Apple in October 2019 debuted the AirPods Pro, a higher-end version of its existing AirPods with a unique design, noise cancellation technology, better sound, and a more expensive $249 price tag.
Design wise, the AirPods Pro look similar to the original AirPods, but feature a wider front to accommodate silicone tips for comfort, fit, and noise cancellation purposes.
Active Noise Cancellation is a key feature of the AirPods 2, using two microphones (one outward facing and one inward facing) along with advanced software to adapt to each ear for what Apple says is a “uniquely customized, superior noise-canceling experience.”
With a built-in Transparency mode that can be toggled on, users have the option to listen to music with Active Noise Cancellation turned on while still hearing the ambient environment around them.
AirPods Pro are water-resistant with an IPX4 rating, which means they can hold up to splashing water regardless of the direction. This suggests AirPods Pro should be safe from sweat and light rain, but they shouldn’t be submerged.
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Like the AirPods 2 and the Beats Solo Pro, the AirPods Pro are powered by an Apple-designed H1 chip. The H1 chip powers real-time noise cancellation, the Adaptive EQ feature, and hands-free “Hey Siri” support.
AirPods Pro provide up to five hours of listening time on a single charge with Active Noise Cancellation disabled, or four and a half hours when it’s turned on. With Active Noise Cancellation, AirPods Pro also offer three and a half hours of talk time.
The AirPods Pro Wireless Charging Case supports Qi-based wireless charging and it can also be charged over Lightning. The charging case offers more than 24 hours of additional listening time and over 18 hours of additional talk time.
AirPods Pro feature the same general design language as the original AirPods, but are notably different thanks to new flexible silicone tips that are designed to fit tightly within the ear to allow for noise cancellation technology.
The silicone tips come in three sizes to ensure a comfortable fit in most ears. Apple says the tips have been designed to conform to the contours of each individual ear, offering both comfort and a better seal, which is important for noise cancellation.
AirPods Pro are sweat and water resistant with an IPX4 water resistance rating. That means the AirPods Pro have been tested and can hold up to splashing water from any direction, so they should hold up well to sweat and light rain.
Apple says that the sweat and water resistant ratings are for non-water sports and exercise, and that sweat and water resistance are not permanent conditions and could decrease as a result of normal wear.
Active Noise Cancellation
AirPods Pro are Apple’s first in-ear earbuds that feature Active Noise Cancellation technology, but Apple has previously used ANC in its on-ear Beats headphones.
Active Noise Cancellation leverages two microphones and Apple’s advanced software algorithms to adapt sound to each individual’s ear.
One microphone is outward-facing and is designed to detect external sound to allow the AirPods Pro to analyze environmental noise. There’s a second inward-facing microphone that listens to sound towards the ear.
Apple included a Transparency mode option that lets users who are worried about Active Noise Cancellation drowning out sound listen to the environment around them.
Transparency mode takes advantage of the vent system in the AirPods Pro to tone down the Active Noise Cancellation so the owners can listen for traffic, hear train announcements, and more while continuing to listen to music, podcasts, and more.
AirPods Pro deliver superior sound than the original AirPods thanks to built-in speaker technology and Adaptive EQ functionality.
Adaptive EQ tunes the low- and mid-frequencies of music that’s playing to the shape of each person’s ear, for what Apple says is a rich, immersive listening experience.
Inside of the AirPods, there’s a custom high dynamic range amplifier to produce pure, clear sound, along with a custom high-excursion low-distortion speaker driver that optimizes audio quality and removes background noise. The driver offers up rich bass down to 20Hz along with detailed mid and high-frequency audio.
H1 Chip and Internals
The AirPods Pro use the same 10-core H1 chip that’s in the second-generation AirPods and the Beats Solo Pro. Apple says that the System in Package design of the chip is “meticulously arranged” with the placement of each component based on the form of the human ear for superior comfort, fit, and stability.
The H1 chip powers Active Noise Cancellation and Adaptive EQ, and supports hands-free “Hey Siri” requests.
AirPods Pro use Bluetooth 5.0 technology to connect to Apple devices.
When Active Noise Cancellation is disabled, the AirPods Pro last for up to five hours like the AirPods. In Active Noise Cancellation mode, the new Apple AirPods offer four and a half hours of listening time and up to three and a half hours of talk time on a single charge.
The Wireless Charging Case offers more than 24 hours of listening time and over 18 hours of talk time. There’s a fast charging feature that provides one hour of listening time or about an hour of talk time after five minutes of charging.
AirPods Pro Price
The AirPods Pro can be purchased from the online Apple Store for $249. Orders started arriving to customers on Wednesday, October 30, with in-store availability beginning on the same day.
AppleCare+ can be purchased for the AirPods Pro for $29, covering two incidents of accidental damage for a $29 fee.
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