Apple wasn’t the first company to launch a set of truly-wireless earbuds, but the company’s $159 AirPods have become rather iconic over the last few years, for better or worse. Meanwhile, the company’s entry into the space probably did a lot to spur other companies to launch their own wireless earbuds that compete in either features, or price.
Now Apple has unveiled AirPods Pro, a new version with an updated design and active noise cancellation.
They’re up for pre-order starting today for $249 and they start shipping Wednesday, October 25th.
Apple is sticking with its decision to make its wireless earbuds look like what you’d see if you simply yanked the wires out: there’s an earpiece that sticks in your ear and a small stick that extends beyond it — but Apple has made that stick a little smaller in the AirPods Pro.
AirPods pro have two microphones that are used to detect ambient sound and then adjust the audio to remove background noise while you’re listening.
In addition to noise cancellation technology, Apple says AirPods Pro have a vent system that equalizes pressure in your ears to improve comfort.
The earbuds also support Adaptive EQ, which Apple says tunes low and mid-range frequencies “to the shape of an individual’s ear.”
And if you want to make sure that you don’t drown out the sounds of your environment, there’s a “transparency mode” that can let some sound through so you don’t miss the sounds of oncoming traffic and your voice doesn’t sound funny if you’re talking while using the earbuds.
Apple says AirPods Pro features an H1 processor with 10 audio cores and low-latency audio processing to enable noise cancellation and hands-free “Hey Siri” functionality.
The company says you should get up to 4.5 hours of run time while using AirPods Pro with active noise cancellation, or up to three hours of talk time. But the earbuds also come with a wireless charging case that the company says offers up to 24 hours of listening time on the go before you need to recharge the case by placing it on a Qi-certified charging mat or plugging it into a wired charger with an Apple Lightning cable.
While noise cancellation is the big new feature, there are a couple of other differences between the AirPods Pro and normal AirPods:
- AirPods Pro have IPX4 sweat and water resistance (AirPods do not).
- AirPods Pro measure 1.22″ x 0.86″ compared with 1.59″ x 0.65″ for the AirPods.
- AirPods Pro offer up to 4.5 hours of listening time, compared with 5 hours for the AirPods.
- AirPods Pro cost $249, while AirPods cost $159.
- AirPods Pro come with customizable silicone tips (Airpods do not).