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AirPods Pro to get Hands-free Siri Interactions, Voice Isolation, Spatial Audio for gaming

2024 June 10
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AirPods Pro have become something of a staple for anyone invested in the Apple ecosystem, and perhaps even for folks who use competing devices. Not only are they one of the most reliable active noise-cancelling wireless earbuds you can get, but Apple seems to constantly improve them – not only with hardware bumps, but with software upgrades.

At the WWDC 2024 Keynote on Monday, Apple announced some major new enhancements coming to the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) that will come in the form of a software update to enable new features and capabilities that will pair seamlessly with the company’s upcoming iOS 18 software update later this year.

Hands-free Siri Interactions

Hands-free Siri Interactions.

At the top of the list, AirPods Pro (2nd generation) users will have a new way to interact with their earbuds when wearing them in certain situations in which attempting to answer Siri vocally might be less than ideal. For example, if you’re trying to be silent in an elevator, or if you’re in a location that’s too loud to be heard, such as at a music concert.

More specifically, AirPods Pro (2nd generation) will be trained to detect head nodding and shaking movements and act upon questions Siri has asked you based on your head movements. For example, if you receive an incoming phone call and you have a pair of AirPods Pro (2nd generation) in your ears, you can nod to answer the call or shake your head to dismiss the call.

This is a feature that I think is long overdue, and many people didn’t even realize they needed. The ability to discreetly interact with your iPhone without lifting a finger and without announcing any vocal queues is going to be a game-changer, and in more ways than one.

These features will work seamlessly with the existing Transparency and Adaptive Audio modes of the AirPods Pro (2nd generation), allowing you to effectively always keep them in your ears while being able to navigate normal life activities with the always-ready gesture awaiting your head movements to perform actions. Brilliant!

Voice Isolation

AirPods Pro Voice Isolation.

Apple is also upgrading the microphone audio quality for people who rely on AirPods Pro (2nd generation) to speak to either their smartphone or to other people in voice or video calls.

According to the Cupertino-based company, voice isolation features are coming. These features will use advanced computational machine learning to separate your voice when you speak from loud and distracting background noise so that the person on the other end (or Siri) can hear you more clearly and understand you.

I know from first-hand experience just how hard it can be for people to hear me when I use my AirPods Pro (2nd generation) during a phone call when I’m in my loud day job work environment, and this feature is going to change that dramatically, as well as for anyone who can relate.

Personalized Spatial Audio for Gaming

Personalized Spatial Audio for Gaming.

If you like gaming on your mobile devices, then another new feature coming for the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is personalized Spatial Audio for gaming, which means that the sound effects you’ll hear while playing certain games on your iPhone will feel more immersive, coming from all directions as to behave like surround sound.

Anyone who has used the Spatial Audio feature in Apple Music knows how this works. Sounds will change relative to your head movements in relation to the position of your iPhone, and sounds coming from the device will change to compensate for added realism. The effect is a lot like being at a concert, where turning your head left would put your right ear closer to the action, hence reducing the volume in the left ear until you turned your head straight again. This is an over-simplification, of course.

I think this is going to be a huge win for mobile gamers, especially in immersive mobile games, such as the mobile Call of Duty series, PUBG mobile, and other games that require careful attention to noises to win. Obviously, this depends on developers to roll out support for, and it will begin with games such as Need for Speed mobile by Tencent Games and EA.

AirPods Pro (2nd generation) will also pair with iOS 18’s new Game Mode, delivering Apple’s best wireless audio latency ever for mobile gaming, ensuring you’ll hear everything before your opponents do.

All-around Game Changers

While these upgrades only come to the second-generation AirPods Pro, not the first-generation model, it’s worth noting that these features are all-around game changers that will change the way we interact with our devices and listen to audio in certain circumstances.

If you couldn’t come up with a reason to upgrade from the first-generation to the second-generation AirPods Pro, then this might be the extra push you needed.

Apple has already pushed a beta firmware update for developers to test out. These features will launch for all other users later this Fall when iOS & iPadOS 18 release to the general public.

Who’s excited? Let us know in the comments section down below.

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