Apple's ubiquitous AirPods wireless headphones are getting a major update with the AirPods Pro: a smaller set of headphones with water resistance, active noise cancellation, and new touch functionality that enables users to interact with their phone through the headphones.
The cost? $250 — a $90 jump over the base price of AirPods.
There are a few main features of the new AirPods Pro that make them better than their predecessors:
- A major new design: The headphones now have shorter stems, and rubber tips for helping the headphones stay in your ears.
- The stems now have touch functionality, called a "force sensor": "The force sensor," Apple says, "makes it easy to play, pause or skip tracks, and answer or hang up phone calls."
- Noise cancellation: Apple calls it "Active Noise Cancellation," because the headphones aren't just sealing out the outside world — they're also actively pushing back. "Noise cancellation continuously adapts the sound signal 200 times per second," Apple says of the functionality.
- Water resistance: Apple says that "AirPods Pro are sweat- and water-resistant for non-water sports and exercise and have a rating of IPX4 under IEC standard 60529."
AirPods Pro have been repeatedly rumored across the past year, and the revamp comes as Apple faces increasing competition in the wireless-earbuds market that it has, until now, largely had to itself. Earlier this year, Amazon unveiled its $130 Echo Buds, and more recently Microsoft announced the Surface Earbuds, which will cost $249.
Apple's new AirPods Pro are scheduled to arrive on October 30 for $250, and are already available for preorder on Apple's website.