With Apple having just released the second-gen AirPods, its Beats brand is following up with a more sporty, durable option: the PowerBeats Pro. Apple has now confirmed the wireless headphones will go on sale 10 May, with pre-orders starting 3 May.
This is a truly wireless version of Beats' extremely popular PowerBeats3 earbuds. The big difference, of course, is that the wire previously connecting the buds has been snipped. Like the new AirPods, they come with Apple's H1 chip, which means they're able to use "Hey Siri" functionality (should you have an iPhone). Also like AirPods, they'll work with Android but you'll easier setup and connectivity if you own an iPhone.
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Apple says there are speech-detecting accelerometers in each earbud, plus beam-forming microphones that'll isolate your voice from the background for better clarity. This is good for calls, but it'll also help out when you're trying to talk to Siri.
They're also sweat and water-resistant, which means you'll be able to work out with these no problem. This is what made the PowerBeats3 earbuds so popular among gym goers.
The PowerBeats Pro also come with Class 1 Bluetooth, which Apple says will reduce dropouts and allow for longer range and better cross-body performance. That means you'll be able to use the two earbuds together or just stick one in. Also like the AirPods, pulling them out of your ear will pause any music you're listening to.
Class 1 Bluetooth's longer range means you'll be able to leave your phone in the gym locker while you workout with the PowerBeats Pro in your ears. Apple said it went back and re-engineered the sound for PowerBeats Pro, upgrading the internals for lower distortion and greater dynamic range. The Verge had some hands-on time with them and found that they did, in fact, have good dynamic range and a wide sound stage. But yes, they still have a bass emphasis.
As for fit, Apple says it tried 20 different configurations in its testing. You'll get four different ear tip sizes and there's a redesigned, adjustable ear hook now that should provide a better fit. Both earbuds have volume rockers and you can push in the "b" button on either to change tracks or control calls.
Finally, there's an impressive 9 hours of battery life here - and the magnetic charging case provides 24 hours extra. Even better, it's got Beats' Fast Fuel tech, which means five minutes of charging will get you an 1.5 hours of playback, while 15 minutes of charging will get you 4.5 hours.
The PowerBeats Pro will come in four colors: black, forest green, white and navy blue. However, only the black will be available in the US and UK on May 10 for $249.95, while the other colors will follow in the summer, Apple tells us. Pre-orders on 10 May will start at 10am here.