Apple’s new AirPods Pro can cancel twice as much noise

The long-awaited refresh of Apple’s AirPods Pro is here. On Wednesday, at its “Far Out” event, the company announced a second-generation pair of the popular noise-canceling earbuds with a new H2 chip that the company promises will offer improved sound quality and noise cancellation.

The H2 chip allows the new earbuds to cancel “up to twice as much noise” over the first generation AirPods Pro, Apple says in a press release. The new buds and the H2 chip also offer an improved Adaptive Transparency mode. And Apple also says the AirPods Pro have a new low-distortion audio driver and custom amplifier for “richer bass” and “crystal-clear sound across a wider range of frequencies.”

One major new feature of the new earbuds is the ability to adjust volume with swipes on the stem. That means you won’t have to turn to another device just to bump up the volume on your favorite song. And Apple says the AirPods Pro have better battery life: six hours on a single charge with active noise cancellation turned on.

The new AirPods Pro also come with an improved charging case that offers Find My support and a built-in speaker so you can track them more easily. In addition to charging it with a Lightning cable or on a Qi or MagSafe charger, you’ll also be able to charge the case on an Apple Watch charger. The case is also now sweat- and water-resistant, and there’s a loop where you can attach a lanyard if you want another way to carry the case around.

The new earbuds will cost $249, and you can order them on September 9th. They’ll be available on September 23rd. The updated AirPods Pro will also come with new extra-small ear tips, which could be a better fit for some ears.

Apple’s original AirPods Pro were announced not at a product event but via press release in October 2019. They went on to become immensely successful — not necessarily for their audio fidelity, which has since been lapped by Sony, Samsung, Google, and other competitors, but because they work so seamlessly with the iPhone and other Apple gadgets.

The AirPods Pro have been bested at noise cancellation at this point by the likes of Sony and Bose, but their transparency mode remains best in class, even two years later.