Apple-owned Beats by Dre has announced a new pair of headphones, the Solo Pro. These are Beats' first-ever on-ear (not over-ear) headphones to feature acoustic noise cancellation (ANC), which helps block out surrounding noise while listening to music. The headphones also feature a Transparency mode, which lets users hear some of the surrounding sound if they need to for any reason.
The headset features one beamforming microphone on each earcup to capture the user's voice and uses an accelerometer for improved speech recognition. This also helps users trigger the Hey Siri voice activation keyword more easily. The headset also has Apple's H1 chipset, so it supports audio sharing with other Apple H1 and Apple W1 devices, making it possible to watch videos or listen to music together with someone else.
To interact with the Solo Pro headset, the outer side of the right earcup is touch-sensitive, so you can play/pause music, answer calls, skip songs, and adjust the volume using touch. The left earcup only has a button that can toggle ANC and Transparency modes on the fly.
As for battery life, Apple says you can expect 22 hours of listening time with either ANC or Transparency modes enabled or 40 hours without using these features. It also supports fast charging via the included Lightning cable, which should offer up to three hours of listening time in 10 minutes of charging.
The Solo Pro will start shipping in the U.S. on October 30, and they cost $299.95. They're available in Black, Ivory, Gray, and three colors launched in partnership with artist Pharrell Williams as part of the More Matte Collection, which are Dark Blue, Light Blue, and Red.