Nearly three years after launching the first generation of AirPods Pro, Apple has unveiled the second generation model alongside the iPhone 14 lineup and several new Apple Watches. Although the second-generation AirPods Pro features the same design as its predecessor, it improves features like active noise cancellation, in-ear detection, and battery life, while introducing new functions like adaptive transparency, touch volume controls, and precision finding.
Apple has now stopped production of the first generation AirPods Pro and prices have dropped at third-party sellers. As such, some customers may consider purchasing the discounted first-generation AirPods Pro or purchasing the second-generation version.
The two generations of AirPods Pro share the vast majority of their features, so should you consider buying or continuing with the first generation AirPods Pro to save money? This breakdown also serves as a way to see all the differences that the new AirPods Pro brings to the table.
AirPods Pro (1st generation)
- Active Noise Cancellation
- High dynamic range amplifier drives low distortion and high distortion amplifier
- H1 . chip
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Infrared optical sensors to detect inside the ear
- Force sensor controls
- IPX4 Sweat and Water Resistant Earbuds
- Up to 4.5 hours of listening with active noise cancellation enabled
- 24 hours of total listening time with active noise cancellation using the MagSafe charging case
- MagSafe Charging Case with Find My
- MagSafe Charging Case Compatible with MagSafe Charger, Qi Wireless Charging Mats, and Lightning
- Three silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
- Active Noise Cancellation (Twice Stronger)
- Transparency and adaptive transparency
- New low-distortion audio driver and dedicated amplifier for richer sound and clearer sound
- H2 . chips
- Bluetooth 5.3
- Skin detection sensors to detect inside the ear
- Force sensors and touch controls to adjust volume
- IPX4 sweat and water resistant earbuds and charging case
- Up to 6 hours of listening with active noise cancellation enabled
- 30 hours of total listening time with active noise cancellation using the MagSafe® charging case
- MagSafe Charging Case with Built-in Speaker for Find My, Precise Tracking, and Cord Loop
- The MagSafe Charging Case is compatible with Apple Watch chargers, MagSafe chargers, and Qi and Lightning wireless charging mats.
- Four silicone ear tips (XS, S, M, L)
Overall, the second-generation AirPods Pro offer a modest upgrade over the previous generation with valuable improvements across the board, but there are a few new features to be had. Some heavy AirPods Pro users may be able to justify upgrading to the second generation model due to the wide range of improvements, but that won’t be the case for all current users.
Many users who bought AirPods Pro recently may not be able to justify upgrading to the second generation AirPods Pro at this time, unless they specifically want features like Adaptive Transparency, touch controls for adjusting volume, or Apple Watch charger compatibility. Users who purchased AirPods Pro in late 2019 or early 2020 may see more reason to upgrade, especially if the batteries in their current devices have deteriorated significantly. These customers will benefit from a large number of improvements offered by the second generation model.
If you’ve been interested in buying AirPods Pro for a while, it’s also a good time to pick up the first generation model for a big discount, but remember that they’re now about three years old. Likewise, it’s worth noting that AirPods Pro are among the most commonly discounted Apple products, so waiting to buy a second-generation model for a few months can result in significant savings.