Water resistance, improved comfort, and noise cancellation will cost users £249 for Apple’s next generation ear buds
Apple has revealed its next generation ear buds with the AirPods Pro, which offer silicone tips for better isolation and comfort than previous generations of the wireless earphone.
On the outside, the AirPods Pro look the same as the previous non-isolating generation, but feature slightly shorter white stalks and a silicon tip, as well as active noise cancelling software to better exclude the outside world.
The AirPods Pro are also sweat and water resistant and are rated at IPX4, which protects from splashing water (such as raining or showering). That rating also makes them suitable for running, but probably not for swimming.
The AirPods Pro comes with the usual compact carrying case (which can be wireless charged) that can provide an additional 18 hours of charging for the AirPods.
The AirPods Pro themselves do offer up to five hours of continuous playback time, but this falls to 4.5 hours with the noise-cancelling feature active.
They also support hands-free “Hey Siri” activation for Apple’s voice assistant, and can announce messages.
“AirPods are the best-selling headphones in the world. The one-tap setup experience, incredible sound and iconic design have made them a beloved Apple product, and with AirPods Pro, we’re taking the magic even further,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of worldwide marketing.
“The new in-ear AirPods Pro sound amazing with Adaptive EQ, fit comfortably with flexible ear tips and have innovative Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode,” Schiller added. “We think customers are going to love this new addition to the AirPods family.”
Apple said that by opening the charging case near an iOS or iPadOS device and giving it a simple tap, AirPods Pro are immediately paired to all the devices signed into a user’s iCloud account, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPod touch.
“Each earbud comes with three different sizes of soft, flexible silicone ear tips that conform to the contours of each individual ear, providing both a comfortable fit and a superior seal – a critical factor in delivering immersive sound,” said Apple.
“To further maximise comfort, AirPods Pro use an innovative vent system to equalise pressure, minimising the discomfort common in other in-ear designs,” added the iPad maker.
The AirPods Pro have a pair of microphones on each unit that detect unwanted outside noise and use the speakers to cancel it out with an inverse soundwave before it hits the wearer’s eardrum. The idea is that it allows the user to hear their music at significantly lower volumes when they are in noisy environments, such as when using public transport.
There is also a “transparency mode” that allows wearers to funnel sounds from the outside world into their ears, which is useful if someone starts speaking to you.
Apple also says the AirPods Pro also have adaptive equaliser technology that tunes the sound to the shape of the individual’s ear.
The AirPods Pro cost £249 in the UK (or $249 in the US) and are available now on pre-order. They will ship on 30 October.
Quiz: How well do you know Apple?