The AirPods Pro earbuds have been well-reviewed and highly successful, so if you’re Apple, where do you go for the second generation? At its Far Out event, Apple unveiled an update to the AirPods Pro that keeps the basics the same while improving the audio performance, adding the new Touch control interaction mechanism, and revamping the charging case.
Apple built a new H2 chip into the second-generation AirPods Pro to give the earbuds additional audio processing capabilities. When coupled with a new low-distortion audio driver and custom amplifier, the H2 chip provides an even better audio experience. Aiding in the audio improvement is a new extra small ear tip that helps the AirPods Pro fit securely in more people’s ears.
The H2 chip enhances two other core AirPods Pro features. Apple says that the Active Noise Cancellation capability now cancels up to twice as much ambient noise, and the new Adaptive Transparency mode allows external sounds in through the passive ear canal seal while reducing more of the noise from harsh environmental sounds.
With iOS 16, you’ll be able to use Personalized Spatial Audio to customize your audio experience based on the size and shape of your head and ears. We’ll be curious to hear if users find it to be noticeably better.
Previously, you squeezed the stem of the first-generation AirPods Pro to control audio, with options for pause/play, skip forward or backward, and switching between noise cancellation and transparency mode. With the second-generation AirPods Pro, Apple has added Touch control, which lets you lightly swipe up or down on the stem to adjust the volume. You’ll continue to press the stem or use Siri for other actions.
Battery life has improved, with up to 6 hours of listening time with Active Noise Cancellation, an increase of 1.5 hours. The charging case provides four additional charges for a combined total of 30 hours of listening time, 6 hours more than the previous model. You can now charge the case from an Apple Watch charger, a MagSafe charger, a Qi charger, or a regular Lightning cable.
Beyond charging methods, the new case is sweat and water-resistant and includes a lanyard loop so you can more easily keep track of it. If you do misplace the case, you can find it more quickly thanks to support for Precision Finding in the Find My app when used with a U1-equipped iPhone. The case also features a built-in speaker to deliver louder tones when you’re looking for it. Finally, you can now personalize the case with a custom-posed Memoji, Animoji, and a curated list of stickers.
Pricing remains the same, with the second-generation AirPods Pro at $249. You can order starting 9 September 2022, and they’ll arrive starting 23 September 2022.