As expected, Apple just took the wraps off its refreshed AirPods Pro, which will arrive with a new H2 processor, better noise cancelling, improved battery life, and the ability to create “personalized” spatial audio profiles.
Slated to ship September 23 for $249 (you can order them starting September 9), the second-generation AirPods Pro look more or less the same as its predecessor, but there are some key internal changes, including a new low-distortion audio driver, a revamped custom amplifier, and a new H2 processor.
That H2 processor works in tandem with repositioned acoustic bands and microphones to enable twice the active noise cancellation of the original AirPods Pro, Apple says. The buds also come with a new pair of extra-small eartips (in addition to the large, medium, and small eartips) that can help improve passive noise cancellation.
The new H2 will also allow for an “adaptive” version of transparency mode that will dynamically reduce the volume of loud or harsh environmental sounds.
Another feature coming to the second-gen AirPods Pro is “personalized” spatial audio, which uses the TrueDepth camera in an iPhone (running iOS 16) to measure the size and shape of your head and ears, similar to how Creative’s Super X-Fi technology works. You’ll be able to use your personalized spatial audio profile across your various iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV devices.
Battery life for the second-gen AirPods Pro has improved to six hours on a single charge, up from 4.5 hours on the original AirPods Pro. When used with the redesigned charging case, you can expect up to 30 hours of playback, a 33-percent boost over the first AirPods Pro.
Speaking of the charging case, the new case now comes with an embedded speaker that can play tones when you’re trying to track it down with Apple’s Find My app. Also new for the second-gen AirPods Pro charging case is precision finding functionality for Find My, a lanyard loop, and compatibility with the Apple Watch’s wireless charger.
The force sensor in the stems of the new AirPods Pro now boasts a capacitive layer that lets you control the volume with a light swipe up or down, while an “improved” skin-detect sensor will better detect whether the earbuds are in your ears for automatically playing or pausing your tunes.
Apple didn’t make any mention of support for lossless audio (through Apple’s ALAC codec), a feature that was rumored in advance of today’s event.
Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.