Opening their doors this Wednesday morning, Apple Stores across the US will be stocking a new pair of wireless earphones named i.am+ Buttons, conceived by musician and part-time tech enthusiast Will.i.am. The full product name of the earphones is i.am+ Buttons and they will reportedly be offered in four colors, matching Apple’s black, silver, gold and rose gold iPhone range.
While the timing of the i.am+ launch could not have been more savory with the AirPods suffering heavy delays, it remains to be seen if will.i.am’s product will be able to capitalize on the door left wide open by Apple. Until now, most i.am+ products have largely been frowned upon for putting fashion center stage. They also come at a hefty $229 price point.
According to the i.am+ website, the earphones are going to deliver 6+ hours straight playing time, 6+ hours of talking and boast 120+ hours standby time. Charging takes place through micro USB. On paper, this does stack up ok compared to the AirPods and – if true – tops the active playing time of Apple’s product by about an hour. However, to put it in perspective, Apple have been subjected to wide criticism for pricing their brainchild at a comparatively sane $160.
Possibly as an attempt to forestall the heavy backlash in light of the astronomical price tag, i.am+ have teamed up with a host of celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Naomi Campbell to position the product as an upmarket cross of fashion item and cutting-edge gadget. You can find the i.am+ Buttons on Apple’s website, currently available in gold/black, and black.
Meanwhile Apple have not yet updated us on the release date of their own BeatsX earphones, a competing set of wireless in-ear buds. Unlike Buttons, BeatsX will boast a lightning port for charging, Apple’s W1 chip for longer battery life and sell at $149.