Apple has finally announced the long rumoured AirPods Pro — an updated, more powerful, and feature-packed version of the regular AirPods and AirPods 2. The AirPods Pro come in a new design, and now also feature earbuds for a better, more secure in-ear fit than the regular AirPods. There are also a bunch of new features here, including, active noise cancellation.
AirPods Pro Features
Active Noise Cancellation
The AirPods Pro are fitted with two microphones (one facing outwards and another facing inwards) that allow the earphones to analyse environmental and ambient sound, and then perform noise cancellation trickery to remove that disturbance. The key distinction here is the second microphone, which analyses audio towards the ear, and helps the earphones cancel that out as well. According to Apple, AirPods Pro’s noise cancellation adapts audio up to 200 times per second.
The AirPods Pro also feature Adaptive EQ, which automatically tunes the low and mid-frequencies of music according to the user’s ear. I’m not exactly clear on how the AirPods Pro actually know the shape of a user’s ear, and until we get a hands-on with these earphones, I can’t say for certain whether Adaptive EQ makes a big difference to the audio quality on AirPods. Apple also says that the AirPods Pro come with a custom high dynamic range amplifier that powers a custom high-excursion, low distortion speaker to provide great sound with impressive battery life.
Similar to features you would find on a lot of other high-end noise cancelling headphones and earphones, AirPods Pro also feature a mode that will let you hear ambient noise (or a conversation) while enjoying your music. The Cupertino giant is calling this feature “Transparency Mode” and this is how Apple describes its workings: “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 ANC and Transparency Mode can be achieved via the control center on an iPhone with a long-press on the volume bar.
The AirPods Pro are sweat and water-resistant, but aren’t exactly suited to take swimming. The earphones come with IPX4 rating, and Apple itself says “AirPods Pro are sweat- and water- resistant for non-water sports and exercise”. So maybe don’t take them into the ocean, or on your swimming sessions unless you’re okay with buying a new pair afterwards.
AirPods Pro Battery Life
As for the battery life, Apple claims that even with the addition of noise cancellation, the AirPods Pro have the same battery life as the AirPods and AirPods 2, and will last for 5 hours of listening time. With Active Noise Cancellation turned on, the AirPods Pro provide 4.5 hours of listening time and 3.5 hours of talk time.
Plus, the new wireless charging case can charge the AirPods Pro up for another 24 hours of listening time and over 18 hours of talk time. Thanks to support for wireless charging, users can just place the AirPods Pro with their case on a Qi-certified wireless charging mat to juice it up, or connect them via a Lightning cable.
AirPods Pro Price and Availability
The AirPods Pro are priced at $249 in the US, and are available to pre-order right now from Apple’s online store. The earphones will be available starting October 30 in the United States and 25 other markets. In-store, availability will begin sometime later this week.