Reviews

Apple AirPods First Impressions: Impressive but Could Get Easily Lost

On Wednesday, Apple made the big announcement of the AirPods in the iPhone 7 lineup which probably left one major question lingering in the minds of many Apple fans: How will my life change without the iPhone headphone jack?

Fortunately, older headphones can still be used by users thanks to an adapter that will be incorporated with every iPhone. However, it will be a queer leftover tail, either on the end of their headphones or sticking out of their phones.

Of course, there is Apple’s own deft solution to this problem: AirPods – the company’s latest wireless earbuds which are priced at $159 (to cost around Rs. 15,400 in India) – which almost exactly look like the company’s current earphones but sans the wires. We were impressed with the AirPods’ design in an ears-on demo. It surely seems that a lot of thought went into making these tiny earpieces which sit closely and tightly in a case that also doubles as an external battery.

Pairing the AirPods is very easy. At the demonstration table, an Apple employee held a pair in their case next to the iPhone 7 we were holding. There was a notification that popped up on the phone. We tapped to approve the connection and that was it! We were not required to enter any Bluetooth code or listen for beeps as is the case with other Bluetooth headsets.

We started playing a song via the iPhone speakers with the AirPods still in their case. The music immediately started to play through the headphones when I pooped the buds into my ear. As soon as I took them out again, the music went back to playing via the phone – a smooth and continuous shift without any interruptions that should also work if you switch from using your iPhone to your iPad or Mac. All in all it was a very neat trick.

Siri came up when we double-tapped on one bud and it was able to comprehend what I was saying even in such a clamorous demonstration room. Unfortunately, the sound quality was difficult to judge in such a noisy room. However, while the headphones were in my ear, they did a commendable job of blocking out a lot of noise. Also, after a few jumps and head shakes, the headphones still stayed put even though I definitely did not stimulate any kind of rigorous activity like running that could really knock them loose.

In spite of the impressive performance of the AirPods, we are worried about getting them considering our own headphone usage.

The headphones I use daily are not the ones that came with my phone – I bought these after misplacing my first pair in the chaos of a big move. In the past, losing a pair of headphones was annoying, but easily remedied with a sigh of regret, $15 and an airport magazine stand. Failing to keep track of the AirPods and their case would be a different story.

Even while typing up my impressions of the event, somebody walked past and asked me a question. I popped one side of my headphones out by reflex and let it hang – an almost involuntary response that would send $80 of my money plummeting to the ground with an AirPod.

All things considered, there really is nothing wrong with the AirPods in the short demo that we had. However, I am not exactly sure if I would ever personally shell out $1159 for them – the convenience they offer for me is eclipsed by the fact that I don’t trust myself with nice things. The AirPods are well-designed, but they’re also perfect candidates for getting lost.

It’s not them, it’s me. But, I suspect, it’s a lot of you out there, too.