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Apple Adds Adaptive Audio to AirPods for Smarter Conversation Awareness

A new software update in Fall 2023 will include a mode to seamlessly tailor the noise control experience while users move between environments and interactions

Yesterday, at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple announced Adaptive Audio for AirPods, a new mode that dynamically blends Transparency mode and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) together based on the conditions of a user’s environment to deliver the best listening experience at that moment. The new feature should hit the market in Fall 2023.

Apple Airpods Pro 2 1200x675

Apple AirPods Pro 2.

Apple has introduced several features during the past several WWDCs that have transformed Airpods into powerful listening devices, and HearingTracker has published articles and videos about how you can use AirPods Pro 2 as effective, albeit situational, hearing aids. At the 2021 WWDC, Apple launched Conversation Boost, which provided improved hearing for speech in background noise via beamforming directionality, which is more commonly used by traditional medical-model hearing aids. And last year, Apple announced that AirPods Pro 2 would offer better sound quality, more battery power, and noise cancellation for very loud sounds like sirens.

At yesterday’s WWDC, the company says software updates to AirPods this fall will allow AirPods Pro 2 to become easier to use across multiple environments and in personal interactions. It has made phone calls and automatic switching more seamless across all its devices.

The three new major features being employed in AirPods Pro 2 are:

  • Adaptive Audio is a new mode that dynamically blends Transparency mode and ANC together based on the conditions of a user’s environment to deliver the best listening experience. This new listening mode is designed to tailor the noise control experience while users move between constantly changing environments and social interactions.
  • Personalized Volume uses machine learning to understand environmental conditions and listening preferences over time to fine-tune the media experience automatically.
  • Conversation Awareness lowers the volume when the AirPods detect that you’re speaking, enhancing the voices in front of you while reducing background noise.

Additionally, a new Mute or Unmute feature across most AirPods models also allows you to press the stem—or the Digital Crown on AirPods Max—to mute or unmute themselves quickly, so multitasking is effortless.

Apple also says it has improved automatic switching between devices to work faster and more reliably when using AirPods.

You can view the information about the audio enhancements to AirPods Pro 2 on the WWDC 2023 keynote (scroll to 57:00 minutes).

Karl

Editor in Chief

Karl Strom is the editor-in-chief of HearingTracker. He was a founding editor of The Hearing Review and has covered the hearing aid industry for over 30 years.