There has been a lot of takes on Apple’s new wireless headphones, the AirPods. Some people brush them off as just expensive and unnecessary. Others insist you’re going to lose them instantly. However, after Apple’s keynote, the AirPods may be what I am looking forward to most.
To start, I’m not the average person. I test out gadgets for a living, so I already have multiple pairs of Bluetooth headphones. And while I love the cordless freedom Bluetooth affords, pairing can be a nightmare. Sometimes they don’t actually go into pairing mode. Other times, I have to go the other device they are paired with, remove it, then try to re-add to my new device. When I could be listening to something on my iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, or Mac at any time, this is immensely frustrating.
Til now, there has not been a good way to actually use multiple devices like this. I specifically have different Bluetooth headphones for different devices so I don’t have to go through the process of pairing them each time. I use some over-the-ear headphones on my Mac whilst I am working, and Bragi buds when I am on my phone.
AirPods fix this giant issue. Once you open the case and pair them with your iPhone with a single tap, iCloud shares that Bluetooth profile with all your devices. There is no disconnecting, and re-pairing process. If I am walking around listening on my iPhone, I get to work and want to switch to my Mac, I simply go up to the audio selector in the menu bar and select my AirPods, and I’ve switched my audio from one to the other. That easy. I can then easily switch to my iPad when I get home, and to my Apple Watch when I want to exercise on my bike.
AirPods aren’t for everyone. The fit still isn’t universal, but that is the case for any pair of earbuds or headphones. It does seem though, again based on early hands-on reports, that they do stay in your ear quite a bit better than EarPods ever did. The “you’re going to lose them” argument also seems silly. Why did no one say that about the Dash? Or Earin? Or the Jabra Elite Sport?
Luckily, what I thought was my biggest issue with AirPods (I even said so in the video), is not an issue. That is the ability to listen to one EarPod by itself. Audio quality is also something to consider. But most people aren’t audiophiles and are perfectly fine with the beats put out by EarPods, however shallow it may sound. From early reports, It looks like AirPods may be slightly better which should do just fine.
The big advantage, as it often is for Apple, is the fact no one else can do this. They have the merger of software and hardware and no other company can create that slide up card on the iPhone when you go to pair them. Or use iCloud to share the profile. Which means if you want AirPods biggest benefit, you have to choose them over any of the competition. Or one of the other Beats products with a W1 chip inside.
I love my new iPhone 7, and my shiny new Apple Watch. But how easily the AirPods can fix a problem that has plagued me since I switched to Bluetooth headphones makes them the most exciting thing, for me, from Apple’s iPhone announcement.
We will see the new AirPods start shipping at the end of October, hopefully alongside a new MacBook Pro refresh.
Let me know your thoughts (nicely!) down in the comments below. Are you going to be picking up a pair? Or are you going to stick to your existing wired headphones? Or can you forgive the Bluetooth issues for better quality sound or fit?