Apple AirPods Pro combine noise cancellation and hands-free Siri

(Image credit: Apple)

It’s time to wrap up our Apple AirPods Pro postulations, for the Cupertino giant has just announced the much-anticipated addition to its AirPods line-up. 

Indeed called 'AirPods Pro' and indeed featuring active noise cancellation and an all-new earbud design, the Apple AirPods Pro will be available from Wednesday 30th October at a price of £250 ($250) – slightly cheaper than the $260 rumour suggested.

The AirPods Pro join the existing AirPods model, which come with either Apple's Charging Case or Wireless Charging Case, but are the first pair with noise-cancelling technology. 

As with many ANC headphones, the AirPods Pro promise a continually isolating, noise-free listening experience through the use of two microphones. The first detects external sound that is then cancelled out by an equivalent anti-noise it creates, while the second mic then picks up and eliminates the remaining noise to provide an isolating, noise-free listening experience. 

Apple says this noise-cancellation technique continuously adapts the sound signal 200 times per second.

(Image credit: Apple)

That real-time noise cancellation is courtesy of Apple’s H1 chip, which also enables hands-free “Hey Siri” to play songs, increase volume and make a call. 

Incoming messages can also be spoken as soon as they arrive, and the inclusion of Apple's Audio Sharing means that a friend with a pair of AirPods Pro can easily tune in to what you're listening to or watching on an iPhone or iPad.

Despite the added pressure ANC tends to put on battery durability, the Pros pack a 4.5-hour earbud battery life that isn’t too dissimilar from its siblings’ five-hour figure. Naturally, the Wireless Charging Case can provide additional charges to take that to over 24 hours.

(Image credit: Apple)

A Transparency Mode, which has become a common feature on the best noise-cancelling headphones, can be momentarily initiated to allow external noise to come in when you want to, say, have a quick conversation or hear a train announcement. And the user can switch between Transparent and Active Noise Cancellation modes force sensor on the stem.

The sweat- and water-resistant AirPods Pros feature a familiar yet slightly tweaked design, with a vent system that’s designed to equalise pressure for a more comfortable in-ear fit. Each earbud comes with three different sizes of silicone ear tips, and thanks to algorithms working with the microphones to measure the sound level in your ear and output from the earbuds, they can detects whether the ear tip is the right size and has a good fit, or should be changed. 


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.