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Apple Announces the Noise-Cancelling $250 AirPods Pro

October 28, 2019

3:02 pm

Apple's AirPods Pro will be noise-cancelling and water-resistant. They'll cost $249 for a pair, and will be on sale this Wednesday, Oct 30.

The just-announced devices are Apple's buzziest wearable tech yet. And, as of today, Apple has released all the products specs and data we've been waiting for.

Apple AirPods Pro – Everything You Need to Know

Here's what we know so far about the abilities and specs from the new AirPods Pro.

  • AirPods Pro left and rightActive Noise Cancellation mode
  • Adaptive EQ
  • H1 chip
  • Includes Siri
  • 1.22 inches high
  • 0.19 ounce (each)
  • Sweat and water resistant
  • Expanded mesh microphone port
  • Easy connect to iPhone and Apple Watch
  • Audio Sharing
  • Customizable with large, medium, and small sizes of flexible silicone tips to fit all ears
  • Built-in vents to equalize ear pressure
  • Dual beam-forming microphones
  • Inward-facing microphone
  • Dual optical sensors
  • Motion-detecting and Speech-detecting accelerometers
  • Force sensor
  • Wireless Charging Case, compatible with Qi-standard wireless chargers
  • Case includes free optional personalized engraving, only available online

The long-rumored Active Noise Cancellation mode is the big selling point for the AirPods Pro. Since it's active, it'll function in real-time to generate anti-noise that cancels out background noise. But Apple is also leaning into adaptive technology in another big way with Adaptive EQ, which automatically tunes music to fit your ears for better sound.

Apple is bringing a few features familiar to AirPod users to the AirPods Pro. First, there's the Audio Sharing feature, which allows one AirPods Pro user to broadcast their audio stream to another AirPods Pro user. Also familar: The flexible ear tips, designed to fit a wide range of ears.

Noise Cancelling on AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro uses “active” noise cancelling, which means that each AirPod Pro contains its own microphone, designed to pick up background noise and near-instantaneously generates an opposing “anti-noise” sound wave so that nothing reaches your ear drums.

It's pretty futuristic sounding stuff: The noise cancelling technology is “continuously adjusted at 200 times per second,” according to Apple.

The Active Noise Cancellation mode can be toggled off, too, for a Transparency mode that lets users continue to hear the outside world. A user can turn noise cancellation on and off by pinching and holding a force sensor on the AirPod Pro's stem.

AirPods Pro Battery Life

Apple AirPods Pro with caseThere's one big battery life claim that most users will care about: You should expect up to four and a half hours of listening time on one charge, according to Apple, thanks to a “super-efficient high dynamic range amplifier” that extends battery life.

Apple claims you'll get “around” one hour after just five minutes of charging the AirPods Pro in their Wireless Charging Case.

Apple also includes the claim that you'll get “more than 24 hours of listening time with multiple additional charges in the case,” which doesn't sound that impressive. Can you really call it 24 hours of use if you needed to stop using it to charge it multiple times during that period? This sounds like Apple's way of saying their battery life on the AirPods Pro isn't great.

AirPods Pro FAQs

Here are the fast facts to know about Apple's latest and buzziest product debut.

How much are the AirPods Pro?

They'll cost you $249 for one pair.

An additional $29 lets you add AppleCare+ for Headphones for two years of accidental damage coverage and tech support. Out of warranty, a single repair will cost $89 for an AirPod Pro, which is twenty bucks more than a normal AirPod.

How much does it cost to replace a lost AirPods Pro?

A single lost AirPod Pro device will cost $89 for Apple to replace, which is a $20 bump up from the cost for a single normal AirPod replacement.

Keep track of your charging case, too: The cost for replacing an AirPod Pro Wireless Charging Case is $99, which is $20 more than the $79 cost to replace a non-Pro Wireless Charging Case.

Are the AirPods Pro waterproof?

They're billed as “water resistant,” but not waterproof. In other words, you should be fine when sweating at the gym, but don't forget to make sure you take them off before diving into the pool.

AirPods Pro connect to iPhoneHow long is the AirPods Pro battery life?

It's about 4.5 hours on a full charge, and around one hour on a five-minute charge. That's not great for many headphones, but is great for a tiny earbud that comes with noise-cancellation.

Do you get the charging case with the AirPods Pro?

Yes, a Wireless Charging Case is included with every purchase of AirPods Pro.

The box will also include three sizes of silicone ear tips, documentation, and a Lightning to USB-C Cable.

How do I manually control the AirPods Pro?

The AirPods Pro come with four different ways to interact with the force sensors in their stems, as well as the standard Siri voice-activation command. Here's the full list:

  • Press once to play/pause, or to answer a phone call
  • Press twice to skip forward
  • Press three times to skip back
  • Press and hold to switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode
  • Say “Hey Siri” to activation Siri

Apple's AirPods are already a hit, and it looks like their AirPods Pro is a winner, too. Orders are available today, and if you order now, you'll get yours before the month is up.

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Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for the last decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry (and Digital Book World 2018 award finalist) and has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect. When not glued to TechMeme, he loves obsessing over 1970s sci-fi art.