Two of the biggest complaints about Apple's AirPods are how easily they fall out of your ears and how easy they are to lose. Apple fixes both of these problems and boosts audio performance with the next generation AirPods Pro, giving many people a good reason to buy, but not upgrade from the first generation AirPods Pro.
To address the fit problem, the new AirPods Pro will now include an extra small set of ear tips along with small, medium, and large – apparently, the last generation buds still didn't stay put for a large number of users with diminutive canals. And getting earbuds to fit correctly is essential for the best sound quality.
You've always been able to find your AirPods Pro buds if they're charged and out of the case by pinging them with Find My. Granted, it's not a loud sound, but you can hear it if you're nearby. Now, you can also find the AirPods Pro case. Through the Find My app, you can ping the case, thanks to a new built-in speaker, and if you have an iPhone 11 or higher, you can receive direction and distance to the case. There's also a lanyard loop for easy attachment to your bag.
Sound-wise, Apple has added personalized Spatial Audio. You use your iPhone running the coming iOS 16 to create a custom profile based on the size of your head and ears to deliver a customized immerse sound experience.
The AirPods Pro buds have an upgraded chip, the H2, the successor to the previous generation's H1 chip. This faster chip enables the AirPods Pro to double the last generation's already above-average active noise cancellation (ANC) and improve their ambient "transparency" mode, making it adaptive to reduce harsh ambient noises such as construction.
The new AirPods Pro buds have a capacitive touch sensor for more accurate control. The prior model used a force sensor, which you had to press or press and hold. Apple claims this new sensor helps with battery life.
Apple upped the new Pro's battery life up to 6 hours, a third more than the first-generation AirPods Pro, and increased charging from the case to 30 hours from 24 hours. You can also wirelessly charge the case with your Apple Watch charger and other Qi chargers.
In my opinion, the new eartip size, case locator, and audio upgrades are not enough of an improvement for current AirPods Pro owners to upgrade. However, if you're in the market for new high-end noise-canceling earbuds, these next-gen AirPods Pro should be on your shortlist.
The AirPods Pro will be available for preorder on Apple.com on September 9 for $249, with availability on September 23.
[Image credit: Apple]
Stewart Wolpin has been writing about consumer electronics for more than 35 years, including news, reviews, analysis and history, and has attended and covered nearly 50 Consumer Electronic Shows and around a dozen IFA shows in Berlin. For the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), he is an elector for and writes the official biographies of the annual CT Hall of Fame inductees, and is the keeper of the industry’s official history.