Available from tomorrow, Apple's AirPods Pro (opens in new tab) are hitting the market as a serious competitor in the wireless in-ear headphones market.
The new models are supposedly sweat and water resistant, have a listening time of over 24 hours "with multiple additional charges in the case", and connect to iPhones, Apple Watches and iPads (with the latest version of iOS).
The bulk of the headphones has been redesigned, and there are now three sizes of silicone tip included. On the stem of the AirPods Pro is a force sensor that can command your music and switch noise cancellation modes. Said noise cancellation is also aided by two microphones (inside and out), which also help with tailoring the EQ response of the loudspeakers to your own ear canal.
Cut the noise
The AirPods Pro feature noise cancelling technology that's adjusted 200 times per second, keeping you isolated as your environment changes. To make this work, there's a microphone on the outside, capturing the environmental signal that's then compensated for by the loudspeaker.
As if that wasn't going far enough, there's another microphone on the inside that will detect remaining unwanted sound so the headphones can crack down on that as well.
Pressing and holding the stem's force sensor will put the headphones into Transparency mode, letting the environmental sound in again, and presumably reinforcing it using the loudspeakers a little, too.
Silicone is back in
Until now, Apple's headphone strategy has been to ditch the silicone in-ear tips and go with a one-size-supposedly-fits-all approach. This tack has been reversed for the Pro 'phones, bringing in three sizes of silicone tips to fit different ears.
Apple tout this as a 'customisable fit', but providing multiple sizes of silicone tip isn't exactly a novel strategy for even some of the cheapest headphone manufacturers. What is new, though, is the AirPods' ability to check whether the size you've chosen is right for you, playing a signal through the loudspeaker and using the mics on the casing to detect how much leaks out.
Apple's AirPods Pro will be available from tomorrow but can be purchased now on the Apple website (opens in new tab) for $249/£249. Online customers can get free engraving.