Apple Launches $249 AirPods Pro; with New In-Ear Design, Active Noise Cancellation, and Transparency Mode

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today launched AirPods Pro, featuring an all new lightweight in-ear design, active noise cancellation, and a transparency mode to keep you in touch with the world around you..

“AirPods are the best-selling headphones in the world. The one-tap setup experience, incredible sound and iconic design have made them a beloved Apple product, and with AirPods Pro, we’re taking the magic even further,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The new in-ear AirPods Pro sound amazing with Adaptive EQ, fit comfortably with flexible ear tips and have innovative Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode. We think customers are going to love this new addition to the AirPods family.”

AirPods Pro are sweat- and water-resistant, and come with three different sizes of soft, flexible silicone ear tips for each earbud.

Apple says that active noise cancellation on AirPods Pro uses two microphones combined with advanced software to continuously adapt to each individual ear and headphone fit; and that this “removes background noise to provide a uniquely customized, superior noise-canceling experience”:

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.

AirPods Pro uses “Adaptive EQ”, which automatically tunes the low- and mid-frequencies of the music to the shape of an individual’s ear — resulting in a rich, immersive listening experience. A custom high dynamic range amplifier produces pure, incredibly clear sound while also extending battery life, and powers a custom high-excursion, low-distortion speaker driver designed to optimize audio quality and remove background noise. The driver provides consistent, rich bass down to 20Hz and detailed mid- and high-frequency audio.

AirPods Pro offer a “transparency mode”, which provides users with the option to simultaneously listen to music while still hearing the environment around them.

The increased situational awareness that transparency mode should offer over some other noise cancelling headphones has the potential to deliver added value to blind and low vision users, so we will be keen to learn just how well this works in real world settings.

Switching between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes is simple and can be done directly on AirPods Pro using a new, innovative force sensor on the stem. The force sensor also makes it easy to play, pause or skip tracks, and answer or hang up phone calls. Users can also press on the volume slider in Control Center on iPhone and iPad to control settings, or on Apple Watch by tapping on the AirPlay icon while music is playing.

AirPods Pro are equipped with Apple's-designed H1 chip, which should ensure similar low levels of VoiceOver latency to that of the standard AirPods.

Apple says that AirPods Pro feature the same battery life as AirPods with up to five hours of listening time when not using active noise cancellation. when noise cancellation is enabled, AirPods Pro deliver up to four and a half hours of listening time and up to three and a half hours of talk time.

AirPods Pro come with a wireless charging case, which allows for over 24 hours of listening time or over 18 hours of talk time.

Other features of AirPods Pro include:

  • The Ear Tip Fit Test helps ensure users get the best audio experience from AirPods Pro by testing the quality of the seal and identifying the best ear tip size for them. After placing AirPods Pro in each ear, advanced algorithms work together with the microphones in each AirPod to measure the sound level in the ear and compare it to what is coming from the speaker driver. In just seconds, the algorithm detects whether the ear tip is the right size and has a good fit, or should be adjusted to create a better seal.
  • Voice-activated Siri uses the H1 chip to enable hands-free “Hey Siri” to play a song, increase the volume, make a call or get directions.
  • Audio Sharing makes it easy to listen to the same song or watch the same movie with a friend by simply bringing a second pair of AirPods close to iPhone or iPad.3
  • Announce Messages automatically and conveniently speaks incoming messages as soon as they arrive, and when on a phone call or sharing media via Audio Sharing, Siri knows not to interrupt.4

Pricing and Availability

AirPods Pro will be available for $249 (US) and are available to order from apple.com and in the Apple Store app in the US and more than 25 other countries and regions. AirPods Pro will start shipping on Wednesday, October 30 and be available in stores beginning later this week.

AirPods Pro require Apple devices running iOS 13.2 or later, iPadOS 13.2 or later, watchOS 6.1 or later, tvOS 13.2 or later, or macOS Catalina 10.15.1 or later.

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4 Comments

#1 AirPods Pro

Of course they would announce these right before my Beats Solo Pros that I preordered ship. It sounds like AirPods Pro don't have integrated volume controls, which is why I passed on regular AirPods several times. So I'll probably end up keeping the BSP's. I definitely want to check these out though.

#2 Sounds amazing

Hi.
I was surprised to read about the new Airpot Pro's. They sounds really amazing. I can't wait to check those out.

#3 WatchOS 6.1

It is out today.

#4 I'm happy with my standard AirPods

Hi,
That's so amazing that the AirPods Pro will be launching, but I'm happy with my standard AirPods. Their totally fine. I went ahead and purchase those instead for my 28th birthday thanks to my dad. so, I'm not interested in the pro version.