Apple’s new AirPods Pro 2 are just what we expected (hands on)

this story is part of Focus iPhone 2022CNET rounds up news, tips and advice on Apple’s most popular products.

The long-rumored second-generation AirPods Pro — or AirPods Pro 2, as everyone might call them — are official. As part of its “Far Out” iPhone 14 event, Apple just unveiled its latest noise-canceling true wireless headphones. They’re available for pre-order on Friday and will start shipping on September 23rd for $249 (£249, AU$399).

The new AirPods Pro follow the original noise-canceling mode that debuted in October 2019. They’re powered by Apple’s new H2 chip, which provides more processing power while being more power efficient (according to Apple). The new chip, combined with a new low-distortion driver, improves the sound for better clarity and depth. Noise cancellation has also been improved — Apple says the new AirPods have “twice as much” noise cancellation as the original AirPods Pro.

Screenshot from Apple/Sarah Lord/CNET

Pre-orders for the 2022 AirPods Pro models will begin on September 9, and the first set of new earbuds will begin shipping on September 23.

My early practice impressions

I had the opportunity to try out the AirPods Pro 2 for a limited time at a launch event in a noisy demo area, surrounded by hundreds of people. Noise cancellation does seem to have improved, although it only removes the din in the room. While listening to some of the tracks on Apple’s iPhone 14 demo phone, I also thought the earbuds sounded cleaner and clearer than the original AirPods Pro (I couldn’t use the earbuds with my iPhone and the tracks I usually use to test headphones ).

I do think it is very important to get the best noise reduction and sound quality. Apple hasn’t changed the design of its earbuds (for the original AirPods, I used the larger earbuds, but also third-party foam tips), but it will now offer a fourth extra small earbud for those with smaller ears.

The AirPods Pro 2nd generation earbuds are powered by Apple’s new H2 chip.

David Canoy/CNET

Some hope the new AirPods Pro will be able to stream Apple Lossless tracks wirelessly. Apple didn’t mention anything about it, but some features may be announced at a later date. For example, with the original AirPods Pro, Apple didn’t launch Spatial Audio until a few months after its release.

In terms of spatial audio, Apple says AirPods Pro now has personalized spatial audio that creates a more tailored listening experience for your ears. Transparency mode has also been enhanced to adapt to the ambient noise you encounter, and there’s a new Personalized Spatial Audio feature as well as touch-swipe controls on the stem to add to the pinch controls.

Battery life on a single charge is now up to 6 hours (up from 5 hours), and the charging case gives you 4 additional charges. In addition, the case now has a built-in speaker that can play sounds for Apple’s Find My feature.

AirPods Pro 2 cases now have a lanyard option

The new case has a place to attach a lanyard, but Apple doesn’t include a lanyard for the new AirPods Pro.

David Canoy/CNET

While some might be disappointed that Apple didn’t make more upgrades to the design of the AirPods Pro 2 (with some tweaks to the microphone configuration, and a few other small improvements including the vents), the AirPods Pro 2nd Generation are largely in line with I expect them to be: better-sounding AirPods Pro with better noise cancellation, longer battery life and a wireless charging case with some enhancements.

Of course, I’ll say more about them in my full review – stay tuned – and I’ll compare them to some of the other top noise-cancelling earbuds, including Bose’s new QuietComfort Earbuds II It was also revealed today.

AirPods Pro 2 key features

  • Same design as previous AirPods Pro
  • Powered by Apple H2 chip
  • Improve your sound with new low-distortion drivers
  • Improved noise reduction (Apple says double the amount of ANC)
  • Adaptive Transparency Mode
  • Personalized Spatial Audio
  • The bottom of the charging case now has a built-in speaker that can play sounds using the Precision Find My feature
  • 6 hours of battery life with an additional 24 hours of battery life in the charging case (1 hour more than original AirPods Pro)
  • Added touch swipe controls Pinch the controls on the stem
  • Can now charge with Apple Watch charger and Qi wireless charger
  • Lanyard can be attached to the case (lanyard not included)
  • Price: $249, £249, AU$399
  • Ship date: September 23 (available for preorder September 9)

The second-generation AirPods Pro earbuds are powered by Apple’s new H2 chip.

David Canoy/CNET

read more: Best Wireless Earbuds of 2002

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