Upcoming AirPods Max to Retain H1 Chip, Missing Out on AirPods Pro’s H2 Chip Advancements

The anticipation for the new release of AirPods Max next year is tinged with a hint of disappointment as reports indicate that it will still lag behind the AirPods Pro in terms of features, chiefly due to the lack of the H2 chip.

Key Highlights:

  • The forthcoming update to the AirPods Max will not include the H2 chip found in AirPods Pro.
  • The H2 chip powers advanced features in AirPods Pro such as Adaptive Audio, Conversational Awareness, Personalized Volume, and ‘Siri’ wake word support.
  • The primary change in the new AirPods Max will be the shift to a USB-C port for charging, aligning with European Commission regulations.

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The current AirPods Max hasn’t seen a revision since its introduction in December 2020, while the AirPods Pro has enjoyed multiple updates in both hardware and software. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the update for the AirPods Max, slated for next year, was initially hoped to bring the device up to speed with AirPods Pro features. However, it now appears that the update will be minor, primarily to comply with European Commission regulations mandating the use of USB-C for charging accessories like headphones. The driving motivation for the hardware refresh seems to be regulatory compliance rather than feature enhancement. As a result, the AirPods Max will continue to be powered by the H1 chip, not the H2 chip, which means they will still not support advanced software features that AirPods Pro received with iOS 17. These features include Adaptive Audio, Conversational Awareness, Personalized Volume, and support for the ‘Siri’ wake word. The update won’t bring other improvements like a U1 chip for Precision Finding or design changes to the charging case either​.

The H2 chip in the AirPods Pro facilitates on-device processing that dampens loud environmental noises without silencing them completely, enhancing the user’s auditory experience in varying environments. This chip supports features like Adaptive Transparency Mode, making the AirPods Pro stand out in the market​T. Some of these advanced noise cancellation technologies, alongside IPX4 sweat and water resistance and longer battery life, underline the disparity in features between the AirPods Max and AirPods Pro​.

In 2024, the standard AirPods and the AirPods Max are set for a refresh, with no other notable features expected for the AirPods Max apart from the inclusion of a USB-C port for charging and new color options. The AirPods Pro, on the other hand, will see an update in 2025, with rumors of a new design, a faster chip, and possibly some hearing health features. The exact timeline for these releases is yet unclear, but they are typically anticipated in the latter half of the year, aligning with new iPhone releases​​.

The upcoming update to AirPods Max seems to be more about meeting regulatory requirements rather than enhancing user experience with new features. The lack of the H2 chip keeps the AirPods Max a step behind the AirPods Pro, missing out on advancements that could have enriched user interaction with the device.