October 30, 2019
Three years later, Apple released AirPods Pro, which packed active noise canceling and several other new features into an even smaller form factor. In 2020, Apple sold 110,000,000 AirPod products. Talk about mass manufacturing.
To deliver these upgrades, Apple completely redesigned the internals of the earbuds. The battery has moved from the stem to the head; the electronics cluster also stayed in the head. A very dense PCB simplifies the assembly by concentrating the electronics into a single component.
The Pro ditched the down-facing microphone in favor of two stem-based microphones. The microphones are substantially larger than the first-gen mics (3.4x2.4mm), but we wonder if voice pickup would have been better with the microphones pointed out of the bottom of the stems.
AirPods Pro introduced a new user interface affordance: squeezing the stem can pause music, change noise cancellation settings, or summon Siri. Force sensors are visible in the stem along with an antenna.
In addition to active noise canceling, AirPods Pro introduced Adaptive EQ and the ability to execute a fit check via the paired phone. A microphone hides directly in front of the speaker to hear what you hear.