Along with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple also introduced the AirPods at the September event. Apple thinks that the future of iPhone lies in wireless Bluetooth headphones and the AirPods are a glimpse of that.
So, what exactly are the Apple AirPods and where do they stand in the not so wireless-ready present?
Connectivity and Self-Pairing
The AirPods connect to your iPhone over Bluetooth. All you have to do is take them out of the box and they pair with your phone in just a snap! No pairing codes, no searching for Bluetooth devices, nothing. They’re ready to go, right out of the box. Literally.
Of course, there’s a manual override/validation for the connection. When you take the AirPods out of the box near your iPhone, the W1 chip senses the device and a prompt to connect the AirPods appears on your iPhone. All you have to do is tap on ‘Connect’ and press the button behind the AirPods box, and you’re done. From there on, the AirPods automatically connect to all your devices that use the same Apple ID as your iPhone.
The W1 Chip in the AirPods can also sense if the device is in use or not and switch over to the active device on its own. There’s no need to connect the devices individually or switch individually. For example, if you stop playing the audio on your iPhone and start playing a YouTube video on your Mac instead, the AirPods will make the switch by themselves. No need to disconnect from your iPhone and connect back to your Mac. It’s all done by W1 chip on it’s own.
The AirPods have infrared sensors built in, which track when the AirPods are in your ear, and they pause the music automatically when you pull them out.
The AirPods have motion accelerometers built into them. You can access Siri by double tapping on them while they’re in your ear. The Air pods are capable of detecting your voice source and with the help of specialised microphones, they reduce the external noise, making it easy for you to talk to someone.
Battery and Charging
Th AirPods can run continuously for 5 hours on a single charge. The case they come in also doubles up as a charger and an external battery pack. So, your air pods are charging while you’re not using them. The case provides a battery backup of nearly 24 hours.
Apple also claims that in case of emergencies, a quick 15-minute charge can provide you with a 3-hour backup. The case is compatible with the traditional lightning port charger, so your iPhone/iPad charger is good enough. You don’t have to carry a separate charger for the AirPods.
You can use the AirPods with all your Apple devices running the following OSes:
Mac OS Sierra
Watch OS 3
So, technically, you can use AirPods with iPhone 5 or any iPhone after that. That doesn’t mean that you cannot use them with other devices. They are compatible with Android devices as well, the only downside being the lack of Siri, self-pairing, and intelligent switching.
Price and Availability
You can grab a pair of AirPods from the 2nd week of November. They’ll set you back by 15,400 INR.
This “courageous” decision by Apple comes at a price. What I want from AirPods is the kind of control the wired EarPods offered me. I don’t want to invoke Siri every time I want to increase the volume or change a track. Yes, Siri is getting better, but it’s still too cumbersome.
I want to be able to double click to skip to the next song. I want to be able to click and hold for fast forward and I want all the traditional music controls that I used to get from the old earbuds. The connectivity is great, no doubt, but there is room for refinements, and Apple should work on that.