AirPods Pro: Apple launches noise-cancelling earbuds – The Guardian

Apple has launched a new set of its popular true wireless earbuds with traditional silicone tips and noise-cancelling software.

The AirPods Pro have a similar design to the current non-isolating AirPods, complete with white stalks and an ultra-compact case. But instead of a plastic duct that rests in your ear, allowing sounds from the outside world to be heard over music, the AirPods Pro aim to block it all out.

Earlier AirPods, or Apple’s wired EarPods before them, are practically impossible to hear on noisy public transport. That means users often crank up the volume to potentially hearing-damaging levels, while risking annoying those around them with sound bleeding from their ears due to the lack of isolation.



AirPods Pro aim to block out the noise of a commute.

AirPods Pro aim to block out the noise of a commute. Photograph: Apple

Apple hopes the AirPods Pro will solve that problem. Like other noise-cancelling headphones, the new earbuds have a pair of microphones on each unit that detect unwanted noise and use the speakers to cancel it out with an inverse soundwave before it hits the wearer’s eardrum. That lets users hear their music at significantly lower volumes in noisy environments.

A “transparency mode” allows wearers to pipe sounds from the outside world into their ears, while vents equalise pressure to avoid the plugged-in feeling.

The AirPods Pro also have adaptive equaliser technology that tunes the sound to the shape of the individual’s ear.

The earbuds have up to five hours of continuous playback time – 4.5 hours with noise-cancelling active – and the case can provide an additional 18 hours of charging. They also support hands-free “Hey Siri” activation for Apple’s voice assistant, and can announce messages when they arrive on an iPhone. The earbuds are also sweat-resistant.

The AirPods Pro cost £249 in the UK or $249 in the US, and ship on 30 October.

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