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AirPods Pro update adds head-nodding gesture to silently respond to Siri

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At WWDC 2024, Apple revealed a few key updates coming to AirPods this year. First, the company is adding new head-nodding gestures called Siri Interactions on AirPods Pro that allow you to respond in crowded places where you’d rather not speak. You’ll be able to nod affirmatively to silently say “yes” or shake your head for “no” and the voice assistant will react accordingly. In a demo, Apple showed a man in a crowded elevator shaking his head to tell Siri he didn’t want to take a call from “Gam Gam.” Siri Interactions aren’t just for calls though. You’ll also be able to interact with messages, manage notifications and more without uttering a sound.

Apple explained that it will also improve Voice Isolation on the AirPods Pro this year. As you might expect, this should improve how the earbuds pick up your voice in noisy places. During a demo, a person on a call during their commute passing a loud construction site remained clear on the other end. Apple says this update brings the “game-changing” Voice Isolation from Mac, iPhone and iPad to AirPods Pro.

Both Siri Interactions and Voice Isolation are powered by the Apple H2 chip that’s inside the second-gen AirPods Pro. Rumors have speculated that the component will make its way to other AirPod models this year, but for now, the Pro version is the only option for the advanced earbud features that the company has developed. Those include Adaptive Audio, Personalized Volume and Conversation Awareness.

Lastly, Personalized Spatial Audio is expanding to gaming. Available on AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, Personalized Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking will deliver the immersive sound that has previously been available for TV shows, movies and music. Apple says you can expect 16-bit, 48kHz voice performance for chatting during gaming sessions on the AirPods Pro, in addition to “the best wireless audio latency Apple has ever delivered” for playing on mobile devices with that AirPods model.

All of these new AirPods features will likely arrive this fall alongside iOS 18.

Catch up here for all the news out of Apple’s WWDC 2024.

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