Apple on Monday officially announced a brand new member of the AirPods family: AirPods Pro. These new truly wireless headphones look similar enough to the original AirPods, but they do boast a design change in an effort to give a “truly immersive sound” experience. In addition to that, the new AirPods Pro also feature active noise-cancellation, one of the most oft-requested features to date for Apple’s wireless headphones.
It was rumored that Apple was going to announce the new headphones at an event, but it looks like the company has decided to go the press release route:
AirPods are the best-selling headphones in the world. The one-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.
The new AirPods Pro feature a slight design change to fit further into the ear canal, featuring “soft, flexible silicone ear tips” that will “conform to the contours of each individual ear, providing both a comfortable fit and a superior seal”. The headphones also feature an “innovative vent system”, which Apple says will “equalize pressure”, aiming to reduce the overall discomfort of wearing in-ear headphones over time.
Packing Active Noise Cancellation and other tech
The new AirPods Pro are also water- and sweat-resistant.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is a huge addition for the AirPods Pro. Working in conjunction with “advanced software”, a pair of microphones will adapt to each individual’s ear and “headphone fit”. This will remove background noise while the feature is activated.
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.
The AirPods Pro are equipped with Apple’s H1 chip, which features 10 audio cores. And it also makes it possible to have real-time noise cancellation, drive high-quality sound for a range of listening experiences, and supports “Hey Siri”.
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.2 Charging is as simple as placing the AirPods case on a Qi-certified charging mat or using the Lightning port while on the go.
There is a new Transparency Mode with the AirPods Pro, too. Much like other headphones with noise cancellation built-in, this will allow owners of the new truly wireless headphones to adjust just how much ambient sound is allowed in while they’re being used. Apple says that using the “pressure-equalizing vent system and advanced software” will leave “just the right amount” of noise cancellation active.
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.
Here are some noteworthy additional features from the press release:
- 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.
Apple also has a video presenting the new truly wireless headphones:
Now, as far as pricing goes, the AirPods Pro are set at $249 in the United States. They are available to order online from Apple’s website (or the Apple Store app) in the U.S. and from 25 additional countries and regions beginning today. The new truly wireless headphones will start shipping on Wednesday, October 30.
In-store availability will go live later this week depending on region and country.
So, there we go! AirPods Pro are now officially official. Do you plan on picking up a pair?