Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) 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 uniquely customized, superior noise-canceling experience that allows a user to focus on what they’re listening to — whether it’s a favorite song or a phone conversation.
The first microphone is outward-facing and detects external sound to analyze environmental noise. AirPods Pro then create 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. The design combines dual beamforming microphones with the inward-facing microphone for the noise and voice processing, while also adding dual optical sensors, motion-detecting accelerometer, speech-detecting accelerometer and a force sensor.
The new AirPods Pro will also deliver superior sound quality with Adaptive EQ, which automatically tunes the low- and mid-frequencies of the music to the shape of an individual’s ear — resulting in a rich, immersive listening experience. Inside, the design combines a custom high dynamic range amplifier that powers a custom high-excursion, low-distortion speaker driver designed to optimize audio quality and remove background noise. The driver provides a frequency response down to 20Hz and detailed mid- and high-frequency audio.
The 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 an important 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, the transparency mode also ensures that a user’s own voice sounds natural while audio continues to play perfectly.
Switching between Active Noise Cancellation and transparency modes is simple and can be done directly on AirPods Pro using a new force sensor on the stem. The force sensor also makes it easy 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. A quick tap on the volume slider in Control Center makes it easy to switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes.
“AirPods are the best-selling headphones in the world. 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,” says Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “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.”
Engineered for comfort and fit, the new AirPods Pro ship 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 superior seal — a critical factor in delivering immersive sound. This will also be great news for Comply Foam, which will be able to sell millions of alternative foam tips for users allergic to silicone.
According to Apple, the Ear Tip Fit Test helps ensure users get the best audio experience from AirPods Pro by testing the quality of the seal and identifying the best ear tip size for them. After placing AirPods Pro in each ear, advanced algorithms work together with the microphones in each AirPod to measure the sound level in the ear and compare it to what is coming from the speaker driver. In just seconds, the algorithm detects whether the ear tip is the right size and has a good fit, or should be adjusted to create a better seal.
To further maximize comfort, the earbuds use an innovative vent system to equalize pressure, minimizing the discomfort common in other in-ear designs. And the AirPods Pro are sweat- and water-resistant (IPX4), making them useful for active lifestyles. According to the announcement, the comfort and fit of AirPods Pro will feel natural whether listening to music with Active Noise Cancellation turned on or having a face-to-face conversation while in Transparency mode.
The new AirPods Pro true wireless earbuds ship with a different charging case design, slightly larger, optimized for fast charging and Qi wireless charging. Opening the charging case near an iOS or iPadOS device and giving it a simple tap, AirPods Pro are immediately paired to all the devices signed into a user’s iCloud account, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPod touch.
The size and performance of 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 Siri. The extremely low audio processing latency of the H1 chip is what enables real-time noise cancellation, delivers high-quality sound using adaptive technology and responds to hands-free “Hey Siri” requests — all at once.
The new AirPods Pro also feature the same battery life as AirPods with up to five hours of listening time without ANC. In Active Noise Cancellation mode, AirPods Pro deliver 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. In total, the AirPods Pro deliver over 24 hours of listening time or over 18 hours of talk time. Charging is as simple as placing the AirPods case on a Qi-certified charging mat or using the Lightning port while on the go.
With the latest iOS 13.2 and iPad OS 13.2 updates, Apple has also introduced a few new features, like support for two AirPods paired to the same source, and improved Siri functions, like Announce Messages, which activates the assistant to conveniently "speak" incoming messages as soon as they arrive. When on a phone call or sharing media via Audio Sharing, Siri knows not to interrupt.
AirPods Pro will be available for $249 (US) and are available to order from apple.com and in the Apple Store app in the US and more than 25 other countries and regions. AirPods Pro will start shipping on Wednesday, October 30.