Apple announces new premium AirPods Pro earphones

On Monday, Apple quietly announced its refined successor to the second generation AirPods - the AirPods Pro. It is a huge upgrade compared to the minor increments made in the previous version, with a complete design overhaul and a host of new features added.

The stems of the wireless headphones are now shorter, and they come bundled with three sizes of soft, detachable silicone ear tips, which solves the complaint about AirPods not comfortably fitting most ears. The silicon tips also make the AirPods Pro much more secure in your ear, making jogging and exercising with it far easier than before.  The added IPX4 water resistance rating means the AirPods Pro are sweatproof and fairly waterproof, making them a much more efficient fitness companion. 

Apple has incorporated an additional set of microphones to the AirPods Pro, which works together with the help of software for real-time Active Noise Cancellation, a system very similar to the one we see in the new (Apple-owned) Beats Solo Pro headphones. The outer microphone detects environmental noise levels, producing anti-noise to cancel them out,  and the second inward-facing microphone removes the rest of the background noise. 

You can now also switch between the Active Noise Cancellation and the new Transparency mode that Apple says provides users with "the option to simultaneously listen to music while still hearing the environment around them". This should greatly help users during situations like heavy traffic, daily commuting and the like. Switching between these modes is made easy with the new Force Sensor, which also allows you to play, fast forward, pause, rewind or skip music, and receive and reject incoming calls. 

Another useful new feature is the Adaptive EQ tech, which Apple says  “tunes the low- and mid-frequencies of the music to the shape of an individual's ear — resulting in a rich, immersive listening experience".

All this is achieved mainly because of the processing chip in the AirPods Pro, the H1 chip "with 10 audio cores and powers everything from sound to Siri". The chip allows for extremely low audio latency, which enables it to process all these functions and even the Hey Siri command, simultaneously. It is also power-efficient, offering up to five hours of non-stop usage on one charge. And of course, you can always get the new AirPods Pro wireless charging case for on-the-go, which is flatter and wider than the previous versions and supports Qi Wireless charging. 

Through additional charges from the Wireless Charging Case, AirPods Pro can deliver a little over 24 hours of listening time or over 18 hours of talk time.

It is compatible with all Apple devices running the newly released iOS 13.2, iPadOS 13.2, watchOS 6.1, macOS Catalina 10.15.1, tvOS 13.2, and all future versions. 

The new AirPods Pro costs Rs 24,900 in India, but the availability details are yet to be ascertained. In the US, it will set you back by $249 and will start shipping on Wednesday(October 30) via Apple Premium Resellers.

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