Apple's New AirPods Pro Allow Volume Adjusting Right From the Stems

The second-gen wireless earbuds have touch swipe controls.

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Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
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Apple; screenshot by Sarah Lord/CNET

Apple unveiled its second-generation AirPods Pro at its "Far Out" event Wednesday, and they included one big new detail: controls for adjusting volume right on the AirPods themselves.

The touch swipe controls on the stems have been added to the previous pinch controls, Apple said Wednesday. The new AirPods Pro also offer an improved six-hour battery life -- up from four hours, plus the case can give you four more charges -- and a precision location feature with a speaker on the case.

The wireless headphones are powered by Apple's H2 chip, have improved sound and noise canceling and can be charged with the Apple Watch charger. The AirPods Pro 2 are priced at $249 (£249, AU$399) and will ship Sept. 23. Preorders for the AirPods Pro 2 start Sept. 9.

Apple also used the event to reveal its 2022 iPhone lineup: the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 PlusiPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The new iPhones have longer battery lifeimproved cameras and emergency SOS via satellite. The Pro models will be powered by the A16 Bionic chip, the company's highest performing smartphone processor yet, and they have the first iOS Always On display.

Apple is also moving fully toward virtual embedded SIM cards (or eSim), abandoning physical SIM cards altogether.

Beyond the AirPods Pro and iPhones, Apple announced the premium Apple Watch Ultra (designed for outdoor adventures), the Apple Watch Series 8 (the first model to come with a car crash detection featurea temperature sensor that enables new ovulation tracking features, and impressive battery life), and the cheaper Apple Watch SE.

The Cupertino, California, company's fall product launch event is always a major moment in the annual technology calendar. The iPhone remains a big seller, and it supports a tech ecosystem that includes services like iCloud and Apple Arcade and accessories such as AirPods and Apple Watches.