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Apple AirPods Are Actually Pretty Cool, But Will They Last?

Published: September 28th, 2016

As readers may have guessed, we have been especially underwhelmed by Apple’s September 2016 launch here at GB and really feeling disappointed overall with the direction Apple has been heading for some time. Since the death of Steve Jobs the innovation has faltered, the iOS hasn’t been as clean and various other little irks and irritations have slowly crept in.

 

Finally, however, something from the launch that piqued our interest. AirPods. We pegged them to be called AirBuds back in August  (we were close! lol) but upon a closer look they are actually a little bit smarter than just Bluetooth ear buds. We do have some concerns, but let’s start with the basics first.

 

Where these really stand out on paper is in their smart integration into all things Apple and some of the gear packed into that small bundle. Infrared sensors allow power saving and convenience by switching the pods on and off as they are inserted and removed from the ears. A custom-made Apple W1 chip connects them to your iPhone and Apple Watch simultaneously, wringing what is actually a pretty impressive battery life out of such small devices. Apple claim 5 hours on a single charge at 50% volume. A motion sensor allows a double tap to activate Siri, of mixed interest depending on your use of the assistant feature. Switching between all other Apple devices is seamless too.

 

We will leave any analysis of sound performance until a chance to play hands on.

 

The two big concerns, which are common to any Bluetooth audio setup, are obviously battery and losing the darn things. Apple has addressed both of these issues reasonably well with their AirPod case. Pop your AirPods into it for 15 minutes and voila, another 3 hours of battery according to Apple. The case holds enough juice that when everything is fully charged it should give you the potential for 24 hours of battery life all up. Running out of juice IS going to be annoying, but with such a short recharge, people will adjust.

 

The case also gives you somewhere safe to stash them. But losing them is still going to happen. It’s human nature and inevitable. We are picturing a small graveyard of single AirPods, like lost socks, whose partners have been dropped in water, stepped on, simply lost etc. We’ll also put bets on an aftermarket accessory boom for devices to help tether your AirPods and the like.

 

So how much will these babies cost you? Only a cool AU$229 or US$159. Ouch…

Suggested Products:

  • Audio Technica ATH-BT03 Bluetooth in-ear Headset Pearl White
    Audio Tech...
    $45.00

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