What’s new — Apple just announced AirPods Pro, a $249 premium version of its true wireless earbuds, with active noise cancellation to block out external sound and a “Transparency” mode to hear your surroundings. The new Pro model is available for pre-order starting today and will hit the shelves Wednesday, Oct. 30.
Why you might want them — The buds have ear tips that could fit deeper inside your ears and an improved “high-excursion low-distortion speaker driver” for better bass. Apple also says AirPods Pro sound better for calls thanks to a mesh cover that reduces wind noise.
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AirPods Pro also has touch-sensitive controls. Single press on the stems for play/pause, double press to skip forward, triple press to skip back, and press and hold to switch active noise cancellation and ambient mode.
The larger charging case has similar battery life compared to AirPods: Apple says they get “up to 4.5hours” on a single charge with active noise cancellation turned on (regular AirPods get 5 hours) and “over 24 hours” with the case.
Price and availability — AirPods Pro cost $249 compared to the $159 AirPods ($199 with the wireless charging case). Pre-orders start today at Apple.com. They deliver on Oct. 30 and will be available in Apple Stores the same day.
Not for everyone — Regular AirPods are fine for most people. But if you were waiting for AirPods with noise cancellation, they’re now an option.
There’s stiff competition — AirPods Pro are joining a crowded market. Sony’s $230 WF-1000XM3 are widely considered the best true wireless earbuds with noise cancellation. Amazon’s $130 Echo Buds, launching on October 30, also have Bose-powered noise-reduction tech.