Apple Announces AirPods Pro

Posted on October 28, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, Music + Videos with 43 Comments

Apple said today that the long-rumored AirPods Pro will ship October 30 and will cost $250. They are now available for preorder.

“With AirPods Pro, we’re taking the magic even further,” Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller said in a prepared statement. “The new in-ear AirPods Pro sound amazing with Adaptive EQ, fit comfortably with flexible ear tips and have innovative Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode. We think customers are going to love this new addition to the AirPods family.”

AirPods Pro appears to solve many of the problems with previous AirPods, most notably their tinny sound quality. The Pro version supports Adaptive EQ for superior sound quality (a low bar) and Active Noise Cancellation, and it comes with three different sizes of silicone ear tips for a more comfortable fit. AirPods Pro also uses a vent system to equalize pressure, minimizing the discomfort common in other in-ear designs, Apple says. They are also sweat- and water-resistant.

AirPods Pro also provides a Transparency mode so that you can hear the world around you, which will be important for dodging busses and other objects while commuting. You can switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes using a new force sensor on the stem of the Pods.

You can learn more about AirPods Pro from the Apple website.

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Comments (43)

43 responses to “Apple Announces AirPods Pro”

  1. fishnet37222

    I have a pair of AirPods and they don't sound tinny to me.

    • jchampeau

      In reply to fishnet37222:

      Me too neither (as my late grandmother would say). I think they sound great for what they are.

    • ejuly

      They are tinny and lean heavy toward bass sounds. Lots of people like that base sound because they are use to the old iphone headset. I had a pair for 6 months and went back to the Jabra Elite Active


      In reply to fishnet37222:


    • mattbg

      In reply to fishnet37222:

      Agree - they are essentially the same quality as the wired Apple earbuds to my ears, and that's not a bad thing.


      One reason they may be seen as "tinny" is because they are open-air, so they don't block out outside sounds. That is a big plus for me, but if you're used to in-ear earbuds then there will be a loss of fidelity just from the open-air aspect.

  2. dano

    Finally "three different sizes of silicone ear tips"


  3. buzzmodo

    I have been a long time fan of Eytomic Research earphones. Will be curious to see how the "silicone ear tips" work, as the present AirPods don't work for me/fit me at all. I highly recommend Etymotic, but you have to live with a "cord". And it's not the end of the world! www.etymotic.com

  4. randallcorn

    I bet it only works with the newest iPhones. Just kidding?


    I thought the first ones were the best thing since sliced bread? Am I missing something?

    • mattbg

      In reply to randallcorn:

      The first ones are great, but they are definitely not good for noisy places.


      I have enthusiastically used my AirPods for the last couple of months, but I just took them on a flight and it was not that great :)


      This seems to be their way of addressing that. Of course with the Pro moniker because professional earbud listeners need active noise cancellation just like professionals who resize and crop photos for a living need balls-out full Photoshop. Still, if Cottonelle can sell professional toilet paper then Apple can sell Pro earbuds.


      AirPods 1/2 are otherwise an amazingly well-designed product if they fit your ears and you're in the Apple ecosystem. They do look a bit dumb, but it's a tradeoff.

  5. bls

    Thinking about trying these to (finally) consume my Apple Store credit from a phone trade-in a couple of years ago ?

  6. Stooks

    If you have an iOS device that you use a any type of ear buds with the originals were just fantastic. I can only imagine these will be even better.


    Pairing that just works and works fast compared to any other BT device I have ever used. Switch from iPhone to iPad in seconds. Battery charge indication second to none. The charging case is great. The features like pulling one out and it pausing or it working with the Apple TV as well.

    • Andi

      In reply to Stooks:

      I believe it must be mentioned that Apple makes use of proprietary BT extensions for the fast and seamless pairing and switching. Great for them but that means that any other BT device cannot match due to lack of access and not technical expertise.


      The end result means airpods don't work as they should outside Apple hardware.

      • BrianEricFord

        In reply to Andi:


        Why must that be mentioned? Outside of Apple they work pretty much as any other Bluetooth headset would work and inside Apple they work better than that.

      • Stooks

        In reply to Andi:

        That is the point really. Air Pods with say a Samsung phone are NORMAL BT headphones. With an Apple device they so much more.


        I can’t see why anyone would buy them to use with a non Apple device.

  7. dohsoft

    £250 for a pair of poxy little in-ear headphones!! Apple really are taking the mick sometimes. I assume they are gold or platinum?

  8. red.radar

    I can’t wait for the pitch men on YouTube to race to publish their click bait headlines so I can watch them wear these things and make fun faces to convey the sound quality to me.


    cynicism aside... I buy them this instant If they came in a color other than white

  9. wright_is

    "flexible ear tips"

    It has only taken them 12 years to catch up with the rest of the world!

    • hallmanac

      In reply to wright_is:

      That fact has baffled me all this time. I tried the wired ones for like 2 weeks to see if I could "get used to it" and felt like I had bruises in my ear after wearing them for extended periods. But hey, Apple knows best. *sigh*

  10. wocowboy

    Just having soft rubber tips will provide a large degree of noise isolation, making these better for sidewalk listening while still being able to hear things you need to hear for safety. Full noise cancellation will be great on plane flights and more sedentary listening. I don't consider that they look "dumb" any more at all. The market has spoken on that front with the sheer numbers of AirPods you see every day. The sticks coming out of your ears were unusual at first, but they contribute to much better voice pickup by getting the microphones closer to your mouth, and every millimeter helps in that department. I will definitely be checking these out to see how they sound.

  11. briantlewis

    I was at the gym listening to my Sony WF-1000XM3 headphones when the announcement came down. Without hesitation I picked up a pair. The Sony's sound really good. They're terrible for calls. Airpods are great for calls, bad for the gym. Provided the noise cancelling is at the level of the Sony's they'll have a winner.

  12. bbennett40

    Airpods PRO....LOL

  13. rosyna

    Paul, I had thought in a previous piece (or on What The Tech) you said you had never used the original AirPods before, has that changed?

  14. Thom77

    Airpods Pro: Where the magic goes to 11



    I still dont know how these things stay in people ears. I guess they are magical after all.

    • BrianEricFord

      In reply to Thom77:


      I don’t know either, but they do.


      My theory is that 99% of the time wired headphones (and most to the point previous wired buds from Apple) pop out is due to the wire catching.


      No wire solves that issue.

      • Andi

        In reply to BrianEricFord:

        In reality, down at the metro station they are collecting lost airpods by the shovel. Apple evangelist Gene Munster lost 10 pairs.

        • BrianEricFord

          In reply to Andi:


          1) Gene Munster is a moron analyst with an abysmal track record and 2) if you say so.


          In reality, millions of people use them every day at the gym with no problems. That they sometimes fall out isn’t surprising or limited to AirPods.


          Anecdotally, mine fall out less than my wired buds did. Scouring the data, millions and millions of people seem to have decided they fit just fine.

          • Andi

            In reply to BrianEricFord:

            Millions of people use them because they are: 1) deemed fashionable first and foremost, 2) they have exclusive pairing privileges with the iphone. No choice on no 2.


            The metro story is true as it has been reported by WSJ. To be fair all wireless airbuds face the same fate. Bad design I say.

            • SvenJ

              In reply to Andi: I don't get were you get this 'exclusive pairing privilege's' thing from. I can pair Airpods with anything BT, and I can pair my iPhone with any BT earphones or headset. It just works better in the Apple ecosystem...as it should...which is why people like them.


              • Andi

                In reply to SvenJ:

                I'm not holding anything against Apple. I was just mentioning that the fast pairing and switching that are unique to airpods could theoretically be available to competing manufacturers.

        • Stooks

          In reply to Andi:

          In my Family of 5 no one has lost them yet.

    • illuminated

      In reply to Thom77:

      No magic. Just super-glue.

  15. dontbeevil

    LOL the surface earphone were expensive for 250...now suddenly the APPLE airpods PRO are not expensive anymore

  16. hallmanac

    Serious question, how good is the microphone on these? Noise cancellation for listening is all the rage (and rightfully so) but if I can't talk on them without being in a soundproof room, what's the point of having them for your phone? I have honestly never tried the airpods, or had someone speak to me on the phone while using them.


    I personally have a bluetooth headset that I've settled on after years of trying several different ones. They don't have "great" listening sound quality but the microphone works quite well at blocking out sounds other than my voice.