Apple’s most expensive AirPods miss out on Adaptive Audio, ‘Siri’ command, and more

For AirPods users, Apple announced a notable new feature at WWDC this week called Adaptive Audio. This feature is an expansion of Adaptive Transparency mode, blending Transparency and Active Noise Cancellation together.

Adaptive Audio, however, is only available with the second-generation AirPods Pro… along with a number of other new AirPods features.

Here’s how Apple explains this new feature:

With an entirely new listening mode for AirPods Pro (2nd generation), Adaptive Audio dynamically blends Transparency and Active Noise Cancellation to tailor the noise control experience as you move between changing environments and interactions throughout the day.

The limitation also applies to Personalized Volume and Conversation Awareness:

Personalized Volume uses machine learning to fine-tune your media experience based on your preferences over time and the environment around you. If you begin speaking to someone nearby, Conversation Awareness automatically lowers any media volume, reduces background noise, and enhances the voices in front of you.

The limitation isn’t surprising given that Adaptive Transparency is also not available on AirPods. Still, it’s another missing feature for users of Apple’s most expensive AirPods – which haven’t seen a price drop since their original release (with the exception of sales on Amazon).

As my colleague Filipe Espósito also pointed out yesterday, the new “Siri” command is also exclusive to second-generation AirPods Pro. The same also applies to the new Faster Automatic Switching upgrade.

For context, AirPods Max are powered by two H1 chips, with one located in either ear cup. AirPods Pro 2 feature a next-generation H2 chip inside. Unsurprisingly, H1 + H1 does not equal H2.

In the long run, I’m hopeful that Apple is working on second-generation AirPods Max that can take advantage of these new features. After all, AirPods Max are just about two and a half years old at this point. There have been rumors of a new version being in the works, but nothing concrete as of right now.

There are a handful of other features that AirPods Max users hope to see in a second-generation, including things like lossless playback, a new carrying case, new color choices, and improved battery life.

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