the second-generation AirPods Pro feature enhanced active noise cancellation (ANC) that is up to two times more effective at blocking unwanted noise.
The outward-facing microphones detect external noise so the AirPods can analyze ambient noise, while the inward-facing microphone listens for the sound coming to the ear. The new AirPods Pro then adjusts the sound signal reaching the ears 48,000 times per second to eliminate external noise.
The second-generation AirPods Pro also feature 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 offer enhanced ANC.
The second-generation AirPods Pro feature an all-new Adaptive Transparency mode that allows important ambient sounds, such as speech, while greatly reducing unwanted ambient noises such as a passing vehicle siren, construction equipment, or even loudspeakers at a concert.
The feature is designed for “more comfortable listening in everyday life,” according to Apple. In addition to improvements to ANC powered by the H2 chip, it seems very likely that the second generation AirPods Max will also have Adaptive Transparency. Conversation Boost
It is also possible that the AirPods Max could also get Conversation Boost, a feature that was exclusive to the AirPods Pro until now.
Conversation Boost is designed to help people with mild hearing impairments hear conversations better and uses the beam-forming microphones on the AirPods Pro to increase the volume of a person speaking right in front of you, making it easier to hear what they are saying. Skin Detection Sensors
Apple’s skin-sensing sensor technology was first introduced on the third-generation AirPods and recently expanded to the AirPods Pro, making the AirPods Max the only current-generation AirPods product without this feature. The current AirPods Max still use optical IR sensors to detect when placed over a user’s ears.
While skin-detection sensors wouldn’t be as useful on the AirPods Max, as they are unlikely to trigger playback on a surface or in a pocket, they can help pause playback and resume playback faster and more accurately. The skin detection sensors are also more efficient and provide longer battery life – something the AirPods Max could also benefit from. Longer battery life
Apple touts improved battery life for both the third-generation AirPods and the second-generation AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods Max could get similar battery life using the efficiencies of the H2 chip, Bluetooth 5.3, and skin-sensing sensors, provided Apple doesn’t reduce the size of the internal battery.
Sweat and water resistance
The third-generation AirPods and second-generation AirPods Pro feature IPX4-rated sweat- and water-resistant eartips and charging cases. This is one area that Apple has improved over time on its various earbuds, but the first-generation AirPods Max don’t have a sweat or water resistance rating.
Some sort of sweat and water resistance rating for the second-generation model seems plausible, especially given Apple’s growing focus on health and fitness. Apple Fitness+ launched just a day before the release of the first-generation AirPods Max in 2020, so it’s possible that the second-generation model has more focus on fitness by being sweat-resistant. U1 Chip and Precision Search
The second-generation MagSafe charging case of the AirPods Pro has an Apple U1 chip for accurate searching in the Find My app, just like AirTag item trackers.
Current AirPods Max offer basic support for Find My, but a U1 chip in the second-generation version could provide a much more precise way to locate the headphones when nearby. To upload
The second-generation case of the AirPods Pro added the ability to charge with an Apple Watch charger, adding to the plethora of charging options that already included MagSafe, Qi wireless charging, and Lightning.
It’s too early to say whether the second-generation AirPods Max will have a new way of charging, such as via MagSafe, but such a change would require deeper changes to the design of the AirPods Max. Nevertheless, the fact that Apple now offers four different ways to charge the AirPods Pro may indicate that it is aware of the benefits of multiple ways of charging and would like to expand this in some way to its high-end. headphones.