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Apple AirPods Pro, AirPods Max headphones get Find My upgrade

Lost high-end AirPods will work more like AirTags, while another new feature promises to improve face-to-face conversations.

Lexy Savvides/CNET
This story is part of WWDC 2021. All the latest coverage from Apple's annual developers conference.

Apple has announced new features coming to its high-end earbuds and headphones, including Conversation Boost and improved tracking via the Find My network. The company revealed the new features during its annual WWDC keynote

AirPods Pro and AirPods Max users will soon be able to locate their earbuds or headphones more accurately using the Find My network, just like locating objects with the recently announced AirTags. The AirPods Pro and Max now send out a secure Bluetooth beacon that can be detected by other Apple devices. The new proximity view in the Find My app lets you know when you're getting close, and you can choose the Play Sound option, which makes the devices emit a chirping noise. You can also set up a separation alert to notify you if you leave your AirPods behind. 

The company didn't announce additional functionality for its less expensive standard AirPods. Those earbuds will continue to work with the Find My network, however.

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Conversation Boost, another new feature, is "designed to help people with mild hearing challenges to stay more connected in conversations" by using spatial audio to focus on the person talking in front of you. "Computational audio and beamforming microphones" help position the speaker in face-to-face conversation, and the feature can also reduce the amount of ambient noise. 

The company also introduced spatial audio on its Apple Music service, as well as adding it to FaceTime calls.

Another new feature, called Announce Notifications, will let Apple's Siri voice assistant read time-sensitive notifications over AirPods connected to Apple devices. Apple cited as examples notifying you of a dinner delivery or supplying a shopping list.

Apple's virtual WWDC event runs through Friday.