Apple has the greatest timing with these things. If they are going to drop a product out of the clear blue sky with a press release, I always know for certain it will be a day when I’m slammed at work…just like today. I did finally see that they had revealed the AirPods Pro around 3 hours late and got my order in. I am supposed to get mine on 10/31, which is a day late, but not too bad, I guess.
While rumors of a new iPad Pro have faded over the last month, reports of the AirPods Pro earbuds steadily gained steam. With the month fast running out, the time for an October event already passed, and rumors from reliable sources still insistent that they would arrive this month, it was pretty clear that they would show up soon via a press release. The release date and whether they would arrive alone were the only things in question until today.
As for the AirPods Pro themselves, they are exactly what the rumors predicted. The new name, the new shape and smaller profile, the shorter, squattier storage case, active noise cancellation, removable rubber tips, “transparency” pass-through mode and sweat and water resistance. I won’t bore you with the technical details already available in any number of articles. The only report that didn’t prove to be true (at least not yet) is the most recent one of the new AirPods coming in colors matching each of the iPhone Pros. However, these Pros are only available in white to start.
The price also matched up with most of the predictions at $249. While this looks like a really high price in a vacuum, it actually lines up with the small, but growing market for wireless earbuds with active noise cancelling. If you look at higher-end products from Bose, Bang and Olufsen, Sony and others. the AirPods Pro are priced appropriately for the feature set. I don’t think this is enough to declare them a great deal or value, but they are at least reasonably priced.
So what else does Apple have up it’s sleeve? First off, the new AirPods weren’t the only things that came today. There was the release of iOS 13.2. This is notable because it not only brought the official release of Deep Fusion computational photography to the new iPhones, but it also marked the HomePod finally getting its boost to iOS 13. For whatever reason, Apple didn’t do any public or developer beta testing of iOS 13 on this device. I’m downloading 13.2 to mine now and will be interested to see how well the new features work, even if they are very late to the connected speaker party.
Speaking of party, it isn’t likely to stop with today’s festivities. Just like Apple’s flurry of press releases this spring before their media event, this one release is unlikely to come alone. iOS 13.2 has already revealed that Apple’s new tracking tiles, which should also arrive shortly, maybe even tomorrow, will likely be called AirTags. 13.2 also contains references to new Smart Battery Cases for the new iPhone models. I would expect those to arrive this week, as well.
We also have a pretty good idea that a new 16″ MacBook will be coming, as well. There have been repeated rumors and assets from the latest OSs showing a slightly different design. The unknown is whether or not it will come with the rumored new scissor key mechanism.
We also know that the new Mac Pro is due any time now. A press release will certainly do for that, as much as it’s already been covered. There could also be a new Apple TV refresh released to coincide with the launch of the Apple TV + streaming service. That hits on Friday, so expect this new hardware to come later in the week, if this refresh is real.
So it’s likely to be a busy week between press release releases and seeing Apple’s new shows and whether they have earned the lukewarm to poor reviews some of them have garnered so far. We shall see, but that’s a different story for a different day. What I’m really looking forward to is getting my hands on the new AirPods Pro and seeing if the sound quality, noise cancellation and new design are worth the price. I’ll let you all know as soon as I have them.