AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro are a line of premium wireless earbuds from Apple. They offer advanced features not available in non-Pro AirPods, most notably active noise cancellation (ANC).

The second-generation from 2022 look almost exactly like the original model released in 2019, but they’re upgraded in every way that matters most, thanks mainly to a new H2 processor.

In 2023, Apple released a tweaked version that put a USB-C port in the wireless earbud’s charging case, in place of the old Lightning port. Otherwise, they are nearly identical to their predecessors, aside from lossless audio when paired with an Apple Vision Pro. These are still called AirPods Pro 2.

The latest models use built-in microphones and advanced algorithms to continuously adapt to the user’s ear and the environment, actively canceling out external noise for a quieter listening experience. But they also have transparency mode to enable users to hear their surroundings while still listening to music or taking calls.

AirPods Pro come with silicone ear tips in three different sizes (small, medium, large) to provide a customizable and comfortable fit for a wide range of ear shapes.

Clock ticks on killer iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods refurb deals

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Deals on Apple refurbished gear - iPhone 13 Pro
On the deals list: iPhone 13 Pro (and various minis!)
Photo: Apple

Amazon bargain site Woot! is quietly offering some fantastic refurbished Apple gear deals, including iPhones, Apple Watches and AirPods.

Woot refers to its deals lineup as “basically an Apple soup.” It’s your chance to slurp up bargains (if you don’t need the newest gadgets).

The sale ends Monday, February 26, at 10 p.m. PT.

AirPods Pro 2 price drops within $1 of Black Friday low [Still live!]

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AirPods Pro in an open case.
With this sale, you can get AirPods Pro with the coveted USB-C case for just $189.99!
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

AirPods Pro are the best pair of wireless earbuds you can buy for your iPhone. And a fantastic deal knocks the AirPods Pro 2 price down to just $189.99, making them an even better buy.

With that hefty 24% discount off Apple’s retail price of $249, it’s hard to recommend any other earbuds for your iPhone, Mac or iPad.

Get up to $100 off AirPods Max while you can

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AirPods Max on charging stand
Getting $100 off the top-shelf cans is a good deal, even with an updated version on the way.
Photo: Floating Pixels

In what appears to be the first big discount on Apple’s $549 over-ear, noise-canceling headphones in 2024, you can currently get up to $100 off AirPods Max at Amazon and Best Buy ($449.99).

The last time folks had a shot at a deal like this was Black Friday 2023. It’s not clear how long the deals might last. And other AirPods models are also on sale.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

How to update AirPods firmware: Everything you need to know

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AirPods firmware update How-To
Here's how to check AirPods firmware update.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

First off: There’s no direct way to update AirPods firmware. When Apple updates AirPods software — as it just did for AirPods Max — the update happens automatically, in the background.

However, there is a way to speed up the update process. Plus, it’s a good idea to manually check you’re running the latest version, which brings bug fixes and sometimes great new features.

As noted, Apple most recently released fresh firmware for AirPods Max, taking the over-the-ears headphones to 6A324. Last week came version 6A321 for AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro 1. Earlier in January, AirPods 3 got 6A321.

Here’s how to check if your AirPods are running the latest firmware on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Plus what to do if they aren’t, and how to force AirPods firmware to update.

This little gadget keeps your Apple Watch going anywhere

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qCharge 2.0 can go pretty much anywhere you go.
qCharge 2.0 can go pretty much anywhere you go.
Photo: Citius Systems

Apple devices are known for their beautiful designs and user-friendly functionality — not their battery power. Apple Watch is no exception, needing daily charging. So sometimes the battery runs low when you’re not near a charger. But a brand-new gadget fixes that problem.

qCharge 2.0 Portable Apple Watch Battery, now available in the Cult of Mac Store, goes wherever you go and charges up your Apple Watch (and AirPods Pro 2) anywhere, no cable required.

Good monitor arms ‘go a long way’ [Setups]

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Mac Studio setup with three mounted displays
This user swears by the arms his 4 displays are mounted on.
Photo: TheJTizzle@Reddit.com

Sure, you can buy a computer monitor and set it up on the stand that came in the box. But what if you want to easily move the external display around? And what if you want to have multiple screens and move them around?

Keeping monitors up off the desk and mobile can really improve your setup. And the best way to do that is to mount your screens on arms. It takes some effort, but as today’s user points out below, it’s worth it.

Take your pick of hefty discounts on AirPods models

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AirPods Pro 2
AirPods Pro 2 are seeing a solid discount right now on Amazon.
Photo: Apple

Amazon is offering discounts on all Apple AirPods models right now, including some hefty ones. Depending on the right model for you, you might save as much as 24% off the regular price, or about $60.

Even AirPods Max over-ear headphones are priced down a bit, with prices ranging from $495 to $535 depending upon which color you choose (under the regular $549 price).

AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C hits lowest price ever

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AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C
Right now you can get 24% off AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C on Amazon.
Photo: Apple

Happy New Year — and it will no doubt be happier if you can nab AirPods Pro 2 with a USB-C charging case, which has returned to its lowest price yet. Maybe that’ll even motivate you to exercise more, if by chance you set certain New Year’s resolutions along those lines and could use the help of Apple’s top earbuds.

Amazon is selling the updated noise-canceling earbuds for $189, down from $249. That’s the best price we’ve seen. And you can find discounts on other Apple earbuds, too.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

What to expect from AirPods and AirPods Max in 2024

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AirPods in 2024
Expect to see two versions of AirPods 4 -- including one with noise canceling -- in 2024.
Photo: Cult of Mac

In an effort to boost sales and clarify offerings, Apple will revamp its AirPods lineup in 2024, reports have indicated — but that won’t include updates for every product.

AirPods 4 should arrive next year, with two versions replacing current lower-priced earbuds models. And AirPods Max will receive some long-awaited updates, although the pricey over-ear headphones won’t get a major revamp. And as for what comes after AirPods Pro 2, we’ll have to wait until early 2025, most likely.

This AirPods Pro 2 sale comes with an extra you’ll love

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Deal alert: AirPods Pro 2 sale
Get Apple's latest, greatest earbuds at a super-low price ... and enjoy a welcome perk!
Image: Cult of Mac

If you’re in the market for Apple earbuds, second-gen AirPods Pro with a USB-C case are the earbuds to beat. And this hot new AirPods Pro sale slashes the $249 list price down to just $199.99 … and it comes with AppleCare+!

Plus, if you order by 11:59 a.m. Pacific on Wednesday, December 20, you can take delivery by Christmas.

The only (potential) drawback is that this AirPods Pro deal is for Costco members only. But never fear: If you’re not already a member, Cult of Mac Deals offers a great deal on a Costco membership that will let you save money on Apple gear every day of the year.

Apple readies AirPods 4 with noise cancellation, plans AirPods Max update

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AirPods 4 are coming in 2024
Expect to see two versions of AirPods 4 -- including one with noise canceling -- in 2024.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple will revamp its AirPods lineup in 2024 in an effort to boost sales and clarify offerings, a new report indicates.

AirPods 4 should arrive next year, with two versions replacing current lower-priced earbuds models. And AirPods Max will receive some long-awaited updates, although the pricey over-ear headphones won’t get a major revamp.

Best (and worst) gear of 2023 [The CultCast]

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A red question mark atop a winner's podium.
What gear and amusements made us smile (and kvetch) in 2023?
Image: Joshua Golde/Unsplash License/Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: After a quick spin through the news of the week, we get down to business with our second round of picks for the best and worst tech and entertainment of 2023.

Also on The CultCast:

  • Would you pay 99 bucks for a USB-C case for AirPods Pro? I think the price is outrageous, but not everyone is so sure.
  • Apple just raised the bar for authorities who might want to spy on your iPhone’s push notifications.
  • A new iPhone security feature will soon make it harder for thieves to wreck your life.
  • And the latest on how Apple might be forced to open up iPhone to appease regulators.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

Nab killer holiday deals on iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPods and Beats

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Best Buy sale Apple Watch Ultra 2
Best Buy offers $50 off Apple Watch Ultra 2, among many other bargains.
Photo: Apple

While Best Buy offers great deals on MacBooks, iMacs, Macs mini and iPads in its Apple Sales Event for the holidays, you can also score good deals on iPhones, Apple Watches and AirPods. See the selection below, or check out the whole sale here.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

Today in Apple history: AirPods arrive to conquer the audio world

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Today in Apple history: They looked weird at first, but now it's impossible to remember a world without AirPods.
They looked weird at first, but now it's impossible to remember a world without AirPods.
Photo: Dagny Reese/Unsplash License

December 13: Today in Apple history: Original AirPods launch December 13, 2016: After months of anticipation and delay, Apple finally releases AirPods. The tiny wireless earbuds arrive in Apple’s online store just in time for holiday shoppers looking for stocking stuffers.

Like so many Apple products, they aren’t the first such earbuds to arrive on the scene. However, AirPods’ rapid success will fuel a wireless listening revolution.

AirPods Pro 2 drop back to Black Friday price after 24% discount

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AirPods Pro 2 in hand with case opened
Here's another chance at getting the AirPods Pro 2 at their Black Friday price.
Source: Unsplash

Amazon is once again running an insane deal on the AirPods Pro 2, dropping them to their Black Friday price. You can get the earbuds for $189.99, a whopping $59 off their $249 MSRP.

With no AirPods Pro successor coming anytime soon, Apple’s 2nd gen earbuds are the best earphones you can get for your iPhone.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

AirPods gift guide: Choose the best models and accessories

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AirPods Buying Guide: Choosing the best models and accessories
Gifting AirPods for the holidays? Here's all you need to know.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

A gift that always goes down well with Apple fans, no matter the time of year, is a brand-new pair of AirPods. But it’s important to ensure you pick the right pair out of the four on offer if you really want to impress.

In our AirPods buying guide, we’ll help you choose between AirPods 2, AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max — and highlight some of the best cases and charging accessories to go with them.

AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C are now an amazing 24% off [Still available!]

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AirPods Pro with USB-C port and charging cable
The new version of AirPods Pro 2 leaves Lightning behind in favor of USB-C. And it's on sale!
Photo: Apple

A crazy good deal on the new AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C case lets you save $60 off the retail price. And this despite the wireless earbuds being on the market for just over a month.

Apple’s new top-of-the-line wireless earbuds take advantage of all the latest new bells and whistles in iOS 17. Plus, they bring additional new features besides the port change, including additional dust resistance and the promise of high-res audio when paired with Apple Vision Pro.

AirPods 4 could deliver active noise cancellation

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Apple needs to take the frustration out of AirPods firmware updates
With ANC, AirPods 4 might be a significant jump up from its predecessor.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

AirPods 4 will be the first in Apple’s budget line of wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation when they launch in 2024, according to high-profile tipster. And there’ll be other improvements, too.

In addition, a new version of AirPods Max over-the-ears headphones are also supposedly on the docket for 2024.

Best Prime Big Deal Days sales on Apple gear and accessories [Updated]

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Best deal on Apple gear and accessories for Amazon Prime Big Deal Days.
These are the Prime Big Deal Days you don't want to miss.
Image: Rajesh Pandey/Cult of Mac

Did you miss buying your favorite Apple gear or accessory during Prime Day earlier in the year? Worry not, as Amazon is back with its Prime Big Deal Days, offering hefty discounts on a hoard of Apple products and accessories.

There are great deals on MacBooks, AirPods, Apple Watches, iPads and other Apple accessories that make your favorite products much more affordable.

Tricked-out Mac Studio pairs well with curved OLED display [Setups]

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This nicely composed frame shows the M2 Mac Studio as a plant stand.
This nicely composed frame shows the M2 Mac Studio as a plant stand.
Photo: moarcoffeeplzzz@Reddit.com

If you want to see a good example of high-end Mac computing, look no further than today’s elegant featured setup. Its powerful M2 Mac Studio desktop computer works alongside a PC gaming rig as they drive a curved OLED display for maximum contrast.

Throw in a rarely seen mechanical keyboard and a standing desk with a big Grovemade desk shelf, and we’re in business.

All AirPods might get USB-C charging in 2024

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Apple AirPods 3 Review
An AirPods 3 charging case with USB-C might be on Apple's radar.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple could release charging cases that use USB-C for lower-priced AirPods in 2024, according to an unconfirmed report. A similar case for premium AirPods Pro 2 is expected at Apple’s September event next week.

And Apple might bring USB-C to AirPods Max next year, too, as part of a general move away from Lightning.

Bright and beautiful Mac Studio rig gets a lot right [Setups]

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A lot of people want to know what that delightful wallpaper is. See below.
A lot of people want to know what that delightful wallpaper is. See below.
Photo: ursureiks@Reddit.com

A well-lit and well-equipped computer setup can evoke peace and productivity at the same time. Today’s Mac Studio rig exudes a zen-like calm despite being a total powerhouse.

It features a well-mounted Studio Display, a slick mechanical keyboard with wrist rest, a sleek external drive as well as tidy pegboard storage for AirPods Max.

New ArcField MagSafe charger powers up iPhone fast

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It's a potent little charger with a built-in kickstand.
It's a potent little charger with a built-in kickstand.
Photo: Spigen

Using older magnetic chargers, lots of folks still charge their iPhones at a pokey rate of 7.5 watts. So it’s good news Spigen just rolled out its first 15W MagSafe device, the ArcField Wireless Charger.

You can use it to quick-charge any MagSafe iPhone 12, 13 or 14 handset, and it’ll juice up an AirPods Pro charging case at 5W.