Why AirPods Pro could become the wireless earbuds to beat

The AirPods Pro are here. Should all the other wireless earbuds be worried? Plus, iOS 13.2 arrives with a Deep Fusion camera update.

Lexy Savvides Principal Video Producer
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Expertise Wearables | Smartwatches | Mobile phones | Photography | Health tech | Assistive robotics Credentials
  • Webby Award honoree, 2x Gold Telly Award winner
Lexy Savvides
4 min read

The AirPods Pro went on sale this week and initial reviews are looking very favorable for the wireless earbuds. (Read our in-depth AirPods Pro review here.) We also take a look at the latest rumors around the long-awaited 16-inch MacBook Pro , and check in on the Mac Pro , which Apple is supposed to release this fall.

AirPods Pro have 3 big things that set them apart (even though they're tiny)

After months of rumors, the Apple AirPods Pro launched this week. At $249, they are $50 more expensive than the previous generation of AirPods bundled with a wireless charging case. But the new AirPods Pro have some features (many of which we anticipated) that set them apart from not only the previous AirPods but other wireless earbuds too. These include noise cancellation, a new in-ear design with interchangeable tips and water resistance.

Once you've put AirPods in your ears, the mics and algorithm work together to measure if the sound level matches what's coming from the speaker driver. This is to determine whether or not you have the right tip for the best seal in your ear.

On an iOS device, go to Settings > Bluetooth and tap the "i" icon next to AirPods Pro to run the ear tip fit test. 

Apple Airpods Pro

Everything that comes with the AirPods Pro.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The AirPods come with three tip sizes included, so this test should avoid you having to play a guessing game to find the best one, like you have to do with other wireless earbuds. Hopefully the ones included in the box will fit your ear, but if your ear canal is bigger or smaller, you'll have to find a third-party option.

Apple also improved the earbuds' sound quality. The original AirPods weren't exactly renowned for their audio fidelity, but the AirPods Pro will adapt the sound to the shape of your ear with the equalizer automatically tuning lows and mids to the best frequencies. Other wireless earbuds such as the Sony WF-1000XM3 offer a dedicated equalizer app that gives you a lot more control over how the buds sound. But for people who don't want to tweak the sound on their own (or don't know how) the AirPods Pro have an advantage.

Finally, one of the most underrated features by far is that they look a lot smaller in the ear and stick out less than the original AirPods. 

Read: Best AirPods accessories in 2019

Stay tuned for plenty of comparisons between the AirPods Pro and other wireless earbuds such as the Amazon Echo Buds and Sony WF-1000XM3, coming soon.

iOS 13.2 arrives with Deep Fusion

The latest iOS update is probably one you'll want to grab sooner rather than later if you have an iPhone 11 or 11 Pro . (Not just because you'll need it if you want to use the AirPods Pro.)

That's because owners of the iPhone 11 or 11 Pro now get Deep Fusion, Apple's new computational photography formula for capturing more detailed photos with less noise. 

You can read more about how Deep Fusion works in this piece by CNET editor Patrick Holland, check out our video about AirPods Pro and Deep Fusion or read our iPhone XR vs. iPhone 11 comparison.


You can see the benefits of Deep Fusion processing in the threads of this sweater.

Patrick Holland/CNET

To make sure Deep Fusion is active after you've downloaded iOS 13.2, go to Settings > Camera and make sure the "photos captured outside the frame" option is turned off. You'll only be able to see the results when using the wide or telephoto lens, not the ultrawide.

We also tested how the iPhone 11 Pro compares with the Pixel 4 in night mode.

Watch this: AirPods Pro and Deep Fusion are here

Where are the 16-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac Pro?

The other Apple announcement many were expecting this week was the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Rumors have pointed to a design with slimmer bezels and a new scissor switch keyboard as opposed to the current butterfly keyboard. 

An image found by 9to5Mac in the latest release version of MacOS shows an image of what we expect the touch bar and keyboard on the new MacBook Pro to look like, with a separate Touch ID key. This also might mean we get back a physical Escape key, rather than the software key that's on the touchbar of current models.

Let's not forget the Mac Pro, which is set to be announced this fall. An FCC approval, also spotted by 9to5Mac, shows that regulatory testing information has been publicly released, so we should expect the MacPro soon. (For those playing at home, technically this means that Apple still has until Dec. 21 to release the computer.)