Apple just unveiled a high-end version of their popular AirPods today, which they have aptly named the Airpods Pro. So what exactly does the Pro version get you?
The standout feature is Active Noise Cancellation, along with superior, immersive sound in an all-new lightweight, in-ear design. Of course, stepping up to the Pro comes at a higher cost than the standard $159 AirPods, priced at a not-unreasonable $249.
Sure, there are plenty of in-ear, noise cancelling headphones out there on the market, like the Libratone TRACK+ Wireless Earphones that we reviewed well over a year ago. But many users prefer to stay in the Apple ecosystem and get that seamless integration. And they’ve added a few cool features to boot that you won’t find on other headphones.
“AirPods are the best-selling headphones in the world. The 1-tap setup experience, incredible sound and iconic design have made them a beloved Apple product, and with AirPods Pro, we’re taking the magic even further,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The new in-ear AirPods Pro sound amazing with Adaptive EQ, fit comfortably with flexible ear tips and have innovative Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode. We think customers are going to love this new addition to the AirPods family.”
For more information about the new AirPods Pro, check out Apple’s press release:
Apple’s AirPods Pro join the existing AirPods line in delivering an unparalleled wireless audio experience. Each model uses advanced technology to reinvent how people listen to music, make phone calls, enjoy TV shows and movies, play games and interact with Siri. The magical setup experience customers love with today’s AirPods extends to AirPods Pro. By opening the charging case near an iOS or iPadOS device and giving it a simple tap, AirPods Pro are immediately paired to all the devices signed into a user’s iCloud account, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPod touch.
AirPods revolutionized the wireless audio experience with a breakthrough design, and now AirPods Pro take it even further with a new class of lightweight, in-ear headphones engineered for comfort and fit. Each earbud comes with three different sizes of soft, flexible silicone ear tips that conform to the contours of each individual ear, providing both a comfortable fit and a superior seal — a critical factor in delivering immersive sound. To further maximize comfort, AirPods Pro use an innovative vent system to equalize pressure, minimizing the discomfort common in other in-ear designs. AirPods Pro are sweat- and water-resistant, making them perfect for active lifestyles.
Active Noise Cancellation
Active Noise Cancellation on AirPods Pro uses two microphones combined with advanced software to continuously adapt to each individual ear and headphone fit. This removes background noise to provide a uniquely customized, superior noise-canceling experience that allows a user to focus on what they’re listening to — whether it’s a favorite song or a phone conversation.
The first microphone is outward-facing and detects external sound to analyze environmental noise. AirPods Pro then create an equivalent anti-noise that cancels out background noise before it reaches the listener’s ear. A second inward-facing microphone listens toward the ear, and AirPods Pro cancel remaining noise detected by the microphone. Noise cancellation continuously adapts the sound signal 200 times per second.
AirPods Pro deliver superior sound quality with Adaptive EQ, which automatically tunes the low- and mid-frequencies of the music to the shape of an individual’s ear — resulting in a rich, immersive listening experience. A custom high dynamic range amplifier produces pure, incredibly clear sound while also extending battery life, and powers a custom high-excursion, low-distortion speaker driver designed to optimize audio quality and remove background noise. The driver provides consistent, rich bass down to 20Hz and detailed mid- and high-frequency audio.
Transparency mode provides users with the option to simultaneously listen to music while still hearing the environment around them, whether that’s to hear traffic while out for a run or an important train announcement during the morning commute. Using the pressure-equalizing vent system and advanced software that leaves just the right amount of noise cancellation active, Transparency mode ensures that a user’s own voice sounds natural while audio continues to play perfectly.
Switching between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes is simple and can be done directly on AirPods Pro using a new, innovative force sensor on the stem. The force sensor also makes it easy to play, pause or skip tracks, and answer or hang up phone calls. Users can also press on the volume slider in Control Center on iPhone and iPad to control settings, or on Apple Watch by tapping on the AirPlay icon while music is playing.
Performance and Battery Life
The size and performance of AirPods Pro are made possible by a revolutionary system-in-package (SiP) design with the Apple-designed H1 chip at its core. The H1 features 10 audio cores and powers everything from sound to Siri. The extremely low audio processing latency of H1 enables real-time noise cancellation, delivers high-quality sound using adaptive technology and responds to hands-free “Hey Siri” requests — all at once.
AirPods Pro feature the same great battery life as AirPods with up to five hours of listening time. In Active Noise Cancellation mode, AirPods Pro deliver up to four and a half hours of listening time and up to three and a half hours of talk time on a single charge. Through additional charges from the Wireless Charging Case, AirPods Pro deliver over 24 hours of listening time or over 18 hours of talk time. Charging is as simple as placing the AirPods case on a Qi-certified charging mat or using the Lightning port while on the go.
- The Ear Tip Fit Test helps ensure users get the best audio experience from AirPods Pro by testing the quality of the seal and identifying the best ear tip size for them. After placing AirPods Pro in each ear, advanced algorithms work together with the microphones in each AirPod to measure the sound level in the ear and compare it to what is coming from the speaker driver. In just seconds, the algorithm detects whether the ear tip is the right size and has a good fit, or should be adjusted to create a better seal.
- Voice-activated Siri uses the H1 chip to enable hands-free “Hey Siri” to play a song, increase the volume, make a call or get directions.
- Audio Sharing makes it easy to listen to the same song or watch the same movie with a friend by simply bringing a second pair of AirPods close to iPhone or iPad.
- Announce Messages automatically and conveniently speaks incoming messages as soon as they arrive, and when on a phone call or sharing media via Audio Sharing, Siri knows not to interrupt.
Pricing and Availability
- AirPods Pro will be available for $249 and are available to order from apple.com and in the Apple Store app in the US and more than 25 other countries and regions. AirPods Pro will start shipping on Wednesday, October 30 and be available in stores beginning later this week.
- AirPods Pro require Apple devices running iOS 13.2 or later, iPadOS 13.2 or later, watchOS 6.1 or later, tvOS 13.2 or later, or macOS Catalina 10.15.1 or later.
- AirPods with Charging Case are available for $159 and AirPods with Wireless Charging Case are available for $199. Customers can order the standalone Wireless Charging Case for $79.
- Customers can add personal engraving to AirPods Pro, AirPods with Charging Case and AirPods with Wireless Charging Case for free on apple.com and the Apple Store app.