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Apple AirPods Pro finally debut at $249 with active noise cancellation

After long months of speculation, it’s finally official: The Apple AirPods Pro are real and they’ve got noise cancellation. The new true wireless earbuds go on sale today, October 28, on Apple’s website and are expected in stores on October 30 for $249.

The design of the new AirPods Pro are very close to the leaked images we saw earlier this year, featuring a sound-isolating in-ear design with silicone ear tips. They have an active noise-cancellation feature which can be switched to a transparency mode, allowing outside sounds in. They’re also the first Apple AirPods to get an official IPX4 water resistance rating, something consumers have been asking for.

The AirPods Pro come with three different sizes of silicone ear tips — an industry standard for in-ear earbuds — but there is also an ear tip test conducted on the iPhone or other iOS device to confirm that the ear tip size you’ve chosen is optimal for both sound quality and noise cancellation. According to Apple, “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.”

Apple has incorporated a vent system into the AirPods Pro to equalize pressure, which it claims will minimize the discomfort associated with other in-ear designs.

The force sensors on the AirPods Pro have been redesigned from the regular AirPods and you can tap to control the usual playback functions plus the transparency mode. Volume is still modified using an iPhone or iPad.

Apple said the AirPods Pro also benefit from an adaptive EQ system that “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.”

Along with these new features that are exclusive to the AirPods Pro, there are many familiar ones from previous AirPod models, such as hands-free access to Siri, and the H1 wireless chip that Apple custom-designed and uses in both the regular AirPods and the Powerbeats Pro.

Battery life is another area that apparently hasn’t changed on the AirPods Pro: It remains at 5 hours of continuous use, though this number drops to 4.5 when using active noise cancellation.

The AirPods Pro charging case has a slightly different shape than the one that comes with a set of AirPods, but it can be wirelessly recharged via a Qi charging mat — something that was added as an optional upgrade for AirPod owners when Apple debuted the second version of the regular AirPod.

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