AirBuddy brings proper AirPods support to the Mac

If you’ve ever used Apple’s AirPods with your iPhone or iPad before, then you already know about the seamless pairing experience that's made possible by the Apple-exclusive W1 chip. Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t polished this experience on macOS just yet, and the AirPods experience on the Mac feels the same as any other Bluetooth-enabled device.

To say Apple left Mac users hanging in this respect would be an understatement, but third-party app developers have taken notice of this macOS-centric niche and now appear to be coming to our rescue.

Following delay, Apple’s W1-equipped BeatsX are now available for purchase

Following an extended delay, Apple's BeatsX earphones are now available for purchase from Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and other retailers. The $150 earphones file as Apple's most affordable audio product powered by the in-house designed W1 wireless chip, also found in the $160 AirPods, $200 PowerBeats3 and $300 Beats Solo3 headphones. The W1 chip enables seamless iCloud pairing with Apple devices and reliable wireless audio connection. BeatsX also work on non-Apple hardware as standard Bluetooth headsets.

The earbuds sport 8-hour battery life and come with a Siri-compatible RemoteTalk with built-in playback controls that let you control your music without using Siri.

Which W1 chip-equipped audio device should you get?

Because Apple nixed the 3.5mm headphone jack from the bottom of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, you either have to use the supplied Lightning dongle for backwards compatibility with your 3.5mm audio accessories, or you have to kick it up to the new age with a pair of wireless or Lightning-enabled audio devices instead.

When you don’t want to be bothered with the issue of charging your device at the same time you're listening to audio with headphones or earbuds in, the obvious choice is to go wireless. While there are tons of options, only a few come with Apple’s brand new W1 chip, which supports the slick new Bluetooth pairing process. Among those are AirPods, Beats Solo3, and Powerbeats3.

If you’re in a predicament and can’t decide between the three then you should find this piece helpful, because I'll be comparing the strengths and weaknesses of each from a variety of angles.

Apple shares new AirPods ads showcasing Siri, seamless Bluetooth pairing & more

Male headshot showing a profile of a young person wearing an AirPod in their left ear

Apple on Saturday shared four brief television commercials for AirPods on its official YouTube channel, running fifteen seconds long each. The videos showcase some of the key user features of the wireless earphones, like accessing Siri with a double-tap and seamless Bluetooth pairing on Apple gear made possible by the firm's in-house designed wireless chip, dubbed the W1. Watch the new ads and let us know how you like them in comments.

In addition to the company's first-ever AirPods ads, they also released a new fitness-focused Apple Watch advertisement which challenges you to close those Activity rings.

New AirPods patent reveals exactly how seamless Bluetooth pairing method functions

A new patent application for “Wireless audio output devices,” published Thursday by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), describes exactly how Apple's new W1 chip inside AirPods enables zero-configuration Bluetooth pairing. In a nutshell, the charging case that comes with AirPods doubles as a physical pairing interface.

Aside from a built-in battery, the case features its own microprocessor and communications stack, a motion-detecting lid for starting the seamless pairing process with an Apple device and a physical button for manual Bluetooth pairing with non-Apple hardware, like Android handsets.

Testing the operating range of AirPods and Beats Solo3 vs non-W1 Beats headphones

Much has been said about the virtues of the W1 chip Apple started baking into their latest wireless Beats line-up and of course the AirPods. By now we know for sure that W1 facilitates a much faster pairing process, as do we know that the chip significantly amplifies both battery life and conservation techniques. What’s less prominently talked about - at least from official sides - is the operating range of these wireless headphones and the presumed effect the W1 chip addition has had on that benchmark.

For I felt information on the internet was just a bit too murky to count on, I decided to take it upon myself and conduct a little experiment: I packed my rucksack with four headphones (two of which boast the new W1 chip) and headed to a nearby park in order to pit them against each other. Pairing them one after another and then slowly making a bee-line for the opposite direction, one thing quickly became clear: the results for the maximum distance obtainable aren’t surprising in terms of order, but they definitely are in their clarity.

How to use your Apple AirPods like a pro

So you've treated yourself to a nice pair of AirPods, Apple's Bluetooth earbuds based on custom silicon that enables low power consumption, reliable connections, automatic pairing, Hey Siri and other perks. To master them, follow our tutorial showing you how to use your AirPods like a pro.

AirPods now available to buy from Apple.com

Following an unexpected delay over manufacturing issues, AirPods are now finally available to purchase from Apple's online store, with delivery before Christmas. Apple's first Bluetooth earphones, AirPods feature an in-house designed wireless chip, dubbed W1, which provides reliable wireless connection, extended battery life and a few smart features, such as one-tap Siri integration, seamless zero-configuration pairing via iCloud, the ability for AirPods to automatically turn on when you put them in your ear and more. When used with non-Apple devices, the $159 earphones act as any standard Bluetooth device.