Ever since Apple announced in 2016 that the iPhone 7 would not have a headphone jack, thus requiring its customers to purchase wireless AirPods, the company has received some flack for its profit-driven, forceful choices. Today, four iPhones later, headphone jacks have still not come back; investing in AirPods or an adapter remain the only ways to “wire” into your Apple device’s audio.
Now, hardly a month after the release of the iPhone 11, there is a new model of AirPods on the market, titled AirPods Pro. Even though the Pros have some revolutionary features, many Apple patrons’ initial reactions, as is typical in social media, were dismissive, snide, or mocking.
Immediately after Apple released the AirPod Pro’s design, the Internet whipped up a few viral memes about it. Given the earpiece’s cone-like, beakish appearance, people have been comparing the Pros to several tube-faced characters. According to the Internet, the AirPods Pro distinctly resemble Bellsprout from Pokèmon, Peashooter from Plants v Zombies, Birdo from Super Mario Bros, Pingu the Penguin, Q*Bert, Snoopy, and more. Outside of pop-culture references, the new earbuds have also been aesthetically likened to seahorses, hairdryers, and even sex toys.
Indeed, there is a lot of laughter and eye rolling going on at the new AirPods’ expense, and it doesn’t help that they cost $250—nearly $100 more than the previous model. Still, however, despite their flaws in appearance or marketing, the AirPods Pro have a few noteworthy features worth checking out.
First off, their strange new shape is not without purpose. Allegedly, the AirPods Pro are built for comfort, molded to easily fit the figure of one’s ear. Not only will this help the wireless earbuds stay in place, but the shape is also supposed to help cancel out outside noise by creating a tight seal between your ear and the rest of the world so you can listen without interference. If that wasn’t enough, the AirPods also use a new ventilation system to make sure pressure is equalized within your ears. Plus, they are water and sweat proof to endure an active user’s lifestyle.
On a more technical level, the AirPods Pro utilize advanced software and a dual speaker system to create an immersive experience for the listener. One of the two speakers points towards the ear, projecting music in the eardrum’s direction. Meanwhile, the other speaker actually points outwards and reacts to the environment, making sure the noise cancellation is optimal in any given situation. This dual system can reportedly update the sound signals up to 200 times per second.
Furthermore, the Pros also employ Adaptive EQ technology, which fine-tunes music to best fit the user’s ear shape. Using data given off by vibrations, the technology can work with frequency, range, and distortion to deliver a personalized, ideal auditory experience. Then, if all of this is too much, the Pods also offer a Transparency Mode, which gives users the option to soften the noise cancellation if they want to hear something going on outside their own head.
Apple also claims that the AirPods Pro will charge faster and last longer, read text messages aloud, respond to voice activated Siri commands, and allow multiple Pods to be linked to a single device, allowing for easy shared listening. Lastly, the AirPods will supposedly work even better when paired with Apple’s upcoming iOS 13.2 update.
So, even if they do resemble Bellsprout or Snoopy, there are definitely some nifty details in Apple’s AirPods Pro, and early tests-runs have already deemed the product phenomenal.
Are these well reviewed fancy details worth an extra Benjamin, though, or are they just excessive? Currently, the answer to that question is up to you. Nobody is forcing you to buy the AirPods Pro right now. However, given the way Apple operates, perhaps a few updates or iPhones down the road, they will be a necessity… that is until the next auditory Apple invention comes along.
Apple reveals new AirPods Pro, available October 30
- AirPods Pro will be available for $249 (US) and are available to order from apple.com and in the Apple Store app in the US and more than 25 other countries and regions.
- AirPods Pro will start shipping on Wednesday, October 30 and be available in stores beginning later this week (varies by country and region).
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