Today, Apple announced the new AirPods Pro at its “Far Out” event, a little less than two years after the originals were first unveiled. They’ll cost $250, the same as the first-generation AirPods Pro. They’ll go up for pre-order on September 9 and ship on September 23, and they’ll include free engraving.
The broad strokes of the new AirPods Pro (or AirPods Pro 2, if you will) remain the same. They’re still Apple’s high-end true wireless earbuds. They still sport active noise cancellation (ANC) and transparency modes. They still connect to anything that supports Bluetooth, with nearly seamless handoff between Apple devices. And they still pack a ridiculous amount of tech and sound quality into a tiny space, all charged by the pocketable case.
The second-generation AirPods Pro mostly keep the same look and design while iterating on the features that made the originals such a hit. That includes, first and foremost, an upgraded H2 processor with advanced computational audio. That’s the brain that makes everything else happen.
And one of those new happenings is “personalized spatial audio.” That’ll work in conjunction with your iPhone and iOS 16, using the front-facing True Depth cameras to look at your ear and adjust things accordingly. Will that make a big difference? We’ll just have to see. But either way, it’s a feature we haven’t really seen anyone else do just yet.
There’s also a new low-distortion audio driver, Apple says, to better render the bass in the tiny buds. And a new extra-small eartip will help things fit that much better.
And the stems gain a little more functionality, with the addition of capacitive touch for controlling volume.
Noise-cancellation and transparency modes are also what have helped make the AirPods Pro so popular, and they’re getting an upgrade, too. Adaptive transparency mode promises to do exactly what it sounds like — adjust the transparency depending on what it hears going on around you. And Apple promises two times the noise cancellation over the first-generation AirPods Pro.
The charging case is getting an upgrade, too. The biggest change, probably, is the addition of Apple’s Find My feature, which works in conjunction with other Apple devices to find a missing device within just a few inches. There’s also a speaker built into the case, so it’ll be even louder when you ask it to make some noise to help you find it.
The case still charges wirelessly, but it also now will work with an Apple Watch charger (or other MagSafe charger) in addition to a standard Qi charger.
Overall, Apple says the new AirPods Pro offer up to six hours of listening time from a single charge — that’s one-third better than before. The charging case gives you 30 total hours, an increase of six hours.
And, yes, there’s now a little loop for a lanyard.
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