Apple AirPods are wireless earbuds designed to work with more than just the iPhone. Find out everything you need to know about the Apple AirPods today in our review.
What Are Apple AirPods?
On September 7, 2016, Apple announced the new iPhone 7. The biggest news from the event was that Apple was getting rid of the headphone jack, making it impossible to charge your phone and listen to music at the same time.
Why is Apple making such a weird decision? Well, it’s because they want you to buy their $160 Apple AirPods. The AirPods are a set of wireless earbuds that look like ordinary Apple earbuds – just without wires dangling from them. The AirPods come in a sleek white case.
Apple initially made it seem like the AirPods would only work with Apple products. However, that’s only the case if you want to access the full range of features for the AirPods.
The AirPods will work best with iOS 10, WatchOS 3, and MacOS Sierra, although they’ll also work with most other software platforms.
In any case, the AirPods let you listen to music wirelessly and talk to Siri. At a price of $159, they’re not as expensive as you may think. If you look at the modern wireless earbud market, you’ll realize that $159 is about mid-range.
So are the AirPods worth the price tag? Or is this just another average tech product bundled in a sleek case? Let’s take a closer look at the features.
Apple AirPods Features
-Smart technology that senses when they’re in your ears and automatically pause when you take them out
-Works with iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, or Mac
-Connects to devices with Bluetooth (including non-Apple devices, although you’ll miss out on Siri features)
-One-tap setup process
-Lets you interact with Siri, saying things like “Call my brother”, “Turn up the volume”, or “How do I get to the mall?”
-Apple W1 chip inside to facilitate wireless communicate and improve sound quality
-5 hour battery life
-Charging case that provides additional charges for up to 24 hours of listening time (15 minutes in the case gives you 3 hours of additional listening time)
-Voice accelerometer that recognizes when you’re speaking and uses microphones (which point out from the bottom of the earbuds) to filter out external noise and focus on the sound of your voice
-There isn’t actually a battery sensor on the AirPods, so to check the battery life, you need to hold the AirPods next to your iPhone or ask Siri “How’s the battery on my AirPods”
-High-quality AAC audio
Downsides to the Apple AirPods
So far, the AirPods have been attracting mixed reviews online. A lot of people were excited to see Apple breaking into the wireless earbud market – and many of these people were disappointed with the final product.
Some of the biggest complaints about the AirPods are about the features they don’t have.
The AirPods don’t have touch controls or buttons, for example, which is something we see on a lot of other wireless earbuds (they often have controls directly on the bud that let you skip tracks, play or pause music, or perform other functions).
Some earbuds even let you just tap on the outside surface to take control.
Another complaint about the AirPods is that they don’t come with noise cancellation or audio pass-through, which is something we see on other earbuds in this price range (like the Here One or Dash).
The biggest complaint about the AirPods, however, is that they’re going to fall out of your ears and you’re going to lose them. That’s virtually a guarantee.
Apple has stuck with the same controversial earbud design that they’ve always used. The design is notoriously bad for staying in your ears.
And, unlike other companies, Apple doesn’t ship modifiers – like different tips or fins – that you can use to help the earbuds fit into your ears. It either fits or it doesn’t.
Normally, when an earbud falls out of your ear, it’s not a big deal because it’s attached to a wire. But when you’re paying $160 for a set of wireless earbuds, it’s easy to see why people are already worried about the earbuds.
I mean, you can imagine how hard it’s going to be to find your AirPod if you drop it in the snow?
Other people were not impressed by the battery life. With a maximum of 5 hours of battery life (according only to Apple), AirPods will need to frequently be recharged.
However, it’s important to note that the AirPods come with a charging case that lets you recharge the earbuds multiple times. Independent battery life tests have also not confirmed the “5 hour” battery life claim.
Apple AirPods Release Date
The Apple AirPods are scheduled for release in late October. Apple hasn’t given us a specific date yet.
The earbuds are available at a price of $159 USD.
Should You Buy the Apple AirPods?
Apple has made some controversial decisions with the iPhone 7. The most controversial decision is that the company is basically forcing people to use wireless audio technology.
Unless you want to use an adapter, you won’t be able to plug ordinary audio devices into your iPhone using the aux cord.
With the AirPods, Apple has brought a mid-range wireless earbud to the market. Although many have balked at the price, the $159 price tag on the AirPods is actually one of the most reasonable parts of the product considering other competitors charge up to $300.
Certain features – like the carrying case that charges your AirPods on the go – are undoubtedly cool. However, many people are annoyed that the AirPods don’t have their own set of controls.
Others are mad that Apple is using the same notoriously-bad earbud design, which frequently leads to earbuds falling out of your ears.
If none of these things bother you, then you may want to pick up a set of Apple AirPods for yourself when they go on sale next month at a price of $159 USD.