With Apple’s AirPods seemingly falling behind the more powerful wireless earbuds, such as the recently announced Microsoft Surface Earbuds, they surprised us today with a new, more sophisticated member of the AirPods family, the AirPods Pro.
The AirPods Pro finally delivers what the public has been asking for: active noise-cancellation. At first glance, the AirPods’ new design exudes a more premium feel than its predecessor. It is lightweight, sweat and water-resistant to be able to cater to different lifestyles. The AirPods Pro now also sport an in-ear design. Included in the box are silicone ear tips of three varying sizes that are made to conform to an individual’s ear. This ensures a comfortable fit and, more importantly, a proper seal.
A proper seal with the ear canal is essential in creating quality, immersive sound. This feature has not been available to any Apple earphones for some time now but the AirPods Pro revives and improves it. A proper seal also allows for much more effective noise canceling.
With the AirPod Pro’s active noise cancellation, two microphones are utilized and combined with
advanced software to create a superior noise-canceling experience. The outward-facing microphone detects and analyses surrounding noise which is then countered ay an equivalent anti-noise created by the earphones. The second inward-facing microphone listens in the ear’s direction and cancels the remaining noise before it reaches the user. Common problems with an earphone’s seal are often related to discomfort. Apple resolves this by installing an innovative vent system that will address the issue of discomfort by equalizing pressure.
One can switch between the AirPods Pro’s Active Noise Cancellation and a new mode, Transparency Mode. Switching to this mode will instruct the AirPods to create a more balanced cancellation that will still let users hear their surroundings. This will prove most useful for situations where one still needs to hear the environment, like when going for a run. Switching between modes can be easily done by on-board touch controls with a force sensor on the stem. This also controls other functions such as music playback and answering calls.
With Adaptive EQ, frequencies are automatically tuned to the shape of the individual’s ear to create a personalized listening experience. Also fitted with a high dynamic range amplifier, the AirPod Pro can produce crystal clear sound all while extending battery life. This amplifier also powers a high-excursion, low-distortion speaker driver that optimizes audio quality and background noise.
The AirPod Pro’s battery life matches that of the 2nd gen AirPods with 5 hours of listening time. When in Active Noise Cancellation mode, the AirPods Pro can delivery 4 and a half hours of listening time and 3 and a half hours of talk time. The wireless charging case will provide additional juice to the AirPods Pro giving it over 24 hours of listening time or over 18 hours of talk time. The charging case also supports wireless charging via any Qi-certified charging mat.
Some additional features include an Ear Tip Fit Test, which tests the quality of the seal by identifying which size ear tip would be most optimal, Voice-activated Siri, Audio Sharing, and an Announce Messages feature.
The AirPods Pro will only work with iOS 13.2, iPadOS 13.2, watchOS 6.1, tvOS 13.2, and macOS Catalina 10.15.1 at minimum.
The AirPods Pro pricing jumps to a lofty $249 compared to the $160 price tag of the AirPods. Pre-order are available now, but the AirPods Pro won’t start shipping until October 30th.