When the iPhone 7 was revealed it didn’t have a headphone jack and to prove customers wouldn’t miss it, Apple introduced the AirPods – a pair of wire-free earphones.
The AirPods look just like Apple’s regular headphones but without any cables – not even a cable joining the two earpieces.
And they come in a magnetic case that not only stores them but keeps them charged.
You can hear your music, talk to Siri and also make and receive calls on the move.
Apple’s AirPods are now available for $229.
The AirPods like almost exactly like Apple’s regular wired earphones but minus the cables.
There are also some additional sensors that look like black dots in the middle of each earpiece.
These sensors detect when they are in and out of your ear. Taking them out stops your music and putting them back in resumes the song again.
At the base, instead of a cable is a silver edge which is where the case makes contact to the earpieces to recharge them.
Also at the base of each earpiece is a beam-forming microphone.
They fit comfortably and snugly in your ear. We took them for a run and they stayed in place nicely.
Funny enough what forces earphones out of your ear quite often is the cable which can catch on your clothing or when you turn your head.
That wasn’t an issue with the Apple AirPods.
Some have expressed concern they might lose an earpiece. If they do it won’t because they are loose fitting.
But Apple will sell single earpieces if you lose one for $99.
Apple’s AirPods have a new onboard W1 chip which is handy for a number of reasons.
First up, it makes pairing as easy as opening the case next to your iPhone where you will see a picture of the AirPods appear on the screen.
That also makes them accessible to your other Apple devices – the Apple Watch, MacBook and iMac.
And once paired they will automatically connect to your iPhone when you place them in your ear. You will hear a tone to say the connection has been established.
The W1 chip also produces a more efficient wireless connection, improves the sound and makes the battery last longer. But more about that later.
The case for the AirPods is a handy accessory to securely store the earpieces.
In fact, when you place them inside, a magnet sucks them all the way inside. It is typical of Apple’s sleek design.
And when their safely stowed they are also being charged.
There’s a Lightning port on the bottom of the case to charge its internal battery and pass that charge through to the AirPods.
When the case is fully charged, it will charge the AirPods on the go while they’re inside.
Opening the case near the iPhone, displays the charge levels of each of the earpieces and the case.
After you get over the surprise of the ease of set-up and pairing and the cool design of the AirPods, you’re in for another surprise – the high audio quality.
From these tiny earpieces, you’ll hear a really satisfying sound with excellent clarity and a nice touch of bass.
The maximum volume suited us but there will be some users who will want more volume. And if you like over-the-top bass levels, you’d need to look elsewhere.
For us, the AirPods produced a top-shelf sound that revealed the subtle nuances all the way to the crashing cymbals and beating drums without an unhealthy level of excessive volume.
MICROPHONE AND SIRI
The microphone aboard the AirPods was another exceptional feature with every caller we spoke to through the earpieces during calls all saying the same thing – “we thought you were talking directly into the iPhone”.
It reduces background noise so not only will you experience really clear calls but you can also talk to Siri in noisy environments.
Even in the middle of a busy shopping centre full of Christmas shoppers, I was able to ask Siri to turn up the volume, skip tracks, ask for directions and call people from my contact list.
A double tap on the outside of either earpiece activates Siri so you can easily navigate your music which negates the need for any kind of controls on the earpieces so they can stay small and sleek.
Our only gripe was that adjusting the earpieces in our ear would sometimes trigger Siri. But it didn’t happen often enough to be a real worry.
Battery life was about five hours for continuous listening which was reasonable when you consider how small the earpieces are.
But having the case with you means you can get a recharge on the go.
In fact, if you pop the AirPods back in the case and charge them for 15 minutes, you’ll get up to three hours of additional listening time.
And checking the battery is as simple as asking Siri or opening the case near the iPhone before you put them on.
Apple’s AirPods are competitively priced at $229. When the pricing was revealed there were some who though they were expensive.
But we did point out that Bluetooth earphones – with a cable between the earbuds were actually more expensive.
Plus, Apple has included the charging case so, in actual fact, the price is quite competitive.
The AirPods are an impressive new product featuring Apple’s typical design excellence and ease-of use.
They offer wire-free comfort and convenience as well as superb sound quality whether you’re listening to music or making a call.