In case you hadn’t heard, Apple is releasing a new set AirPods today. They’re called the AirPods Pro, costing $249, and they deliver two new features to Apple’s headphone line.
However, the AirPods Pro are not a replacement for the standard AirPods but as the name suggests, they are a more premium version of them. The main features here are active noise cancellation, a new water-resistant design and a few other unique and interesting features.
These are the first AirPods to feature a noise-isolating design, with three sets of silicone ear tips that push into your ear canal, click into place and provide passive noise isolation even before the electronics kick into place. A vent system is used to equalize the pressure so the wearer doesn’t feel any discomfort, especially if they aren’t used to in-ear earphones.
The AirPods Pro is Apple‘s first headphones to use ear tips since the 2008 model and because of that the headphones now create a proper seal, they will presumably block out more sound by default.
They are also the first ones to offer active noise-cancelling, which uses two microphones to capture and mitigate background noise, one on the outside and one on the inside of the earphones. The external microphone monitors the ambient noise and then creates an inverse audio signal that cancels it out. The internal microphone monitors the sound within the earphones and automatically adjusts the noise cancellation for each ear based on the amount of noise seeping in. The company says the microphones continuously adapt the sound signal about 200 times per second.
The AirPods Pro also have a feature called Transparency, which essentially mixes in some of the ambient sounds in with the audio so that you can hear things like the traffic around you when you’re out for a run or announcements at the airport.
The new Airpods also have a new design that is IPX4 water and sweat resistant, meaning you can use them in the gym or on a run and don’t have to worry about ruining them with sweat plus the new in-ear design keeps them from sliding off your ear. Although, don’t be a fool and go use these in the pool and, only the earphones are water-resistant, not the case.
The earphones stalks are now also pressure sensitive, one can squeeze them to invoke various functions. You can press and hold to toggle between active noise cancellation and Transparency mode, press once to play/pause, twice to skip tracks, and thrice to skip back.
When it comes to the audio bit of it, the AirPods Pro use a new custom high-excursion audio driver with a new custom high dynamic range amplifier. The audio is constantly monitored using the internal microphone and adjusted on the fly hence you get the best audio quality regardless of the shape of your ear and the noise around you.
Just like the standard AirPods, with the AirPods Pro, you can just open the lid near an iOS device and have them show up for easy pairing. You can also pull them out of your ears to pause the music and then put them back on to continue playing.
Another great new feature with the AirPods Pro is the Ear Tip Fit Test, which uses the internal microphone to measure the sound level and tell you if the ear tip you have selected is the right size for your ear and if you need to adjust it for a better seal.
The AirPods Pro also supports the Audio Sharing feature with select iOS and iPadOS devices. Whereby you can have two sets of AirPods Pro connected to the same device and listening to the same content.
Notwithstanding all the new features and slightly smaller design, the battery life of the AirPods Pro is similar to that of the AirPods. They provide 4.5 hours of music listening time with noise cancelling turned on and 5 hours with it turned off. You also get 3.5 hours of talk time with noise cancelling on.
The case has been redesigned for the new AirPods Pro, and it’s main feature is that wireless charging is built-in and you don’t need to buy an optional case. It works with any Qi-enabled wireless charger, just like the iPhone. Or you can just charge it with a Lightning cable.
The case alos provides additional charges and takes the battery life to a total of 24 hours of listening time and 18 hours of talk time. On top of that, the case does fast charging and provides one hour of music or calls after just 5 minutes of charging.
If interested, the AirPods Pro are already available for purchase at Apple.com and will hit store shelves this Wednesday, 30 October. They will also be available in over 25 countries, including the US at the aforementioned price. The standard AirPods can still be purchased for $159 or $199 with the Wireless Charging Case, which is also sold separately for $99.