First-gen AirPods Pro gets nifty new feature found on the second-gen model


The Apple AirPods Pro 2 features a new Adaptive Transparency feature that improves on the true wireless earbuds’ Transparency Mode. The AirPods Pro 2, like the original model, has Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) which removes distracting ambient noises from your earbuds. But there are times when you want to know what is happening around you.

Adaptive Transparency allows you to hear important background noise without blasting the sound in your ears

Let’s say that you are walking in the big city listening to the Beatles’ Helter Skelter. That’s a pretty loud song that Paul McCartney said was written expressly to be the loudest and heaviest song at that time. But while the music plays, with ANC enabled, you might not hear the siren from the ambulance bearing down on you while you’re in the crosswalk. But with Transparency Mode enabled, some background noise can be heard grabbing your attention, allowing you to determine whether you should continue walking, head back to the sidewalk, or just stop where you are.
The new AirPods Pro 2 has a feature that Apple calls “Adaptive Transparency.” Using the new H2 chip found only in the new AirPods Pro 2, this capability allows the device to “minimize the intensity of loud noises like sirens or power tools” allowing Transparency Mode to alert you to a siren (indicating a possible fast-moving ambulance or police car near you) or power tools like a jackhammer (indicating a possible hole in the ground near you) without suddenly hearing these noises in your ear at extremely loud volume.
Those with the older AirPods Pro might be saying, “I wish I had this feature without having to buy the sequel.” Well, guess what. You might have your wish. Some Reddit users with the OG AirPods Pro noticed that after installing iOS 16.1 Beta 3 (the developer preview is available), Adaptive Transparency has appeared as an option on the first-generation AirPods Pro. It comes with the new AirPods beta firmware with the build number 5A304a.

In case you’re wondering whether this was a mistake on Apple’s part, it doesn’t appear to be so. A Reddit user with the handle of “Jeff03blue_Instinct” writes this about his first-generation AirPods Pro, “Every morning it works for me opening this door that has a high pitch screech. The noise gets whited out as the door opens. Edit: It did not use to do this.”

Get 25% more battery life with the second-generation AirPods Pro

If you’re wondering whether this means that you shouldn’t shell out for the new AirPods Pro 2, keep in mind that the latter uses the H2 chip only found in the latest model. And that is the chip responsible for Adaptive Transparency Mode which means that in theory, this feature should work better on the newly released unit. In addition, the battery life is much improved on the second-gen version.

With the MagSafe Charging Case, you can get up to 30 hours of listening and 24 hours of talking before needing a charge. With the OG AirPods Pro, the case delivers up to 24 hours of usage between charges. So if you’re mulling over in your mind whether to spring for the AirPods Pro 2, keep the 25% longer battery life in mind. And you can charge the case wirelessly using a MagSafe charger, an Apple Watch charger, or a Qi-certified charger. A Lightning power adapter will also work.

Buy the Apple iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max and get the Dynamic Island and the new 48 MP camera sensor

The AirPods Pro 2 also comes with 2 times the ANC capabilities and allows you to control playback functions from the stem. Volume can be adjusted with a light swipe up or down on the earbuds. As for pricing, the second-generation AirPods Pro is priced at $249, the same price that the original model was priced at when it was first released on October 30th, 2019. You can also make six monthly payments of $41.50.

Even if you can use Adaptive Transparency on the original AirPods Pro, the improvements made might be enough to make it worth it to buy the new version of the AirPods Pro. Apple points out that “the earbuds deliver personalized Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking [that] tailors the listening experience by precisely placing sound elements in the space around you.”