AirPods Pro head gestures announced at WWDC 2024 — here’s your first look

 WWDC 2024.
WWDC 2024.

Apple AirPods Pro are set to get a handful of helpful new features in their next update — one that will greatly improve call quality to make it easier to hear someone who's either someplace windy or somewhere with lots of background noise, and another that will let you respond to texts and calls by nodding or shaking your head.

The first of these features Apple calls the feature Voice Isolation, and it uses machine learning running on the H2 chip in AirPods Pro or AirPods Pro 2 and the paired iPhone, iPad, or Mac. According to Apple, Voice Isolation "isolates and enhances voice quality while removing significant background noise — like wind around the caller — for the listener."

The feature will be available via update in the fall, but could potentially appear in a developer update before then.

While background noise reduction gets rid of pesky ambient sound plaguing your phone calls, Apple also wants to reduce the awkwardness of responding to texts in crowded spaces using a second feature called Siri Interactions.

The latter feature, also unveiled today, allows users to either nod or shake their heads to quickly respond "yes" or "no" to Siri.

In the scenario presented on-stage at Apple's WWDC 2024 keynote, a video of a man in a crowded elevator was asked by Siri if he wanted to answer an incoming phone call. Instead of verbalizing the answer, he simply shook his head and the call was declined.

To recognize these subtle head gestures, Apple says it's again using machine learning and the H2 chip found on the AirPods Pro 2.

There's also a gift for gamers in the update

While it's not as widely applicable as Voice Isolation, Apple also announced that AirPods Pro will soon offer spatial audio with head tracking support for games.

In its WWDC 2024 keynote, Apple says the first game to get the feature is Need For Speed No Limits and it will be compatible with AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max.

In addition to the spatial audio support, gamers who use voice chat will also see a boost in audio quality: Apple says AirPods Pro 2 will offer 16-bit, 48kHz audio when chatting in-game with other players.

In short, if you plan on walking around town while playing games like Genshin Impact with your friends, call and voice quality are going to sound a lot better after this new update hits later this year.