Wait until you hear what they didn’t announce

Update June 25 below. This post was first published on June 24, 2020.

This year’s WWDC is still underway, but Monday’s keynote was packed with announcements. AirPods and AirPods Pro took up a bit of screen time, but there were far more updates to existing hardware than there was time for the event, so many more details were revealed behind closed doors later. Here’s everything you need to know, from the headline acts to some super cool shows.

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June 25 update: In the last 48 hours, Apple has released a firmware update for AirPods Pro. Some have said this is an early release of the new features. It is not, but it is related.

As always, users can’t force AirPods Pro firmware update. It will do it on its own, thanks a lot. To know what firmware you have on your AirPods Pro, you need a companion device like an iPhone. Go to Settings, General, About and then choose AirPods Pro. Your AirPods Pro must be connected to iPhone. The firmware number, up to this one, was 2D15 and the new version is 2D27.

So this doesn’t offer Spatial Audio or any of the other notable iOS 14 updates below, at least not yet and not beyond the developers. But it’s still probably related to that.

To be clear, I understand that consumers will have to wait until fall for these new features. But Apple has said that a Motion API will be available in an upcoming iOS 14 developer seed, so developers can get started on it, to maximize the benefits of new audio capabilities. As such, this firmware update is probably a prerequisite before the move API arrives for developers later. I think another firmware update will happen in the fall too.

In the meantime, while features like continual switching between more devices will come later, we can all benefit, because this firmware doesn’t require your iPhone to have the beta version installed by the developers of iOS 14. It wouldn’t be surprising if Apple had taken the opportunity. to also adjust the audio quality in AirPods Pro, and in fact some users are already reporting it.

While some previous updates have led some to claim a drop in noise cancellation quality, there are already comments about Reddit from people who say this firmware update has significantly improved things.

I’ve been listening to myself and haven’t found any big changes, but of course the ultimate proof of noise cancellation, the noise from the jet engine of a 747, isn’t readily available to me right now! I will continue to listen and report.

Meanwhile, these are the most important new features that have been revealed.

AirPods and AirPods Pro without interruptions

This is a good advance. Currently, there is no system to pair headphones with another device that is as simple as AirPods. Open the battery case near your iPhone and you’re done. With the next update for AirPods and AirPods Pro, which will happen in the background this fall when iOS updates, you’ll be able to seamlessly switch between different devices. It’s already easy between iPhone and Apple Watch, but when you want to move between two other Apple devices, you need to go to Settings for the second device to take possession. Mind you, that is still smoother than most non-Apple devices.

With the next update, when you stop listening to a podcast and start watching a movie on your iPad, AirPods or AirPods Pro will know and change accordingly.

Space Audio AirPods Pro

Surround sound effects are common when you are watching a movie on television. But it’s hard to get the feeling that sounds are coming from behind, from ahead, or even from above when you’re only listening to headphones. Spatial Audio comes for AirPods Pro, not regular AirPods, which will give you that surround sound effect. Uses AirPods Pro accelerometers and gyros …

Hope for?

Did you know there were gyroscopes on the AirPods Pro? Me neither, and this will be the first time they have been used. Literally only Apple would build hardware because they knew it would add a whole new software feature later. We are used to software updates that make things more elegant than before, but this takes things to another level.

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It will mean that when you shake your head while watching the movie, the audio will move with you, so the hero’s dramatic speech will still seem to come from your lips and not to the side.

This will work with audio content encoded in 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos. An API will be released soon so stereo audio can benefit as well.

AirPods and AirPods Pro Headphone Adapters

With this feature, with its nice and pleasant name, you can adjust the audio of the AirPods to suit your individual hearing. It works to amplify soft sounds and tune them to your ears. Go to Settings and Accessibility, and in Audio / Video you can choose custom audio settings that will help you listen to some different audio clips. You choose the one that sounds best to you.

There are three different application settings, and each has three different strengths. This works with second generation AirPods and AirPods Pro, Powerbeats Pro, Beats Solo Pro and even the corded Apple EarPods that ship with every iPhone.

Transparency mode of AirPods Pro headphone adaptations

If you are using AirPods Pro, the headphone setting supports transparency mode. This makes the quieter voices more audible by tuning the sound to your surroundings and listening needs. I can’t say how much I look forward to this as a way of listening to someone across a noisy table instead of just smiling and nodding all night and hoping for the best.

Or at least I accidentally don’t agree to wear a puffy shirt on national television like Seinfeld did. Anyway, this could solve all of that.

AirPods and AirPods Pro Audio shared with Apple TV

You can now share your audio with someone else through your headphones, if that music comes through iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Soon, that will apply to Apple TV 4K. Each person listens through their own headphones and each has their own volume control. This will work with all versions of AirPods and AirPods Pro, plus Beats headphones with the W1 or H1 chip.

All of these new features arrive this fall. I can not wait

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