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Apple finally adds active noise cancellation to the AirPods Pro

Apple has heard and (finally) answered our pleas for noise cancellation on the AirPods. The recently-announced AirPods Pro will go on sale tomorrow, October 30, with the most significant upgrade being the addition of active noise cancellation.

airpods pro
Looking a little like a Jony Ive-esque hair dryer there aren’t we. (Photo: Apple)

The new AirPods Pro sports a similar design to its predecessor, except now it has an in-ear headphones silhouette that features flexible and interchangeable silicone tips. The seal created by the ear tips as well as two microphones that filter out background noise is what makes the active noise cancellation feature tick.

A transparency mode is available for those who just want to be more spatially aware of their surroundings. Thanks to a sensor on the stem of the AirPods Pro, switching between noise cancellation and transparency mode can be done on the fly. The sensor can also be used to play, pause, skip tracks, and answer phone calls.

AirPods Pro
Switch between noise cancellation and transparency mode easily. (Photo: Apple)

However, what sets it apart from other noise cancelling earbuds is the “Ear Tip Fit Test.” This feature might seem innocuous and unnecessary to some, but it’s significant quality-of-life addition for those who just bought their AirPod Pros. It helps you find the best ear tip size by using the microphones and speakers on the earbuds to measure the sound quality, suggesting if another ear tip fit would better suit your listening experience.

The battery life on the AirPods Pro at five hours of continuous listening is also on par with the second-gen AirPods that came out not too long ago. With active noise cancellation switched on, it understandably goes down to 4.5 hours on a single charge. It seems like a good compromise, considering five minutes of quick-charging will juice it up an hours worth of playback. Together with the included wireless charging case, you’re looking at around 24 hours of total listening time. Unfortunately, Apple is still utilising the Lightning connector to charge the case, but they now ship with a Lightning to USB-C connector.

airpods pro
The AirPods Pro will ship with a wireless charging case. (Photo: Apple)

The AirPods Pro will go on sale Wednesday, October 30 on the Apple Store at S$379.


Josiah Neo
Josiah Neo is a tech writer who contributes occasionally to the fashion, travel, and culture beats. When he’s not busy keeping up with the keynotes, he’s probably stuffing his face with the best Melbournian donuts (at Shortstop, BTW) or watching his favourite esports team, the Los Angeles Valiant, pummel their opponents into oblivion.