Apple has chosen today to unveil its next generation of AirPods, and this one is a pretty big deal. the new $249 AirPods are getting a new name with Apple’s now infamous “Pro” moniker at the end. Simply called AirPods Pro, the new earbuds strive to improve virtually every aspect of the original AirPods that people have had complaints about.
Right off the bat, the AirPods Pro come with an updated design that should slide out of your ears way less frequently. They’re also more sweat and water-resistant (athletes: take note).
To achieve a better fit, Apple now includes ear tips in the box in Small, Medium, and Large sizes. An intelligent sensor-based system will record sound levels in your ear to see if you’re wearing the right size. Each tip also helps to seal off your ear canal and isolate as much noise as possible.
This leads right into Apple’s noise cancellation feature in the AirPods Pro. According to the company’s press release, the buds appear to use the same Active Noise Cancellation that’s in the new Beats Solo Pros, just shrunken down so they can fit in tiny ear tips. Here’s the full description of the feature.
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.
For sound, Apple says the new AirPods Pro use a custom high dynamic range amplifier and a custom high-excursion speaker driver to deliver the company’s Adaptive EQ technology. The buds are intelligent enough to automatically adjust low- and mid-frequencies and deliver bass down to 20Hz when necessary. I don’t know if these are just gonna sound like nicer EarPods or if Apple actually has pro-grade audio on their hands, but I’m pretty excited to try them out nonetheless.
There’s also a new feature called Transparency Mode. Using external microphones, the AirPods Pro can let you hear the outside world while still listening to your music. You can even pause your music and increase transparency to simulate the experience of not even having the earbuds in your ears.
Of course, the AirPods Pro also come with all the normal AirPod-y stuff you’d expect like intelligent play/pause controls, a really simple pairing process for Apple device users, “Hey Siri” support, and more. this is all powered by Apple’s H1 chip which works more efficiently than past W-series chips from the company.
In terms of battery life, Apple says the AirPods Pro can last up to five hours on a full charge. With ANC turned on, expect 4.5 hours of usage. As usual, though, the included wireless charging case can provide an additional 24 hours of usage. By the way, the case can also charge over Lightning.
Apple will charge $249 for the AirPods Pro, $90 more than regular AirPods and $50 more than regular AirPods with an included wireless charging case. The new model starts shipping Wednesday, October 30th. They’re only available in one color: white.