Apple has been on a roll with the introduction of its updated iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch lines, as well as with the launch of Apple Arcade and Apple TV Plus this fall.
“We concluded a groundbreaking fiscal 2019 with our highest [fourth quarter] revenue ever, fueled by accelerating growth from Services, Wearables and iPad,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a press release on Oct. 30.
The latest product under the company’s growing wearables sector is the new AirPods Pro, a new high-end version of Apple’s popular AirPods.
“AirPods are the best-selling headphones in the world,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing in a press release on Oct. 30, “The one-tap setup experience, incredible sound and iconic design have made them a beloved Apple product, and with AirPods Pro, we’re taking the magic even further.”
So what makes these earbuds better than the beloved original? First, Apple overhauled the look of the new earbuds, making them smaller than the originals and opting for customizable ear tips rather than the original AirPods’ universal fit. This will make the earbuds look less intru
sive and allow for a more comfortable feel.
Second, the AirPods Pro boast water and sweat resistance, which isn’t available for the original Airpods. This makes them ideal for wear when working out or when facing the elements.
Finally, Apple improved the audio experience. Adaptive EQ is a feature introduced with the AirPods Pro, which automatically tunes low and mid-frequency to the wearer’s ear shape, “resulting in a rich, immersive listening experience,” Apple said in a press release on Oct. 30.
The main draw to upgrade to the AirPods Pro is its noise cancellation abilities. Users can switch between Transparency Mode, which lets the wearers hear what’s going on around them, and Active Noise Cancellation, which uses an external microphone to detect sound and counter it with “anti-noise” to erase outside noise. Both of these functions will eliminate issues that come with listening to audio out in the world– hearing too much to be comfortable or not enough to stay safe.
Unfortunately, there are drawbacks that come with these innovative features. One, charge battery life is worse than the original AirPods, at four and a half hours compared to the original’s five. Also, the price point is higher at $249, compared to $159 or $199 for the Original Airpods ($199 for an included wireless charging case).
Despite those shortcomings, the AirPods Pro are superior to the originals in innovation. The original AirPods didn’t offer features that justified the price, and nothing truly set them apart from competitors. Their main selling point was the hype that surrounded them. But, with better looks, water resistance and features unique to the earbuds that make them stand out, it seems that the AirPods Pro are what the original AirPods should have been. Only now they’re $50 more.