AirPods are some of Apple’s most successful products of all time. Though Apple doesn’t report sales figures, it has been estimated that sales of AirPods brought in revenue of $12 billion in 2020. That’s a Fortune 500 company on its own, and more revenue than Nvidia, AMD, Spotify, or Twitter. The middle child of the lineup is now the AirPods Pro, which sits between the standard AirPods and AirPods Max in price and performance.
Is this the right time to buy AirPods Pro, or will you be disappointed when a new model is released in just a few weeks? Here’s what we know, and what we recommend.
Updated 11/22/21: Some Black Friday deals are live (like $79 off at Amazon), and others are coming soon, so this is an excellent time to buy AirPods Pro. Check out AirPods deals here.
AirPods Pro: Pricing and specs
Last update: October 2019
Apple first released the AirPods Pro in October of 2019 at a price of $249. There have been no updated versions of the hardware, and no change in the price since then.
In our AirPods Pro review, we found them to be an exceptional product, with a better design and fit than the standard AirPods, slightly better sound quality, and excellent active noise cancellation. In iOS 14, Apple added Spatial Audio for supported video types, and then expanded the feature to Apple Music in iOS 14.6, though that is supported by all headphones, not just AirPods Pro.
While AirPods Pro have not dropped in price, they are frequently on sale for less than $200. AirPods Pro were hard to find at first, and back-ordered for weeks, but are readily available today.
AirPods Pro: Why you should buy
AirPods Pro are a big step up from regular AirPods. The shorter stems and rubberized tips produce a more comfortable fit, and create a better seal that improves sound quality (especially at the low end). The noise canceling is exceptional for such tiny earbuds, and the transparency mode is among the best you’ll find anywhere.
Many of iOS’s best AirPods features work only with AirPods Pro. Spatial Audio in Apple Music works on all headphones, but enabling the sound in video requires AirPods Pro or AirPods Max. With iOS 15, you’ll get expanded Find My support, along with Spatial Audio on Apple TV or M1-based Macs. Since they can now be found under $200 quite easily, it’s very easy to recommend them.
AirPods Pro: Why you should wait
The only reason not to get AirPods Pro right now would be if something truly better is right around the corner. The most recent rumors say that the AirPods Pro aren’t due for an update until 2022. Reports say the next-generation earbuds could be dramatically different, with a design that sits flush in the ear and brings new health and fitness features.
Then there’s the Beats Fit Pro, which are not technically AirPods, but they are made by Apple (which owns Beats) and have the H1 chip inside. They do literally everything the AirPods Pro do except wireless charging, and they sound better, fit better, and have longer battery life. We think most iPhone users would be happier with those than AirPods Pro.
Macworld recommends: BUY
We think if you want a pair of AirPods, the AirPods Pro are the best buy right now. The new 3rd-generation AirPods don’t have all the features of the AirPods Pro, like noise-cancellation. And with an anticipated price of $179, you’re not really paying much more to go ahead and get the AirPods Pro now.
AirPods Pro are pretty easy to find for less than $200. They’re almost always going to cost you $249 from the Apple Store, but you can find them on sale all the time from places like Amazon and Best Buy.
I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life – over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.