Apple Explains Why Second Generation AirPods Pro Ear Tips Are Incompatible With Original AirPods Pro

Apple today explained why the new silicone ear tips for the second-generation AirPods Pro are not officially compatible with the original AirPods Pro.

In an updated support document, Apple said the original AirPods Pro ear tips have “noticeably denser mesh” than the second-generation ear tips. Apple did not provide any additional details, but the mesh density could result in acoustical differences.

“Ear tips have been designed specifically for their AirPods Pro generation, to deliver the highest-fidelity audio experience,” the support document says. “As a result, use the ear tips that come with your AirPods Pro. AirPods Pro (1st generation) ear tips have noticeably denser mesh than AirPods Pro (2nd generation) ear tips.”

Despite the mesh differences, the second-generation ear tips do fit the original AirPods Pro, so they are still physically compatible.

The mesh on the original AirPods Pro ear tips

The second-generation ear tips are available in a new XS option, while the original ear tips remain available in small, medium, and large only. Both generations of ear tips are available on Apple’s online store in sets of two for $7.99 in the United States.
The new AirPods Pro will begin arriving to customers and launch in stores over the next day. The first reviews of the new AirPods Pro were shared earlier today, providing a closer look at improvements to sound quality, active noise cancellation, battery life, and more. The second-generation AirPods Pro remain priced at $249.

Update: The Verge’s Chris Welch tested both generations of ear tips with the new AirPods Pro and did not notice any obvious sound differences:

Could a looser mesh pattern really make any difference to sound quality? If it’s there, it’s extremely subtle. Swapping back and forth between the first- and second-gen tips on the latest AirPods Pro, I didn’t notice any immediate or obvious sound changes. Noise cancellation also remained just as effective with both pairs. Maybe lab testing equipment can reveal some differences between the tips, but your ears will probably have a harder time at it.

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