Hands-On With the New AirPods Pro

Today's the official launch date for the AirPods Pro that Apple surprised us with on Monday, so of course we went to pick some up at an Apple retail store this morning to give MacRumors readers a rundown of the new features and our first impressions.

In this video, we'll go over the new design, the ‌AirPods Pro‌ capabilities, and determine whether Apple's newest earbuds are worth the $249 price.


Design wise, the ‌AirPods Pro‌ are recognizable as AirPods, but there are some distinct differences compared to earlier AirPods. The stem, for example, is much shorter, and it now has a new Force sensor feature that supports gestures.

Squeeze the stem to play or pause your music, squeeze it two times to skip forward a track, and squeeze it three times to skip back. Pressing and holding will also switch between different listening modes, which we'll get to in a second.

airpodsprodesign
The other major ‌AirPods Pro‌ design change is the inclusion of new silicone tips that are designed to fit inside of the ears. The ‌AirPods Pro‌ ship with silicone tips in three sizes, and the tips just snap right on and off. Apple has even designed a fit test that makes sure you're using the right size tip for your ear size.

We found the ‌AirPods Pro‌ to be comfortable and secure in the ears, though they definitely have a different feel from the original AirPods. Those silicone tips enable a key ‌AirPods Pro‌ feature -- Active Noise Cancellation. Apple has included Active Noise Cancellation in some Beats headphones in the past, but this is the first time the company has released earbuds with Active Noise Cancellation functionality.

airpodsproexpanded
Active Noise Cancellation worked well in our testing, drowning out the sound of a loud furnace fan and people in nearby offices. There's also a Transparency mode that Apple added, which tunes down Active Noise Cancellation so you can hear the environment around you.

Swapping between Active Noise Cancellation and the Transparency mode that lets you hear traffic, announcements, and more, can be done with a press and hold on the stem of the ‌AirPods Pro‌. You can also turn it off and on using the Control Center on the iPhone.

airpodsprocontrolcenter
Apple touts audio quality as a major improvement in the ‌AirPods Pro‌, and they do indeed sound good. There is a noticeable difference in quality between the AirPods and the ‌AirPods Pro‌, so if you were satisfied with the AirPods, you'll be even more impressed with the ‌AirPods Pro‌.

There's an Adaptive EQ feature in the ‌AirPods Pro‌, which Apple says automatically tunes the low and mid frequencies of the music to the shape of an individual's ear for a "rich, immersive listening experience." In practice, we were better able to distinguish between each instrument, and everything was crisp and clear.

It's worth noting that the ‌AirPods Pro‌ are IPX4 water resistant, which means they're going to hold up to sweat and perhaps some light splashing from the rain, but you shouldn't submerge them and should make an effort to keep them dry when possible.

airpodsprodesigncase
There's an H1 chip in the ‌AirPods Pro‌, which was also included in the AirPods 2, so all of the quick setup and device swapping features are present, plus hands-free "Hey Siri" commands are supported.

When it comes to the Wireless Charging Case for the ‌AirPods Pro‌, it looks a lot like the standard AirPods case but it's fatter than the previous version because it needs to accommodate those silicone tips.

airpodsprocase
It has the same capabilities as the original case, offering up somewhere around 24 hours of battery life for the ‌AirPods Pro‌, with a 5 minute fast charge feature that provides an hour of listening time. It can be charged using the included Lightning to USB-C cable or via a Qi-based wireless charger because it does support wireless charging.

As for the ‌AirPods Pro‌ themselves, the battery lasts for up to 4.5 hours with Active Noise Cancellation turned on, or up to five hours if it's disabled. If you're talking on the phone, expect 3.5 hours of talk time with ANC on.

‌AirPods Pro‌ are $50 more than the AirPods 2 with Wireless Charging Case, and with the Active Noise Cancellation, comfortable fit, and superior sound, choosing ‌AirPods Pro‌ over AirPods 2 makes a lot of sense.

airpods family
Whether or not they're worth the upgrade for those that already have AirPods is something everyone will need to decide for themselves. They sound great and have ANC, but the AirPods and AirPods 2 are also fantastic little headphones and some people may not need to upgrade if they're happy with what they have now.

Make sure to stay tuned to MacRumors because we'll also be doing an in-depth comparison between the ‌AirPods Pro‌, the standard AirPods, and the Powerbeats Pro in the coming days.

Related Roundup: AirPods Pro
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Pro (Buy Now)
Related Forum: AirPods

Top Rated Comments

djcerla Avatar
43 months ago
The "noise cancelling" capability is barely noticeable.
How so? My pair basically creates a sound black hole!
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
43 months ago
Worked out today and had a walk in the city with the AirPods Pro, listening to a nice Camelphat mix.

It was shocking to hear only the air flowing thru my nose in otherwise loud environments (with music off).

Sound quality is fantastic; of course you want to keep NC on to keep outside frequencies from spoiling your music. I've found that I keep volume much lower while hearing the music louder, if this makes sense.

At the gym, people asked me about them (as I made an IG story of the unboxing), I let them test NC and some music. Their reaction? Eyes popping out.

I believe AirPods Pro will be a major hit for Apple.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
turbineseaplane Avatar
43 months ago
My only gripe is the price.

I wish they could have done a non-wireless charging case option again to get the entry price down a little bit.

Especially since after three years they are likely to be almost useless in terms of battery life just like my version one AirPods are now. These are not devices that you’ll be using 7-10 years from now and they are very expensive when you consider that.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lkrupp Avatar
43 months ago
It’s become quite a cottage industry to find things wrong with anything Apple produces while the competition releases perfect, flawless products all the time.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Analog Kid Avatar
43 months ago
Does anyone know if the inward facing mic will help to quiet the voices in my head?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fmcshan Avatar
43 months ago
Just got mine this morning and I have to say they are so much better than AirPods 2. This is the first time when I’ve worn AirPods and they haven’t fallen out while running or working out. Well done Apple!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Five New iOS Features Coming to Your iPhone Later This Year

Tuesday January 31, 2023 11:58 am PST by
Apple has previously announced several upcoming iOS features that are expected to be added to the iPhone this year. Some of the features could be introduced with iOS 16.4, which should enter beta testing soon, while others will arrive later in the year. Below, we have recapped five new iOS features that are expected to launch in 2023, such as an Apple Pay Later financing option for purchases ...
HomePod 2 White and Midnight Feature Purple Blue

Apple Explains Why HomePod Was Released Again, Wi-Fi 4 Limitation, and More

Thursday February 2, 2023 7:57 am PST by
Apple's VP of hardware engineering Matthew Costello and product marketing employee Alice Chan recently spoke with Men's Journal and TechCrunch about the new second-generation HomePod in wide-ranging interviews about the smart speaker. Apple discontinued the original full-size HomePod in March 2021 after multiple reports indicated that sales of the speaker were lackluster, but Chan told Men's ...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.3.1 Update for iPhone as Wait for iOS 16.4 Beta Continues

Thursday February 2, 2023 6:41 am PST by
Apple appears to be preparing an iOS 16.3.1 update for the iPhone, based on evidence of the software in our website's analytics logs this week. It's unclear when the update will be released, but it will likely be available at some point in February. The same logs have accurately foreshadowed the release of several previous updates, including iOS 16.0.3 and iOS 16.1.1 most recently, so they...
dewey airtag

Report Highlights Danger of Using AirTags for Tracking Dogs

Monday January 30, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
AirTags may be a convenient way for tracking dogs that might get off leash or otherwise lost, but there are dangers associated with the practice, as outlined by a report from The Wall Street Journal. At 1.26 inches in diameter, AirTags are able to fit easily on a dog's collar, but that size also makes the tracking devices small enough to swallow, at least for a medium to large-sized dog, and ...
MKBHD HomePod 2 White Ring Stain

New HomePod Can Still Stain Some Wooden Surfaces

Tuesday January 31, 2023 8:29 am PST by
When the original HomePod launched in 2018, it was discovered that the speaker can leave white rings on some wooden surfaces. Now, well-known YouTuber Marques Brownlee has confirmed that the issue persists to a lesser extent with the new HomePod. In a side-by-side test, he showed that the white second-generation HomePod left a white ring on the wooden surface that he placed the speaker on,...
Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
iOS 16

When Will the iOS 16.4 Beta Be Released?

Wednesday February 1, 2023 11:09 am PST by
It's been more than a week since Apple released the iOS 16.3 update, and typically, new iOS betas follow launches within a day or so. We were expecting Apple to provide the first beta iOS 16.4 on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, but that hasn't happened. Tuesdays are the days that we most often see betas, though Monday and Wednesday happen now and then, and most often betas come...