Three years after the release of the original AirPod headphones, Apple's second-gen earbuds add what everyone's been waiting for: active noise-cancelling technology.
A pair of tiny microphones – one outward-facing, one inward-facing – provide two-stage noise cancellation with audio sampling and squashing at 200 times per second, while a tap on the touch-sensitive stem temporarily disables the noise-cancellation so you can hear what's going on in the real world. Apple, never one to let a buzzword go to waste, calls this 'transparency mode'.
A series of interchangeable flexible tips is intended to improve in-ear fit and optimise the noise cancellation, while Apple claims its Adaptive EQ will automatically tune songs for better sound.
It's all wrapped in a new design with a shorter less-dangly stem, with water resistance to improve appeal to the fitness set.
Included in the $399 sticker price is a wireless charging case which works with standard Qi wireless charging pads, with a Lightning port to draw juice via any handy power socket.
Apple isn't claiming any boost in battery life for the AirPods Pro, which are rated at "up to five hours of listening time", although noise cancellation trims this to "up to four and a half hours of listening time and up to three and a half hours of talk time."
The AirPods Pro land on October 30. Apple is keeping the 'classic' AirPods, at $249 with a standard charging case and $319 with a wireless charging case (the wireless case can also be ordered on its own for $129).
First look: Apple's noise-cancelling AirPod Pro earbuds
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