Apple is at its best when it takes something that people find fiddly or annoying and then makes it effortless. And the new AirPods Pro are a perfect example.
They’re not the first wireless earbuds with noise cancelling, and they’re not the best-sounding wireless earbuds you can buy, but they do sound quite good and they’re just so easy that it’s just hard to go back to anything else.
Making wireless easy
The original AirPods have been a smash success, and it’s not because Apple invented the first truly wireless earbuds. Nor is it because they sound better than anything else in their price range.
AirPods made wireless effortless. While next to your iPhone, AirPods pair with your device just by opening its case. The connection is rock solid. They turn on and connect when you take them out of the case and turn off when you put them back. They know when you’ve taken one out of your ear and pause the music automatically.
The AirPods case is tiny enough to fit in any pocket, it opens and closes with a satisfying magnetic snap, and the earbuds drop right into their carefully-fitted slots.
With AirPods, Apple took the annoying rough spots around using wireless earbuds and made them simple and delightful.
So what does Apple do for an encore?
It tweaks the design, improves sound quality, adds active noise cancelling, and calls them the AirPods Pro.
AirPods Pro are absolutely peak Apple. Just as with the original AirPods, they are not a new invention. They don’t outperform the best wireless headphones in the price range. But AirPods Pro are so thoughtfully designed, so effortless and easy, that it’s kind of annoying to go back to using other wireless earbuds.
A design that’s hard to beat
Let’s start with the case. It’s a shorter, wider version of the case for the regular AirPods, and includes wireless charging—there’s no way to buy a non-wireless charging case. It’s just slightly bigger overall, and just as easy to slip into any pocket. Beyond that, it’s just like the AirPods case, and that’s a good thing. It snaps open and shut with that same satisfying magnetic latch, and the earbuds drop right into the fitted slots.
Why haven’t Apple’s competitors been able to replicate this experience? Ever since the release of the AirPods, Apple’s cases are still smaller, easier to pocket, easier to get your earbuds in and out of, just easier to use than everyone else’s. Good on Apple for updating AirPods with noise cancelling and silicone tips without sacrificing the ultra-compact and easy-to-use nature of the case.
The earbuds themselves look familiar, just tweaked a bit. They’re stilly visibly AirPods, and for better or worse they only come in glossy white. As much as I would love matte black, or Product(RED), or space grey, Apple seems to have decided that Apple headphones are glossy white….