Apple AirPods: the much-needed evolution of wireless headphones!


Apple has listed three reasons as to why it had the courage to get rid of the headphone jack — it needed more room for cool tech inside the iPhone 7, it was confident that it can deliver quality audio over the Lightning port, and it wanted to improve, instead of avoid, wireless audio. Audiophiles and melomaniacs will tell you that audio over Bluetooth doesn't really sound amazing, but Apple wanted to challenge its limitations. "Your device is mobile, yet you need to tether yourself to it with wires", the company said.

The result of this new endeavor is the first generation of wireless headphones made by the Cupertino company. They are called Apple AirPods and are capable of doing a plethora of neat tricks thanks to smart design choices, a rich assortment of sensors, and a special W1 chip inside them.

They look like the well-known EarPods minus the, you know, wires. Each AirPod has a long shaft sticking out of it, pointed towards the user's mouth. This houses a directional microphone for hands-free Siri interaction and phone calls. “But there are no buttons on the AirPods — how do you answer calls or activate Siri?” you might ask. Just by tapping them – the accelerometers inside can read tap gestures and will have you talking in a jiffy, without having to even take the phone out of your pocket. A special accelerometer in each AirPod detects vibrations from your voice, which activates the microphones for a focused sound, which filters out external noise. Proximity sensors have also been fitted on board to detect when the AirPods are inside the user's ears — that's how you “turn them on”.

The W1 chip is what takes care of the sound quality, the coordination between the sensors in each headphone, the collaboration between both AirPods in the set, and the connection to the iOS device in use. It's a very tiny, very energy-efficient chip, and we can't wait to hear how it does in a real-life test. The AirPods connect to your iOS mobile device, Apple Watch, or Mac PC via a simple, one-step process. Furthermore, they are then able to detect which device you are trying to listen to music from and will seamlessly switch between all your paired Apple products.

Battery life is said to be around 5 hours of playback on a single charge. The good news is that the AirPods come with their own battery case, which is extremely compact, yet manages to enhance listening time to up to 24 hours.

And, finally, expect the AirPods to hit the Apple Store shelves in late October, with a price-tag of $160. Interested?

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68 Comments

1. arsenaljimenez

Posts: 198; Member since: May 03, 2012

Hahaha wtf is that?

14. arsenaljimenez

Posts: 198; Member since: May 03, 2012

Innovation at It's best. Apple engineer: Alright guys we need to get some bluetooth headphones. Anybody have any ideas? *Grabs a pair of scissors lol

23. Bm888

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

I may not know about the sound quality yet.. I may not be an iBoy but tbh.. this is some real good idealization* lemme save the word *innovation for now.. and if turns out to be successful in user reviews.. trust me.. other Oems will switch in 2017

29. sgodsell

Posts: 7206; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Look at the world before making stupid comments like that. There is already a number of wireless ear buds that already do more than what Apple has introduced. You can get some that will hold and play music, as well they are fitness trackers. So next time look at what's out their. Well unless you are a paid Apple shill.

31. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

All wireless earbud i saw thats are this small have like 2 hours battery life. so 5 hours and ability to recharge on the go with the case itself is amazing. just try to call me a paid Apple shill you troll i deeply hate the business model of Apple and find iPhone to be terribly overpriced ( those earpod are a bit overpriced as well ) but i am able to say when they do good thing.

35. arsenaljimenez

Posts: 198; Member since: May 03, 2012

You must not have seen many

39. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Load of them from the Samsung one to the best in class before apple came out with those new one ( Earin ) Some have longer battery life but they are MUCH bigger.

41. Bm888

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

Next time you need to read between lines... I meant Oems of course mostly android will adopt the wireless earpods and go away with earphones jack in 2017.. if Apple's turn to be a success.. I didn't mean apple is the only one with the tech.. and sth more I love the apples way of user implemention than any other out there.. so just for the fact that you blindly hate apple without reason is not my doing... I also ain't an iBoy but I reason..

45. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

got to agree there. i hate Apple but i can still see how good those look ( at least on spec sheet ) I am just tired of blind fanboy or hater thats cant even try to reason. +1 BM888

58. Bm888

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

sure ,Marorun, blind fanboyism shows some kind of *immaturity in product evaluation... you gotta give due where it is deserved...

61. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Really? Because Samsung still makes the thinnest phone with a headphone jack, and larger battery and they still made wireless earbuds that fit in your ear. Oh and they wont fall out, even when you hang upside down. Try that with Apple's solution and good luck. Oh I want to see what else they can so. Because right now on my Icon X just to compare, I can stream music from my Phone or Gear Watch, or store my music on the pods themselves. It has a sensors that turns them on when I put them in my ear. They also have a heart rate monitor which will sync with S-Heath once connected to my phone or watch. I skip music and raise the volume or pause and answer calls with a touch. They dont hang out my ears. Apple looks liek they took the old headphones and just cut the cord. The downside to these is they will fall out. All cheap earbuds do and Apple isn't the only OEM that makes them. Samsung headphones that comes with their phone suck too physically, but they do sound better. Oh and Samsung headphones work equally the same on IOS devices as with Samsung/Android devices. With Apple, if I use them on a Android phone from any brand, the only control that works is mute. LAME. So far frm my experience, I got roughly 2hrs of usage from a single charge streaming music from the phone, close to 3.5 hrs with the music stored on the buds. The quality is as good as any headphones i've used from even Bose. They are well balanced. Even though they have deep bass, its not that annoying Beats Audio vibrations causing bass. Its just a nice deep sound that is clear and doesn't pop. I have a pair BOSE Sports where everything is fine tuned except the bass sucks. Its not low enough.

73. FriendlyFoe09

Posts: 82; Member since: Jan 09, 2012

Yeah wireless ear buds aren't new. But apple has tried to address the design issues with going wireless. I think they have designed these well. Easy to use and unobtrusive, no confusing buttons and one step connection. Just pop them in you ear... Unlike Samsung and LGs offering where you have to wear a neck ornament. And you charge them just by storing them in their case. Now the sound quality is a completely different issue.

56. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

I've been anticipating these since April. And for $160 I can definitely get with those. Didn't read the article but hopefully they're compatible with non-Apple devices.

69. chebner

Posts: 249; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

You should read the article then. Proprietary. That shouldn't surprise. The Apple motto... Why adopt an industry standard when you can use your clout to force others to pay license fees if they want to be compatible with Apple?

74. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

What exactly will other OEMs switch in 2017 if the earpods are successful? you aren't implying they will axe the headphone jack just because Apple and Moto did are you? That would be stupid of them, especially those like Samsung and HTC that ship High-quality ear buds with their decies. Apple obviously couldn't give a damn about the headphone jack because their earbuds that ship with the iPhone are God Awful! This is just yet another Apple money making scheme. Tim be like quick how can we make more money, the dumbest guy in the room says "ummmm remove the headphone jack, then charge a s**t tone for what we will call innovative proprietary wireless aripods" my god man that's genius someone get me a pair of scissors.

72. FriendlyFoe09

Posts: 82; Member since: Jan 09, 2012

The people who laugh at this probably own an Android. Wait till the next generation of phones from you favourite OEM will hop on board with this trend. Pretty much every Android released in the past 2 years all borrow design cues from the Iphone 6. All of you Android fanse all charge your Samsungs with white cables and wall chargers.

2. Martineverest

Posts: 521; Member since: Oct 27, 2015

innovation?????....smdh for iarena.com

13. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

I am easy what many consider as apple hater. But for me this is finally some real innovation. 5 hours music playback with such small wireless earpod is amazing and to be able to charge them on the go using the casing is really nice. the price is a bit high but thats Apple always overpricing thing. to be truthfull i am tired of biased ppl say the truth even if you dont like a company dont be a mindless troll.

17. arsenaljimenez

Posts: 198; Member since: May 03, 2012

This has been out with quite a few other products. Look up Earin. That's real innovation.

33. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Those are about the best ( earin ) i saw on the market as well. But only 3 hours playback vs 5 hours thats a big difference. Also the case thats recharge it can only recharge them for up to two more full charge. So total is like 9 hours vs more than 24 hours for the apple one. Also the price is like 250$ vs 160 for apple one. So sorry not impressed. I can easily listen to 4-8 hours of music a day. Know what is really sad? i am pretty sure those apple wireless one wont work on android and i will never get an iPhone ( unless its run android wich wont happen lol ) So in the end its innovation but the goal is to lock ppl even more in apple ecosystem in wich everything is overpriced...

57. arsenaljimenez

Posts: 198; Member since: May 03, 2012

You gotta consider the size and the actual design tho. You honestly can't tell me they took their time with this design They're the earpods without the cable Earins are literally only the earbud part

37. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

ermm..not to be that guy but the Gear IconX has similar battery life and can also be charged on the go with it's own wireless charging casing,and that's not even the best example of wireless earpods.

40. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Gear iconX has 1 to 3 hours max battery life. Casing old like 1/3 of the battery life of the one from Apple. So nope not similar at all. If you use the iconX as a fitness tracker and play music on it using the onboard 4 gb you will get about 1 hours of battery life.

44. maherk

Posts: 6770; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Itis rated at 3hrs of usage when used in standalone mode.

46. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

rated 3 hrs but in reality its 1 to 3 hours max. Apple one are rated 5 hours so even if end result is lower its should still be higher. Still we need to see review for quality ect. not thats its matter as i wont be getting them as i dont use iPhone.

51. maherk

Posts: 6770; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I loved the in reality part aka my own hypothetical result. And the best part you're taking Apple's word on the battery life issue but not Samsung's? Unless you tested both, stop rambling about the same point and flooding the comment section with the same comment.

64. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

They are rated up to 3 hours on a single charge. But they also possess higher quality speakers vs the Apple ones. The case charges them 2 times, so roughly you can get 9 hours, considering you lose an hour for the recharge. The ICon X has its own storage, so you don't have to take a phone. This I would assume uses more power, since you have to power an extra chip. But that is a benefit when I ride, I can leave my phone. I got over 3 hours on a bike ride, with the bass low and the volume at a medium level. The Icon also have heart rate and data tracking, which syncs back to the device when they connect. Again likely using some extra juice to do that. They have a sensor that knows when I put them on, that's powered too. So you have the power being used and not just dedicated to audio. Maybe that's good and maybe that's bad. Guess it just depends on what you want. But the ICons are designed not to fall out your ears. That's a huge plus.

3. senseiJ

Posts: 172; Member since: May 02, 2015

Personally, I think it's hideous. But lets wait for reviews.

4. Martineverest

Posts: 521; Member since: Oct 27, 2015

iphonearena,how much did apple pay for this 'artiko'?

5. PhoneFix

Posts: 81; Member since: Aug 30, 2016

Are you joking 160$ No thanks.. (now ifans will be justifying ;no it's cheap despite it's overpriced)

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