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Apple launches AirPods Pro

The iconic wireless earphones have received a “Pro” upgrade, which implements Active Noise Cancellation and 24-hour battery life.

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Apple last night announced AirPods Pro, a new member of the AirPods family that features Active Noise Cancellation and immersive sound, with an in-ear design.

“AirPods are the best-selling headphones in the world,” says Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “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. 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. We think customers are going to love this new addition to the AirPods family.”

The no-setup experience customers know with today’s AirPods extends to AirPods Pro. By opening the charging case near an iOS or iPadOS device and giving it a tap, AirPods Pro are 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 tight seal — a critical factor in delivering immersive sound. To further maximise comfort, AirPods Pro use an innovative vent system to equalize pressure, minimising the discomfort common in other in-ear designs. 

Active Noise Cancellation on AirPods Pro uses two microphones combined with advanced software to continuously adapt to each individual ear and headphone fit. This removes background noise to provide a customised noise-cancelling experience.
The first microphone is outward-facing and detects external sound to analyse environmental noise. It then creates an equivalent anti-noise that cancels out background noise before it reaches the listener’s ear. A second inward-facing microphone listens toward the ear, and AirPods Pro cancel remaining noise detected by the microphone. Noise cancellation continuously adapts the sound signal, 200 times per second.

Transparency mode provides users with the option to simultaneously listen to music while still hearing the environment around them, whether that’s to hear traffic while out for a run or a train announcement during the morning commute. Using the pressure-equalizing vent system and advanced software that leaves just the right amount of noise cancellation active, Transparency mode ensures that a user’s own voice sounds natural while audio continues to play.

Switching between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes can be done directly on the AirPod using a new force sensor on the stem. The force sensor also makes it possible to play, pause or skip tracks, and answer or hang up phone calls. Users can also press on the volume slider in Control Center on iPhone and iPad to control settings, or on Apple Watch by tapping on the AirPlay icon while music is playing.

The size and performance of the AirPods Pro are made possible by a system-in-package (SiP) design with the Apple-designed H1 chip at its core. The H1 features 10 audio cores and powers everything from sound to voice-activated Siri. The extremely low audio processing latency of H1 enables real-time noise cancellation, delivers high-quality sound using adaptive technology and responds to hands-free “Hey Siri” requests — all at once.
In Active Noise Cancellation mode, AirPods Pro delivers up to four and a half hours of listening time and up to three and a half hours of talk time on a single charge. Through additional charges from the Wireless Charging Case, AirPods Pro deliver over 24 hours of listening time or over 18 hours of talk time. Charging the AirPods case can be done wirelessly, through a Qi-certified charging mat or using the Lightning port.

The AirPods Pro will be available for $249 in the US, starting tomorrow.

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