Apple Inc. on Tuesday announced the Beats Solo Pro, its first update to its mid-tier over-ear headphones in three years, adding noise-cancellation to a product it inherited through the acquisition of Beats Electronics back in 2014.
The new headphones add an aluminum frame for increased sturdiness, improved resistance to water, a new chip for quicker pairing to Apple devices, and more surface area around the speaker areas.
The most notable new addition is active noise cancellation, a feature that Apple is also working to add to future AirPods, Bloomberg News has reported. The feature on the new Beats can be activated with a switch. There are also still controls for volume and switching between songs on the right ear cup. Once designed for long-haul air travelers, this technology is becoming mainstream now.
One thing that will make the Solo Pro less appealing to frequent flyers, however, is the absence of an analog connector. Users will have to connect wirelessly over Bluetooth or purchase an accessory, as there’s no option to connect these with a classic 3.5mm plug.
Sport is the second most popular use case for the Beats Solo, so Apple made the latest iteration resistant to sweat and splashes with new gaskets and coverings. The headphones still collapse down as before, however now their opening and closing serves as the on-off switch as well. There’s one button to switch between active noise canceling, no noise canceling, and the transparency mode that lets you hear your surroundings.
The Beats headphones have popular due to celebrity endorsements, but sound performance has long been regarded as inferior to some rivals. The headphones are known for their high profit margins, which fits into Apple’s business model. Despite buying Beats, Apple has regularly updated its AirPods with new hardware and software features and has planned its own over-ear headphones.
Away from a charger, the Solo Pro will last 22 hours with noise cancellation turned on, or 40 hours without it.
The Beats Solo Pro go on sale Oct. 30 for $299, and the Beats Solo 3 will remain in Apple’s lineup for now at a reduced price of $199. They will come in black, gray, white, and limited addition navy, turquoise and orange.