Apple at its “Far Out” event on September 7 announced the second-generation AirPods Pro noise-canceling earbuds, costing the same $249 as the original model.
The new AirPods Pro run Apple’s latest H2 chip
While the design hasn’t changed a lot from the previous generation, the new AirPods Pro introduce some cool new features made possible by the Apple H2.
The new chip is faster and more power-efficient than the H1 chip in the previous AirPods Pro and uses Bluetooth 5.3 wireless technology.
The new chip enables some powerful computational audio features that simply couldn’t run on the H1 before. For instance, active noise cancellation is now better than ever, capable of canceling 2x more noise than the original model.
Introducing an even better transparency mode
The original AirPods Pro introduced something called transparency mode, which mixes environment sounds with AirPods audio to let you hear what’s going on around you whilst listening to music. Well, the new AirPods Pro take this to another level with adaptive transparency mode. What’s that?
Well, the H2 chip basically processes sounds from the environment 48,000 times per second to detect harsh environmental noises, such as a pneumatic drill. It then dynamically applies some noise cancellation to reduce the volume of harsh environmental noises. Read: Tips to make your AirPods Pro louder
Although the H2 enables high-bandwidth wireless connectivity, it still doesn’t support lossless audio so you won’t be able to enjoy crisp audio on these earbuds.
Touch controls for the volume
You do get a few other improvements to boot such as a custom high dynamic range amplifier and Apple’s low-distortion driver for richer, more crisp sound. And with iOS 16’s personalized spatial audio feature, you can use your iPhone’s TrueDepth camera to create a personalized sound profile tuned specifically for you.
The new AirPods Pro ship with four differently-sized ear tips (L, M, S and the new XS size for small ears). If you didn’t use the first AirPods Pro due to a poor fit, you might have better luck with the new model.
The first model featured force sensors in the stem so you could press it to skip to the next track, use Siri and so on.
But you couldn’t change the volume with force controls. Thankfully, the new AirPods Pro have touch controls so you can swipe up and down on the stem to increase or decrease the volume. Read: How to use force controls on AirPods Pro
6 hours of battery life, 30 with the case
Apple has managed to fit longer-lasting batteries in these new AirPods Pro so now you get six hours of listening time on a single charge or 30 hours of listening time with the charging case. In terms of talk time, you get 4.5 hours with a single charge.
By comparison, the first model was rated with five-hour battery life and provided 24 hours of run time if you used the charging case.
The charging case now works with Find My
The original AirPods can produce a tone when in lost mode, but good luck hearing it. To help with that, Apple has equipped the charging case for the new AirPods Pro with a Bluetooth module that permits it to participate in the Find My network.
That means that if you lose your charging case, you’ll be able to use the Precision Finding feature in the Find My app to locate it more easily. And on top of that, the charging case now has a speaker so it, too, can play a sound when in lost mode.
You’ll also hear an audible confirmation from the speaker when you pair or unpair your AirPods Pro. The charging case still uses Apple’s proprietary Lightning port for charging (a USB-C version is due in 2023) and supports wireless charging.
You can charge your AirPods Pro charging case on any Qi-compatible wireless charger, in addition to an Apple Watch charger and any MagSafe one. Oh, and this time around the AirPods Pro charging case comes with a handy lanyard loop!
Both the new AirPods Pro and their MagSafe charging case are rated with IPX4 sweat and water resistance.
Pricing and availability
The new AirPods Pro cost $249 and come with free Memoji engraving when ordering using the Apple Store app [App Store link]. This option is unavailable when purchasing your earbuds via apple.com/store.
You can order the new AirPods Pro starting Friday, September 9, with retail availability beginning Friday, September 23.