After what has seemed like years of stagnation in the wireless space, it now feels as if we’re moving at an accelerated pace. We now have Wi-Fi at acceptable speeds, mid-range connections for everything from keyboards to drones, and NFS technology for payments. Just now are we experiencing a truly wireless world we’ve been working toward for the better part of two decades. Apple’s new AirPods play into this new wireless world nicely.
The AirPods, introduced in September alongside the completely wireless iPhone 7, are finally here. Originally slated for a late October release, the AirPods reportedly saw a manufacturing set back, and were just released to the public last week. At the time of this writing, the AirPods are back-ordered for six weeks.
The AirPods come in a compact charging case, which itself is charged over a lightning cable. The process of connecting your AirPods to an Apple device couldn’t have been made any simpler. You open the case next to the device and a prompt is displayed on that device. Tap “connect” and then tap “done”. That’s it. It would seem that Apple has created their own layer of connection software atop the Bluetooth standard. Regardless of how Apple achieved this, this is how everything should be paired–it just works!
Once paired with one device, iCloud takes care of the rest. All of your devices signed into your iCloud account now have access to your AirPods. Simply select them from Control Center on iOS or via the menu bar on macOS. As simple as this process is, I have noticed a little bit of lag time between selecting your AirPods for playback and actually hearing sound. A minor inconvenience, but a noticeable one. This is especially apparent when switching between devices.
The sound that comes out of the AirPods, at least to my non-audiophile ears, is comparable, if not better than the sound that comes from standard EarPods. The connection to Siri with a double tap is great. The AirPods’ ability to detect if a earpiece is in your ear, and then direct audio accordingly, is impressive. Audio controls, such as forward, back, and volume are all controlled via Siri voice commands.
In regards to design, if you have trouble with Apple’s EarPods fitting your ears, one way or another, then you’ll have a similar problem with AirPods. I find the fit comfortable, others may want to look elsewhere for wireless headphones.
In summary, AirPods connect like a dream, sound decent enough, look kinda strange in your ear, and may or may not be solving a problem customers are facing. All of that said, they’re really nifty from a technical standpoint, and work just as advertised. Is the niftiness worth the $160 price tag? I say yes, but others who dislike Apple’s EarPods will certainly say no.
The Apple AirPods were purchased by me for review on Apple At The Core. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.