At Apple’s ‘Far Out’ event, music lovers got a treat in the form of new AirPods Pro, Apple’s top wireless, noise-canceling earbuds — the first revision since their 2019 launch. The top-shelf buds keep the same design but gain support for personalized spatial audio, touch controls and precise location finding.
AirPods products are typically announced alongside new iPhones and Apple Watch models. Today was no exception, with their debut tying in with the new iPhone 14 and 14 Pro models, the new Apple Watch Series 8, SE and Ultra.
AirPods Pro 2 will be available for preorder on September 9 for a September 23 release date at $249.
New AirPods Pro get advanced new features
The wireless earbuds sport the same look, but the new charging case has a great new design.
The new buds feature a new version of Apple’s audio processor, the H2 chip. The more powerful chip can handle more advanced fine-tuned noise-cancelling algorithms. Combined with a more sound-resistant body, the new AirPods Pro can achieve up to double the noise cancellation available on the previous AirPods Pro.
Incidentally, the H2 chip should improve devices’ battery life. You can get up to six hours on a single charge, a 30% increase. With the charging case, charging time goes up to 30 hours total.
Advanced new buds
The stems of the next-generation AirPods Pro are not just pressure sensitive for play/pause and Siri controls, but touch sensitive, too. You can slide your finger up and down along the stem to control volume.
You can also create a more personalized Spatial Audio experience. Using the Face ID sensor on your iPhone, you can create a scan of your ear. According to Senior Engineer of AirPods Firmware Mary-Ann Rau, this will tailor audio to the shape of your ear “by precisely placing sounds in space that are tuned just for you.”
A new design
The case is no longer a perfect round white orb; it makes some sacrifices for practicality. The new charging case features a loop on the side to attach a lanyard. Speakers on the bottom can play a noise to help you find them.
Best of all, the case is now compatible with the Apple Watch charging puck for more versatile charging on the go. You can leave behind your Lightning cable if you happen to be leaving the house with a MacBook Pro or iPad and AirPods but not an iPhone.
Earlier AirPods have supported the Find My network, but in a rudimentary way. None of the AirPods products have included a GPS radio or U1 chip of their own; Find My used the last known location based on other connected devices.
With the new AirPods Pro, users will be able to precisely locate their missing earbuds. The charging case has the same U1 chip found in AirTags. Combined with the new speaker, your AirPods should be easier to find than ever before.
David Snow contributed to this report.