Although with hesitation and in slow pace originally, Apple is now speeding towards a brave new USB-C future for its products. This change comes after years of political pressure from regulators, and the Cupertino giant is finally abiding. This may make you happy, or the opposite (if you consider this to be a free market violation). The fact is that you’ll have it presumably easier from now on, though. You’ll finally not feel like an outcast around your Android-owning friends (if that’s your camaraderie’s weapon of choice) when the battery on your Apple device starts depleting and you need a charger.
All jokes aside, port standards across the devices’ ecosystem is certainly not a topic that could have the “eat your cake and have it, too” philosophy applied to it. Having some devices on the USB-C port standard, while keeping other Apple accessories on the Lightning port, would create, to put it mildly, a major user dissatisfaction storm.
That’s why Apple has to convert its audio accessories to USB-C as well, starting from the top of the line with the crème de la crème AirPods Pro. As mentioned above, the wired EarPods are getting a connectivity update and are moving to USB-C, too. Next in line, the “new” port should appear on the non-Pro AirPods and the over-ear AirPods Max sometime next year according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, but Apple hasn’t specified an exact date yet.
Is there anything new hardware-wise?
There are no hardware changes on the buds themselves, but on September 22 there will be a software update that improves the AirPods Pro’s usability with minor tweaks. Here they are:
- Adaptive Audio: a new listening mode that dynamically blends Transparency mode and Active Noise Cancellation together based on the conditions of a user’s environment to deliver the best experience in the moment. This new listening mode will seamlessly tailor the noise control experience while users move between environments and interactions that are constantly changing throughout the day.
- Personalized Volume: this feature uses machine learning – a type of AI – to evaluate environmental conditions and listening preferences over time to automatically fine-tune the media experience.
- Conversation Awareness: owners of AirPods Pro (2nd generation) will benefit from an automatic volume lowering and enhancing the voices in front of the user, when someone speaks to them: all while reducing background noise. In other words, there will be no need (allegedly) to take off the earbuds when you find yourself in a dialogue situation in the street or in the office.
- Automatic Switching: that one’s for faster and more reliable device change, like moving from a, let’s say, favorite podcast on iPhone to a work call on Mac.
- New Mute/Unmute feature for multitasking. Just press the stem – or the Digital Crown on AirPods Max – to quickly mute or unmute yourself.
Source: Phone Arena