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Everything you need to know about Apple’s crazy new AirPods

Published Sep 8th, 2016 2:37PM EDT
AirPods Specs

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As part of Apple’s all-encompassing push to eliminate wires, and to perhaps justify its removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, the company yesterday unveiled a brand new wireless headphone product called AirPods. Jam packed with a custom W1 chip and an assortment of advanced hardware, Apple’s AirPods look to provide a compelling value proposition for those in the market for an elegant and super low-power Bluetooth headphone solution.

With all of the commotion surrounding the iPhone 7 yesterday, we didn’t get a chance to take a deep dive into Apple’s intriguing new audio product. That being the case, we thought it’d be instructive to run down some of the more interesting AirPod features that either Apple didn’t get a chance to cover or that you may have missed yesterday.

DON’T MISS: I already hate my new iPhone 7 and I don’t even have it yet

To say that Apple’s AirPods are like nothing you’ve ever put in your ear before would be an understatement. Thanks to a series of dual optical sensors, Apple’s AirPods will only play audio when positioned in one’s ear. If you’re moving around and an AirPod falls out, for example, all audio playback will cease.

Now to get things started, Apple has developed an absolutely intuitive pairing process that should eliminate much of the pain typically associated with Bluetooth headsets. Upon opening the case that Apple’s AirPods come in, a window with a “connect” option will appear on a nearby iOS device or Mac. Upon hitting “connect”, the two devices will link up with one another and you’re good to go. The video below illustrates how seamlessly this all works.


Apple’s AirPods also provide a direct line into Siri. In order to access Siri, all you have to do is double-tap an AirPod in either ear and Siri will be at your beck and call.

As mentioned earlier, AirPods have all sorts of interesting technology buried underneath the hood. For instance, AirPods come with accelerometers which can detect when a user is speaking. In such instances, the AirPods will actively filter out external noise and specifically attempt to focus in on and transmit the sound of your voice.

As far as specs are concerned, Apple boasts that AirPods can support up to 5 hours of audio playback. While this may not seem like a lot, it’s not too shabby as far as similarly priced Bluetooth earbuds are concerned.

“AirPods deliver an industry-leading 4-5 hours of listening time on one charge,” Apple boasts. “And they’re made to keep up with you, thanks to a charging case that holds multiple additional charges for more than 24 hours of listening time. Need a quick charge? Just 15 minutes in the case gives you 3 hours of listening time.”

In short, battery life shouldn’t really be a concern for prospective AirPod users. Notably, the W1 chip inside Apple’s AirPods are said to be extremely power-efficient.

It’s also worth noting that AirPods can work seamlessly across any number of Apple devices. So if you’re listening to audio on your Mac and decide to switch it up and listen to audio from your iPhone while you take a walk outside, you can switch over without any problem at all.

As for system requirements, Apple notes that AirPods require an iCloud account, iOS 10, macOS Sierra or watchOS 3. AirPods are priced at $159 and will begin shipping in late October.

Apple’s AirPods introductory video can be viewed below.

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.

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