Apple calls the company’s new AirPods, “Wireless. Effortless. Magical.” The select few who have already experienced the earbuds have a far different take on the pricey accessory. But don’t worry, there’s another way to experience AirPods technology without buying an actual pair of AirPods.
First introduced at the iPhone 7 event earlier this month, the $159 AirPods look ever bit like Apple’s standard issue Earbuds that ship with new iPhones. The AirPods are wireless, however, which makes them tempting especially for anyone who has purchased an audio jack-free iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus.
Also in AirPods’ favor: New technology allows the accessory to connect to Apple devices automatically. Plus, they can sense when they’re in your ears and pause when you take them out.
Unfortunately, the first AirPods reviews haven’t been great:
Engadget gets right to the point in its “quick verdict”:
The fact that they look like Q-tips sticking out of your ears is just the beginning: There are other reasons you might want to think twice about buying Apple’s wireless, weird-looking AirPods.
The oddest thing about the AirPods isn’t how they look; it’s that Apple’s evidently not all that concerned with how they sound.
Finally, Business Insider calls the AirPods a “mixed bag,” noting:
Overall though, the AirPods are another example that Apple is laying the groundwork for a future without wires and new methods of interacting with our gadgets. That’s more than enough to make the concept exciting.
Harsh words, no?
I’m not about to criticize a product that I haven’t seen in person. Nonetheless, I am going to explain some things that have been bothering me about the AirPods since Apple’s Sept. 7 announcement.
A big part of Apple’s iPhone 7 presentation was justification on why the company removed the headphone jack. Unfortunately, this was followed by Apple’s decision not to ship wireless earbuds with the new handset. Instead, iPhone 7 owners get another pair of wired EarPods to put in a drawer.
Regardless, I accepted Apple’s decision, given the strongly received AirPods introduction. My early take was that these earbuds were worth buying because of the AirPod’s custom-designed Apple W1 chip, which promises a “better connection,” “improved sound,” and five hours of battery life between charges.
(The AirPod design, which I found somewhat bizarre, meant less to me, given Apple’s promise of terrific sound and nice battery life.)
Based on the early AirPod reviews, it appears you should view this first-generation accessory with some caution. Thankfully, the Apple W1 chip isn’t exclusive to AirPods. The AirPods technology is also featured in three Beats products, the Beats Solo3 Wireless, Powerbeats3, and a lower-priced BeatsX line.
With the exception of the BeatsX line, these are established products. In other words, they might be the best way to experience AirPod technology without actually using a first generation device.
We’ll find out soon enough. We plan on reviewing AirPods and each of the new Beats audio products in the coming weeks. Each product is expected to launch in the coming weeks.
Are you planning on purchasing a product with AirPods technology? Which one? Let us know in the comments below.