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Adaptive Transparency isn’t coming to original AirPods Pro after all

When the iOS 16.1 beta brought the AirPods Pro 2-exclusive Adaptive Transparency feature to the first-gen product, we were curious as to how it would work.

During the presentation last month Apple said the feature, which intelligently reacts to and dims the sound of sudden high decibel noises like sirens, was tied to the new H2 chip within the AirPods Pro 2.

The original AirPods Pro wireless earbuds run on the H1 chip. So it was a surprise when users noticed the availability within the AirPods section of the Settings app even for those on first-gen models, as well as the H1-based AirPods Max over-ear headphones.

Had Apple discovered some software wizardry to make this possible? Or was it a mistake, as we often see within the beta versions? Turns out it’s the latter, with a slight twist to the story.

The disappointing news comes from via the reliable Apple reporter Mark Gurman, who has been informed by his sources the feature won’t be coming to older AirPods.

“I’m told this is a bug,” Gurman wrote on Twitter. When asked for clarification from a Twitter user on what this meant, Gurman said “It [meaning Adaptive Transparency] is not meant to work”.

What’s a little strange though, is some users are anecdotally reporting the feature actually does work. That’s led to accusations Apple could actually enable this feature if it wanted to, but is simply choosing to market it as an exclusive feature for potential AirPods Pro 2 upgraders.

During the September event Apple explained the feature as follows: “Transparency mode makes it possible for listeners to stay connected to and aware of the world around them. Now, Adaptive Transparency takes this customer-loved feature even further.

“The powerful H2 chip enables on-device processing, which reduces loud environmental noise — like a passing vehicle siren, construction tools, or even loud speakers at a concert — for more comfortable everyday listening.”

Have you been able to access the feature with the iOS 16.1 beta? Does it work on your older AirPods Pro or AirPods Max? Have you bought AirPods Pro 2 yet? Let us know @trustedreviews on Twitter.

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