Apple ( AAPL ) is launching the second generation of AirPods Pro, will feature significant improvements to call functions and a new USB-C charging case. While there are no physical changes from the previous generation, the focus is on software updates. Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley explores consumer demand for the latest AirPods and its upgrades.
Akiko Fujita: Well, Apple’s next-generation AirPods Pros are getting major software improvements as well as a new charging case. Dan Hawley of Yahoo Finance is always a hot topic for us. He has touched a pair. What is the result?
Dan Hawley: Yes, I mean, these are the best AirPods you can land on. These are AirPods Pro 2, now called AirPods Pro second generation. But now they have this USB-C charging case. It also has MagSafe charging. So if you also have an Apple Watch, you can plug it into your Apple Watch charger or any other type of wireless charger that supports this.
The case itself is great. It has USB-C. If you have an iPhone 15, when it comes out, you’ll be able to plug it into the AirPods Pro case from your iPhone 15 via the USB cord and actually charge the AirPods Pro case. Other than that, the AirPods Pro with the Lightning Case are unchanged from the second generation.
The biggest thing here is all the software. Essentially, what Apple has done is completely update the software to include three new features. And that includes a new adaptive listening mode with presets, conversation awareness and then personalized volume. And the adaptive listening part is really impressive. This requires advanced noise cancellation. And then Apple’s Transparency Mode and Noise Cancellation essentially use radio frequencies to reverse or reverse the sounds the AirPods hear around you to cancel out outside noise.
And then transparency basically amplifies outside noise. So when walking down the street, you want to make sure you can hear what’s going on around you, you can use transparency. If you’re on the subway and you just want to block out all the noise, you’ll use noise cancellation. Adaptive audio basically takes those two and mash them together. So it’s not exactly noise cancellation, not quite transparency. If people are calling you with this feature turned on, you can talk somewhat. So that’s really cool to see.
Another great trait that has come in handy in my life so far is conversational awareness. And it essentially allows the AirPods to recognize that you’re talking to someone, and then turn down the volume of whatever you’re listening to, and then turn it up again a few seconds later. And I mean, it really makes things a lot easier.
Usually, if I go to a store and go to the checkout counter, I have to pull out an AirPods. Or if my wife is talking to me and my AirPods are on, I have to take them out. Now, I can just, you know, start talking to someone and I can just let it in. So it’s very easy. And then Personalized Volume is a way for AirPods to track how you listen over time and then adjust the volume to your liking based on the content you listen to.
I mean, overall these are some big, big changes. You, too, can thankfully finally mute your phone calls with AirPods. If you are talking to someone, you just tap the stem once. And if you want to hang up, you double tap. So really big updates. If you already own AirPods Pro 2, there’s no reason to upgrade. You get the software for free. The charging case, however, means you’ll need to buy a whole new pair if you want that USB-C port.
Josh Lipton: And so Dan, so investors, you know, they pay attention here, because analysts estimate that AirPods represent about 5% of the company’s total revenue. So this is a really meaningful business line for the company. And just to emphasize there, I’m just curious who you think this is for. In other words, you’re saying, look, if Josh has his AirPods, which I do, and they’re working fine, I don’t need to rush out and buy them?
Dan Hawley: yes No not at all. I think this is for people who either have older AirPods. And you know, they’re still first-generation AirPods. People might want to upgrade or people who haven’t bought it yet. And I think that’s what the market is really for.
I think, you know, when it comes to the case itself, it’s USB-C. This is great. But it’s really no different from electricity. But the equipment itself is the same. And this software change is really important.
Akiko Fujita: ok I don’t know, you convinced me. I might need an upgrade. Maybe I need an excuse to upgrade. Dan Hawley is always in the news for us. Thank you very much.