After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has announced a new pair of wireless earphones, called the AirPods Pro.
The earphones have a similar but slightly large form factor than the regular AirPods, which remain on sale, but the main difference here is the AirPods Pro have active noise cancellation.
This means they listen to your environment with microphones on the outside, then play the opposite noise through their speakers and into the wearer's ears. Apple says the system adjusts 200 times per second, and the effect should be a dramatic reduction in background noise compared to the regular AirPods.
Active noise cancellation like this works best when the background noise you want removing is constant, like the drone of an airplane cabin. Normally, this technology is only found on much larger on- and over-ear headphones, like those from Bose, Sony, Bowers & Wilkins and others. We will be very interested to see if the AirPods Pro perform as well as those brands when it comes to noise reduction.
AirPods Pro ship from October 30Apple
Helping to further reduce unwanted sound, Apple has fitted the AirPods Pro with silicon tips - something the regular AirPods does without. We hope this means more sound isolation, but also increased comfort.
Apple says it uses microphones both inside and outside the earphones, to cut out unwanted noise, but also undo the sound-isolating effect of the silicon for when you want to hear the outside world - when speaking to cabin crew, for example. A press of the earphones switches on Transparency mode, where all sound from the outside world is sent to your ears, and the muting effect of the silicon is cancelled out. Apple says these earphones are the only ones which constantly adjust their active noise cancellation system to cater for the geometry of your ears.
They come with three sizes of silicon tipApple
The AirPods Pro comes with a QI wireless charging case and three sizes of silicon tip, so you can find a fit that works best for you, and the company's own H1 chip helps then connect more quickly to Apple devices.
Battery life is a claimed 4.5 hours of music listening per charge of the earphones. The case, which includes its own battery, can then be used to recharge the earphones multiple times, making for a total battery time of 24 hours of music listening. Apple says the case recharges the earphones enough in five minutes to offer an hour of music listening.
Contrary to earlier rumors of there being up to eight color options, Apple is selling the AirPods pro exclusively in glossy white.