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Early hands-on reviews of Apple’s new AirPods are all over the map

Published Sep 9th, 2016 2:50PM EDT

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In conjunction with removing the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7, Apple this week introduced a new pair of wireless headphones dubbed AirPods. Jam packed with a number of advanced sensors and technologies, Apple boldly claims that its new wireless headphones help deliver a “breakthrough wireless audio experience.”

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Apple’s AirPods aren’t slated for release until later this October, but a few select media outlets were already given some hands-on time with Apple’s new wireless earbuds. So if you’re curious as to how Apple’s AirPods sound and whether or not they fit snug enough to remain in-place without falling out, you might fight the following reviews very helpful.

Susie Ochs of Macworld writes:

Now, that plastic has been a deal-breaker for me for years — I hate how normal EarPods feel in my ears. They don’t seem like they’re going to stay put, and they simply fall out if I move my head too much. Even if they do stay in, after about a half hour, my ears just start to ache, although I don’t experience the same pain when using earbuds with silicone or foam tips. Since the AirPods look so similar, I expected them to feel the same too — and I’m surprised and happy to report that I was dead wrong.

Not only did I dance, I headbanged. I shook my head side to side, I tossed my hair, I jogged in place, and I looked silly doing all of it. The AirPods stayed put, and they stayed loud. The music (more Sia, naturally) sounded full and lush and I couldn’t hear a single word anyone around me was saying, as if I was completely sealed off in a bubble of rock and roll. Pretty impressive.

Chris Davies of SlashGear brings up a concern held by many:

My problem – and one, I believe, which I’m not alone in suffering – is that Apple’s preferred earbud design just doesn’t like staying in my ears. Without any sort of rubber tip or loop, it’s basically a case of hanging the EarPod from my ear and waiting for it to inevitably fall off if I move at more than a brisk walking pace.

The AirPods seem no different, and though they don’t have a wire pulling them down, they also have no safety tether: I can all too easily envisage one accidentally popping out of my uncooperative ear and getting lost. Yes, you can listen to music or make calls with just one bud in place, but that’s not much consolation when you’ve lost half of your $159 purchase.

Brian Heater of TechCrunch writes:

As the name implies, the new headphones look pretty much exactly like the company’s EarPods line, with the obvious distinction of being wireless. It’s an interesting aesthetic choice, one that bucks the recent trend of fully wireless Bluetooth headphones, which are largely circular. These maintain the EarPods’ long tail, which actually goes a ways toward helping them fit better in the ear.

As far as how well they’ll actually stay in there if you, say, go for a jog, it’s hard to say, though the buds could certainly benefit for some sort of anchoring system akin to what you get on sportsbuds from companies like JayBird.

Nilay Patel of The Verge writes:

They fit in my ears a little better than EarPods, but not by much — I jumped up and down and shook my head a bit and they felt snug, but I wouldn’t count on them staying in during any particularly dynamic activities. If you pull one out, the music automatically stops, which is cool — there are sensors that detect when they’re in your ears.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.