The Weird Incompatibility Between Apple's AirPods Pro

Apple's product ecosystem is often favored for its seamless cross-device compatibility, but it has its fair share of frustrations, too. For example, connecting peripherals to an iPad or Mac is now made easier courtesy of the USB-C port, but iPhone and other accessories continue to demand an extra cable compatible with their Lightning port. As the saying goes, committing to the Apple ecosystem also means you usually need to live the dongle life. The latest addition to Apple's range causing some product incompatibility head-scratching is the second-gen AirPods Pro

It turns out, the ear tips that come bundled with the 2022 AirPods Pro are not compatible with the first generation AirPods Pro, or so says Apple.The mismatch doesn't really make a lot of sense on the surface, since both iterations of Apple's flagship earbuds rock an identical design. In fact, it appears that the incompatibility has little to do with the earbuds' engineering: instead, it's the ear tips themselves and the mesh inside that are at play here. In an official support document, Apple notes that the second-gen AirPods Pro ship with updated ear tips that feature a denser mesh.

Hey Apple, this makes little sense!

"Ear tips have been designed specifically for their AirPods Pro generation, to deliver the highest-fidelity audio experience," Apple explains. The company didn't go into detail as to how, exactly, the denser ear mesh plays into enhancing the audio quality on the second-gen AirPods Pro. To Apple's credit, the company has indeed improved the audio quality as well the noise cancellation depth on the second-gen AirPods Pro. In his review of Apple's latest TWS earbuds, SlashGear's Chris Davies praised the improved noise cancellation, but it's unclear if that virtue has anything to do with the denser mesh inside the ear tips.

The frequency range has also been widened this time around, so if you've got well-attuned audiophile ears, you just might feel the added spark while enjoying music. In case you're feeling adventurous, yes, you can still physically fit the earbuds from the previous-gen AirPods Pro on their successor, MacRumors points out, it's just that the raw audio quality might be a tad different, if Apple is to be believed. Don't bother trying to recharge your second-gen AirPods Pro in the first-gen's case, mind, or vice-versa: they're incompatible. If it comes as any consolation, Apple is now bundling in a pair of extra small (XS-sized) ear tips with its top-end wireless earbuds, in addition to the usual small, medium, and large sizes, to make sure the active noise cancellation has a better seal for more individual ear sizes.