New AirPods Pro 2 leak has me excited – but will these wireless earbuds compete?

The Apple AirPods 2 release date has been forecast, but I'm unsure just how 'pro' the earbuds will feel when unveiled

Apple AirPods Pro true wireless earbuds
(Image credit: Apple)

The long-awaited successor to Apple's AirPods Pro is on its way. The cunningly named AirPods Pro 2, the second generation of Apple's best wireless earbuds, will be launched in the Autumn with a new design, better audio quality and perhaps some health tracking information too.

That's according to Bloomberg's well-informed Apple watcher Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter.

Gurman also reports that my beloved AirPods Max are getting a mid-life refresh this year, but don't expect any significant new features beyond a few new colour options. That means right now is a really good time to invest in a pair if you were already thinking about it: unless you're hankering for a different colour the current range is widely discounted so you won't need to pay anything close to the RRP – and you don't need to worry that there'll be a dramatically better model along in a few months.

This month is proving to be an excellent month for high-end headphone fans: there are tons of new models coming from some of the biggest names in audio tech. And while that's great for us, the consumer, it will mean incredibly fierce competition for the AirPods Pro 2 when they launch. AirPods Pro 2 are sure going to have to compete in terms of high-end true wireless earbud technology or they will end up looking not-so-pro.

Ear we go: the earbuds we're excited about in 2022

In addition to Apple's earbuds we're exited about the Google Pixel Buds Pro, which we hope to hear more about at Google I/O this week, and Sony's Linkbuds S, which are aiming for the best noise cancelling earbuds crown – although personally I think the new Ecru colour looks a bit too much like the beige of old NHS hearing aides to make me want to put it in my ears. Then there's Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds, which have been significantly redesigned, B&O's EX True Wireless Earbuds and many more.

And of course there are plenty of brilliant earbuds to choose from already. My current favourites are Cambridge Audio's Melomania Touch, the sequel to the T3 Award-winning Melomania 1, which punch way above their price tag, and the sublime Astell&Kern UW100. Simply put, competition is fierce and looking only to get fiercer in the months to come before AirPods Pro 2 launch.

I'm genuinely amazed by how fast earbud technology has improved, especially in terms of noise cancelling and sound quality – and not just at the most expensive end of the market either. And all that competition means lots of discounting too. It's a brilliant time to be a music lover.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).