When Apple released its second-generation AirPods last spring, one of the biggest new features to come to its extremely popular true wireless earbuds was support for voice-activated “Hey Siri.”
This feature was powered by Apple’s newest H1 wireless chip that superseded the W1 chip found in the original AirPods and all of Apple’s Beats-branded wireless headphones, and the release of the new AirPods was soon followed by Beats’ Powerbeats Pro, which offered a true wireless version of the W1-equipped Powerbeats3, while also sporting the new H1 chip and delivering the same “Hey Siri” experience.
However, the Powerbeats Pro were still in-ear wireless earbuds — albeit ones that fit much better, especially for workout enthusiasts — so a modern H1-equipped option for those who preferred full on-ear or over-ear headphones was conspicuously missing, and despite earlier rumours that Apple was working on its own premium over-ear headphones, there wasn’t much speculation on when, or even if, Apple planned to bring the new H1 chip to a full set of headphones.
It looks like that mystery is solved now, however, and the wait is over too, as Beats announced today the debut of Solo Pro, a new model of on-ear, noise-cancelling headphone that builds on the technology of its predecessor.
Beats appears to be following the same naming convention here that it first established with its Powerbeats; the successor to the Powerbeats3 was the Powerbeats Pro, and now the Solo Pro ups the game of the Solo3. Fans of over-ear headphones can now begin hoping that a new “Studio Pro” is on the horizon as well.
Beats Solo Pro Features
Naturally, the new Solo Pro adds Apple’s H1 chip, which means that you can now call out “Hey Siri” even when you’re wearing a set of full on-ear headphones, and can also take advantage of the new announce messages feature that will be coming in iOS 13.2.
However, that’s not all. The Solo Pro also brings Beats’ “Pure ANC” noise cancellation to the company’s on-ear lineup for the first time — a feature that was previously the exclusive domain of the Studio3 over-ear headphones. Beats notes that the tuning of the feature has been updated specifically for the Solo Pro in order to accommodate the on-ear design, which takes into account things like fit and leakage caused by hair, earrings, or different ear shapes.
With Pure ANC in the package, there’s also now an audio transparency feature that activates the external mic on the Solo Pro so that you can filter outside noise through without sacrificing your sound, letting you move between hearing your friends to shutting out the outside world with the tap of a button.
The acoustic platform has also been refined in other ways. Beats has tweaked the drivers and used two beam-forming microphones and a speech-detecting accelerometer to improve the voice recognition for the “Hey Siri” feature, as well as audio quality during calls.
There are also redesigned cushions for a more comfortable fit, and the headphones will automatically power on when you unfold them, and power back off when you fold them back up. Beats promises 22 hours of battery life on a single charge with Pure ANC on, or 40 hours with it off, and a “Fast Fuel” mode will get you up to three hours of ANC-enabled playback with a 10-minute charge using the included Lightning cable.
Beats new Solo Pro headphones will go on sale on Oct. 30 for $299.95, with pre-orders beginning today. They’re available in the classic black, ivory, and grey colours, along with a new Pharrell Williams inspired “More Matte” collection that includes vibrant dark blue, light blue, and red versions.