AirPods Pro are wireless Bluetooth earbuds created by Apple, initially released on October 30, 2019. They are Apple's mid-range wireless headphones, sold alongside the base-level AirPods and highest-end AirPods Max.
A pair of AirPods Pro
|System on a chip|
Dual beam-forming microphones, dual optical sensors, accelerometer
|Current firmware||3A283 (September 2020)|
0.86 x 0.94 x 1.22 in
(21.8 x 24 x 30.9 mm)
1.78 x 0.85 x 2.39 in
(45.2 x 21.7 x 60.6 mm)
0.19 ounces (5.4 g)
1.61 ounces (45.6 g)
AirPods Pro use the H1 processor found in second generation AirPods, but add active noise cancellation, transparency mode, automated frequency profile setting, IPX4 water resistance, a charging case with wireless charging, and interchangeable silicone tips.
Apple announced AirPods Pro on October 28, 2019, and released them two days later on October 30, 2019. They include features of standard AirPods, such as a microphone that filters out background noise, accelerometers and optical sensors that can detect presses on the stem and in-ear placement, and automatic pausing when they are taken out of the ears. Control by tapping is replaced by pressing a force sensor on the stems. They are rated IPX4 for water resistance.
The AirPods Pro use the H1 chip also found in second-generation AirPods that supports hands-free "Hey Siri". They have active noise cancellation, accomplished by microphones detecting outside sound and speakers producing precisely opposite "anti-noise". Active noise cancellation can be turned off or switched to "Transparency mode" that helps users hear surroundings. Noise cancellation modes can also be switched in iOS or by pinching the stems of the AirPods using a new "force sensor".
SiP from the bottom, showing the H1 enclosure, the two accelerometers, the Bluetooth antenna connector and the large pad attaching a flex cable to all other components in the headphone
Battery life is rated to be equal to the second-generation AirPods at five hours, but noise cancellation or transparency mode reduce it to 4.5 hours due to the extra processing. The charging case advertises the same 24 hours of total listening time as the standard AirPods case. It also features Qi standard wireless charging compatibility. Like AirPods, AirPods Pro have received criticism for their battery life.
AirPods Pro come with three sizes of silicone tips. There is a software test in iOS called the Ear Tip Fit Test that "[checks] the fit of your AirPods ear tips to determine which size provides the best seal and acoustic performance" to ensure a correct fit, as well as a feature called "Adaptive EQ" which automatically adjusts the frequency contour, claimed to better match the wearer's ear shape. Starting in early 2020, Apple started selling tip replacements for AirPods Pro on their website.
With iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple added a spatial audio mode designed to simulate 5.1 surround sound. Supported apps include the Apple TV app, Disney+ and HBO Max. Spatial audio requires an iPhone or iPad with an Apple A10 processor or newer.
Users have complained that firmware version 2C54 (released December 2019) reduced the effectiveness of the active noise cancellation feature.
After the release of 2C54, users speculated that the launch firmware with the strong noise cancellation (that received great reviews from the media) may have degraded the lifespan of the product, and Apple had to weaken the noise cancelling feature in order to preserve the lifespan of the hardware.
Support for AirPods Pro was added in iOS 13.2, watchOS 6.1, tvOS 13.2, and macOS Catalina 10.15.1. They are compatible with any device that supports Bluetooth, including Windows and Android devices, although certain features such as automatic switching between devices are only available on Apple devices using its iCloud service.
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- Dube, Belinda (March 11, 2020). "Advanced System in Package Technology in the Apple AirPods Pro" (PDF). System Plus Consulting. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
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- Statt, Nick (April 15, 2020). "Apple now sells AirPods Pro tip replacements on its website". The Verge. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
- "Which Apple Devices and Video Services Support 'Spatial Audio' on AirPods Pro?". Lifehacker Australia. September 16, 2020. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
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- Bailey, Abram. "AirPods Pro Become Hearing Aids in iOS 14". Hearing Tracker.
- Welch, Chris. "AirPods Pro owners complain of worse noise cancellation after firmware updates". The Verge. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
- Curran, Joseph. "We need to talk about AirPods Pro". Medium. Retrieved April 19, 2020.