Ready for another generation of some of the greatest wireless earbuds of all time? Unveiled at Apple’s September 7 “Far Out” event, the all-new AirPods Pro (2nd-generation) will be available for pre-order starting September 9 and on shelves September 23.
A revamping of the tried-and-true Pro design, the second-gen, or AirPods Pro 2, as they’re also referred to, are receiving a slew of improvements and new features, thanks in part to the integration of Apple’s souped-up H2 chip. The $250 true wireless earbuds tout redesigned low-distortion drivers and amplifiers, “Personalized Spatial Audio,” improved noise cancelation, and some new Find My features — all in all, the new AirPods Pro are looking pretty good. Read on to learn more.
The brains behind the earbuds, the H2 is faster and more powerful, which Apple says results in better audio performance — crisper, fuller-sounding music, movies and TV shows, podcasts, and whatever else can be pumped through the buds.
That, and the H2 chip works in conjunction with the buds’ complete driver and amplifier redesign, leading to improved sound staging and a wider frequency response range, or in layman’s terms: better highs, better mids, better bass. The redesigned drivers are also said to offer reduced distortion, but we’ll have to wait until we test them out to chime in on all this.
Another one of the H2’s powers comes in the form of advanced computational algorithms, which Apple says work in unison with the Pro’s onboard microphones and rear vents to deliver nearly double the amount of Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) found on the original AirPods Pro.
Additionally, the Pro’s Transparency Mode is also getting a boost in efficiency, with ambient noise reduction now able to zero in and dial down harsh environmental sounds like city construction, sirens, and other audible nuisances.
And in terms of form-fitting, we’ve been more than pleased with the original AirPods Pro ear tips, so we’re glad to see that the small, medium, and large-sized tips will be available for the second-gen Pro, in addition to a new “extra-small” tip size for the most narrow of ear canals.
Apple’s Spatial Audio was a three-dimensional game changer for the Apple Music platform when it launched back in June 2021. Available for several Apple devices, including the original AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and AirPods (3rd-gen), the feature taps into some far-out head-tracking tech that creates a fully immersive, surround-sound-like listening experience.
Of course, Spatial Audio is going to be available for the AirPods Pro 2, but with a favorable twist: a happy handshake between your iPhone’s TrueDepth camera and your AirPods Pro, for what Apple is calling “Personalized Spatial Audio.” Essentially, your iPhone camera will now allow you to create customized Spatial Audio listening profiles based on your unique ear shape and head geometry. Something called Adaptive EQ will adjust the sound of the music in real time according to the fit of the earbuds and your melon.
The best part: Your listener profile will be synced across all of your compatible Apple devices, meaning you’ll be able to experience this tailored audio tech on your iPhone, iPad, and MacBook with seamless switching throughout your ecosystem of products.
One of the biggest AirPods misses has always been the exclusion of bud-based volume controls, forcing listeners to adjust the output with the connected host device — but not anymore.
Riding in on the touch controls chariot, the AirPod Pro 2 are introducing a groundbreaking new haptic command for the force sensors: a swipe up/down command that, you guessed it, raises and lowers the volume of your AirPods Pros. Thank. You. Apple.
On top of the new volume adjustment capability, all of the short- and long-press functions of the original AirPods Pro will be making a triumphant return for the second-gen, along with the ability to customize commands for each individual bud.
Compared to the original AirPod Pro’s estimated four and a half hours of listening time (with ANC turned on) and 24 hours of additional listening with the charging case, the AirPods Pro (2022) will see a slight boost in bud time, with a hefty bump in additional charge-case hours.
Listeners can now expect up to six hours of listening time with ANC enabled and up to 30 hours of listening time through the charging case. But that’s not all the charge-case news.
The second-gen MagSafe Charging Case will also be compatible with Apple Watch and MagSafe chargers, as well as the traditional Lightning connector and Qi-certified chargers, giving you more ways to re-juice your case in a pinch.
Furthermore, an integrated U1 chip in the charging case will now allow listeners to track down a lost case using Apple’s Find My feature, even if the buds themselves are not housed in the case at the time of loss — because nothing hurts more than losing a precious AirPod bud and having to replace it. To complement the U1 inclusion, Apple also added a speaker to the bottom of the case, so you’ll be able to hear a chime when the Find My feature is launched, as well as a side-facing lanyard loop for quick attachments to a backpack or carry-on.
The original AirPods Pros are IPX4-rated, but sadly, the charging case is left to suffer the throes of Mother Nature with zero water resistance whatsoever. Not for the second-gen AirPods Pros, though, and hopefully never again.
That’s right, the AirPods Pro 2 earbuds are getting the official IPX4 seal of approval for both the buds themselves and the charging case.
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