Apple Announces AirPods Pro, iOS 13.2 Update

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On Monday, October 28th, Apple quietly announced their third version of the AirPods, this time dubbed AirPods Pro.  The AirPods Pro bring several enhancements over the current 2nd Generation AirPods and come in at a price point higher than the current AirPods.  Currently, you can still buy the 2nd Generation AirPods in both Wired-only charging, or with wireless charging for $169, and $199 respectively.  AirPods Pro are priced at $249 and will begin shipping October 30th.  Let's go over some of the new features, as well as some of the highlights of iOS 13.2, also released on Monday.

 

AirPods Pro

Key features:

  • Noise cancellation
  • Transparency mode
  • Customizable fit
  • Sweat and Water resistant IPX4 rated

With Noise Cancellation on AirPods Pro, Apple has added two microphones to each AirPod.  One that monitors the sound outside, and then produces something they call "anti-noise" to counter the outside noise.  This is similar to the way Bose headphones provide noise cancellation.  Additionally though, there is a microphone that analyzes the sound being played into your ear and also balances it out as well.  This happens continuously and is checked 200 times per second.  The result is said to provide a richer, more immersive experience.  To add to the experience, you can switch the noise cancellation features on or off using a force sensor added on the stem of the AirPods Pro.  You can set it for Noise Cancelation, Transparency Mode (a mode designed to let you hear your surroundings naturally), and it can all be turned off as well.

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In order to provide a more comfortable fit, and to help with noise cancellation, AirPods Pro include three different sized ear tips to help seal your ear canal and provide an improved fit over the standard AirPods.  Apple has also added sweat and water resistance to the AirPods Pro, though you still cannot take your AirPods Pro swimming or underwater, they should hold up better at the gym or in the rain for example.

 

UPDATE: AirPods Pro have been ordered and a full review will be coming as soon as they've arrived.  Stay tuned!

 

Available: Octobter 30th

Price: $249

Learn more: https://www.apple.com/airpods-pro/

 

iOS 13.2

Released alongside the AirPods Pro is iOS 13.2.  iOS 13.2 provides bug fixes and stability improvements, along with a few new features including:  Messages on Siri support, new Emoji, Deep Fusion for iPhone 11s and 11s Pro, as well as Siri-related privacy options (the ability to opt-out of Siri recordings and to delete your Siri data).

Messages on Siri is a functionality that is really nice provided you have a pair of 2nd generation AirPods, new AirPods Pro, or certain Beats headphones.  It works by announcing your Messages and allowing you to respond without having to invoke Siri.  This means that you can carry on full conversations as they happen without having to double tap, say "Hey, Siri" or anything.  Messages will be announced with the contacts name, and then you can naturally reply back.  You even have the option to disable the confirmation so you don't have to hear Siri read back what you are trying to say.  All of these features can be turned off as well.

Deep Fusion is another notable feature, though it only is of benefit to iPhone 11 users.  First shown during the iPhone 11 event, Deep Fusion is a new, machine learning method that applies a pixel-by-pixel process to photos.  Each photo is examined and optimized for textures, reducing noise in photos taken automatically when you take each picture.  Resulting photos look clearer, and contain more detail than the previous method.  This process should be most useful for medium lighting in indoor settings.

Apple has also released around 200 new emoji to their already extensive emoji vocabulary.   Now you can send somebody the snorkeling emoji!  Or if that's not your thing, there is a new yawning emoji you can use to reply back.

To learn more about the iOS 13.2 update, please check these release notes, which also includes detailed information on bug fixes solved by this release as well.

Available: 10/28/2019

Learn more:  https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210393#132

 

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