Apple announced the often rumored and much expected AirPods Pro, and it didn’t take very long for Twitter and the media outrage machine to question why these earphones should cost more than their predecessors.
Some pontificated that perhaps it is because it has “pro” attached to the name. Never mind that the $249 price point is pretty comparable to other premium wireless – or, as they say in the industry, “true wireless” – headphones. Momentum headphones from Sennheiser cost about $259. Master & Dynamic’s MW07 Plus cost almost $300. Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay E8 cost almost $350.
Given that most of these earphones are using chips from a commercial chip vendor – Qualcomm, in all likelihood – you can count on AirPods Pro having a distinct and better sound quality. Apple is using its own chip, H1, which gives it a leg-up in bringing a more customized experience to its devices. The current (second) generation AirPods are great wireless earphones – and you don’t have to take my word for it. Just look around any big city and notice the sheer number of people walking around with them in their ears.
The new AirPods Pro
At present, I use AirPods for much more: making phone calls, listening to podcasts, and more importantly, for streaming music during the workday. And they sound great! By comparison, at least on paper, the AirPods Pro look pretty good, and they seem to have even more features that make them ideal for running around in a loud city.
Of course, they will lead to more people having loud conversations in public with faint regard for civility, but that’s the world we live in. Get ready for more FaceTime chats in middle of a coffee shop. And as for wearing them on the plane? Don’t even think about it. There is a good chance that they will drop out of your ears, slide under the seat and lead to a dramatic situation involving the in-flight staff.
So, they may not be perfect for all situations, but they certainly seem to be an improvement – and honestly, a pretty reasonably priced one – over many current options.
October 28, 2019, San Francisco