Wednesday, December 8, 2021
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Apple’s AirPods Pro coming Oct. 30

Apple has announced AirPods Pro, an addition to the AirPods family that features Active Noise Cancellation and immersive sound in an all-new lightweight, in-ear design. AirPods Pro are available to order on apple.com and the Apple Store app starting today and in stores beginning Wednesday, Oct. 30.

By opening the charging case near an iOS or iPadOS device and giving it a tap, AirPods Pro are immediately paired to all the devices signed into a user’s iCloud account, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPod touch.

AirPods Pro offer a new class of lightweight, in-ear headphones engineered for comfort and fit. Each earbud comes with three different sizes of soft, flexible silicone ear tips that conform to the contours of each individual ear, providing both a comfortable fit and a superior seal — a critical factor in delivering immersive sound, according to Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. To further maximize comfort, AirPods Pro use a vent system to equalize pressure, minimizing the discomfort common in other in-ear designs. AirPods Pro are sweat- and water-resistant. That doesn’t mean you should swim in them. They’re designed for non-water sports and exercise and have a rating of IPX4 under IEC standard 60529.

Active Noise Cancellation on AirPods Pro uses two microphones combined with software to continuously adapt to each individual ear and headphone fit. This removes background noise to provide a customized, noise-canceling experience that allows a user to focus on what they’re listening to.

The first microphone is outward-facing and detects external sound to analyze environmental noise. According to Apple, 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’s Adaptive EQ 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, Schiller says. 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, he adds. The driver also provides consistant bass down to 20Hz and detailed mid- and high-frequency audio.

Transparency mode provides users with the option to simultaneously listen to music while still hearing the environment around them, whether that’s to hear traffic while out for a run or an important train announcement during the morning commute. 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, Schiller says.

Switching between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes can be done directly on AirPods Pro using a new force sensor on the stem. The force sensor also allows you 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.

Schiller says the size and performance of AirPods Pro are made possible by a revolutionary system-in-package (SiP) design with the Apple-designed H1 chip at its core. The H1 features 10 audio cores and powers everything from sound to Siri. The low audio processing latency of H1 enables real-time noise cancellation, delivers high-quality sound using adaptive technology and responds to hands-free “Hey Siri” requests — all at once.

AirPods Pro feature the same great battery life as AirPods with up to five hours of listening time. In Active Noise Cancellation mode, AirPods Pro deliver up to four and a half hours of listening time and up to three and a half hours of talk time on a single charge. Through additional charges from the Wireless Charging Case, AirPods Pro deliver over 24 hours of listening time or over 18 hours of talk time. To charge just place the case on a Qi-certified charging mat or using the Lightning port while on the go.

Additional features of the AirPods Pro, per Apple:

  • 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.

  • 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.

AirPods Pro cost $249 and are available to order from apple.com and in the Apple Store app in the U.S. and more than 25 other countries and regions. They 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.

Customers can add personal engraving to AirPods Pro, AirPods with Charging Case and AirPods with Wireless Charging Case for free on apple.com and the Apple Store app.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.