Apple this week officially unveiled its highly-anticipated AirPods Pro headphones via press release just a few of days ahead of the Oct. 30 release date.
AirPods Pro are a revamp of Apple’s standout wireless headphones with a number of new and advanced features (though they retain the convenience and overall “feel” of past AirPods).
They also don’t replace “regular” AirPods but are offered alongside them as a higher-end model with some unique capabilities.
With all of that in mind, continue reading to learn 7 of the differences that separate the AirPods Pro from Apple’s other wireless earphones.
New In-Ear Design
AirPods Pro feature an overhauled design with interchangeable ear tips that should allow them to fit in a wider variety of ear shapes and sizes. While it’s an in-ear design, Apple says that its specialized vent system will equalize pressure for a more-comfortable fit.
The design itself is fairly reminiscent of regular AirPods, with a small and lightweight footprint. Apple also says that the stems of AirPods Pro are equipped with a new force sensor, which will let users control playback among other functionality. That’s something that current AirPods lack.
Active Noise Cancelation
The primary new feature of AirPods Pro is new Active Noise Cancelation. The ANC system uses two microphones and some clever software tricks to analyze and cancel out external noise. In fact, AirPods Pro will analyze and adapt the outside noise about 200 times per second.
Users will also be able to enable a “transparency mode,” which will allow users to hear what’s going on around them. This isn’t simply disabling ANC. Instead, it takes advantage of vent systems and microphones to specifically adjust noise cancelation so that users can hear the outside world along with their music.
In addition to ANC, the new AirPods Pro also have an advanced audio feature called Adaptive EQ. Apple says it’s a proprietary audio feature that “automatically tunes music to the shape of your ear for a rich, consistent listening experience.”
More specifically, it appears that Adaptive EQ will tune the lower and midrange frequencies of whatever is being played specifically based on the shape of your ear so that you end up with a consistent and custom listening experience. Regular AirPods, of course, don’t have this feature.
Battery Life & Charging Case
The battery life on the AirPods Pro and regular AirPods are going to be about the same. Apple says AirPods Pro will deliver about 5 hours of listening time through standard playback. But it’s worth noting that that estimate does drop to 4.5 hours with ANC enabled.
Unlike regular AirPods, all pairs of AirPods Pro will come with a Qi-compatible wireless charging case. The charging case itself sports a different shape and design, being both wider and shorter than normal AirPods cases. But Apple also says it will offer up to 24 more hours of listening time or 18 hours of talk time.
AirPods Pro are the first of the Apple-branded wireless headphones to feature an actual Ingress Protection (IP) rating. More specifically, AirPods Pro are said to carry an IPX4 dust- and water-resistance rating.
While Apple doesn’t specify what that means, the IP standards indicate that devices with an IPX4 rating can withstand splashing water from any direction. While AirPods Pro aren’t rated for submersion (and you shouldn’t take them swimming), they should feature much better water/sweat resistance than past AirPods.
While Bluetooth headphones should technically be compatible with most platforms, there may be a change in the AirPods Pro that suggests dropped support for older iOS devices.
The iPhone 5s, iPad mini 2 and 3, iPad Air (1st generation) and iPod touch (6th generation) aren’t listed as compatible with AirPods Pro. That’s unlike current, lower-tier AirPods, which are listed as supporting those devices.
As you might expect for an Apple device with the “Pro” designation, AirPods Pro are quite a bit more expensive than regular AirPods. They start at $249.
That’s about $90 more than regular AirPods and $50 more than AirPods with Wireless Charging Case. Although a wireless charging case is standard for AirPods Pro, and the price is on-par with the MSRP for Powerbeats Pro. Note that we may earn a commission on purchases made using our links. Thanks for reading!