Apple: What's new with the second generation AirPod Pros?

Apple (AAPL) is launching the second generation of AirPods Pro, set to feature notable improvements to call functions and a new USB-C charging case. While there are no physical alterations from the previous generation, the focus remains on the software updates. Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley dives into the consumer demand for the latest AirPods and its upgrades.

Video transcript


AKIKO FUJITA: Well, Apple's next generation AirPod Pros are getting big software improvements as well as a new charging case. Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley always on the case for us. He's got his hands on a pair. What's the verdict?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah I mean, look, these are the best AirPods that you can get hands down. These are the AirPods Pro 2, they call now AirPods Pro second generation. But they have this USB-C charging case now. It's also got MagSafe charging. So if you have an Apple Watch as well, you can slap it on your Apple Watch charger or any other kind of wireless charger that this supports.

The case itself is great. It's got USB-C. If you have an iPhone 15, when that comes out, you'll be able to plug that into from a USB cord from your iPhone 15 to the AirPods Pro case and actually charge the AirPods Pro case in that way. Outside of that, the AirPods are essentially unchanged from the prior AirPods Pro second generation with the lightning case.

The big deal here is all of the software. Essentially, what Apple has done is fully updated the software to include three new features. And that includes a new adaptive listening kind of preset, conversation awareness, and then personalized volume. And the adaptive listening part is really what's impressive. It takes advanced noise cancelation. And then Apple's transparency mode and noise cancelation basically uses reverse or the opposite radio frequency of sounds that the AirPods hear around you to cancel out outside noise.

And then transparency basically amplifies outside noise. So if walking down the street, you want to make sure that you can hear what's going on around you, you can use transparency. If you're on a subway, and you just want to block out all the noise, you would use noise cancelation. Adaptive audio basically takes those two and mashes them together. So it's not exactly noise cancelation, it's not exactly transparency. You can hear people talk to a degree if they're calling out to you with this feature on. So it's really nice to see.

The other big feature in something that has come in handy in my life so far is conversation awareness. And this basically allows the AirPods to recognize that you're speaking to someone and then drop down the volume of whatever you're listening to and then raise it back up after a few seconds of you not speaking anymore. And I got to say, it really makes things a lot easier.

Usually, if I go into a store, and I go to the checkout counter, I got to pull awkwardly pull out one AirPod. Or if my wife's talking to me and I have my AirPods on, I got to pull it out. Now, I can just, you know, start talking to someone and I can just leave it in. So it's a lot easier that way. And then personalized volume is a way for the AirPods to kind of pick up how you listen over time and then adjust the volume to your liking based on the kind of content you listen to.

So I mean, overall these are some big, big changes. You can also, thankfully finally mute your phone calls with the AirPods. If you're talking to someone, you just tap on the stem once. And if you want to hang up, you double tap. So really big updates. If you already have the AirPods Pro 2, there's no reason to upgrade. You get the software for free. The charging case, though, you're going to have 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 AirPods probably represent around 5% of total company revenue. So this is a real 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, listen, if Josh has his AirPods, which I do, and they're working fine, I don't need to go out rush out and buy these right now?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah. No, not at all. I think that this is for people who either have older AirPods. And you know, they're still first generation AirPods out there. People may want to upgrade or people who just haven't purchased them yet at all. And I think that's really what the market is for these.

I think that, you know, when it comes to the case itself, it's USB-C. It's nice to have. But it's really not that different from the lightning ones. But the devices themselves are the same. And it's the software changes that really matter.

AKIKO FUJITA: OK. I don't know, you've convinced me. I may want an upgrade. Maybe I just want an excuse to upgrade. Dan Howley is always on the case for us. Thanks so much.