New AirPods show Apple’s embrace of fantastic ‘wireless future’


"Siri, where did I leave my AirPods?"
Photo: Apple

Ding-dong! The 3.5mm headphone jack is dead — but, boy, did we get some sweet new AirPods in return.

Unveiling new wireless AirPods at today’s Apple keynote, Phil Schiller described a “magical” new audio experience, and proclaimed that Apple is working toward a, “vision of how audio can be.”

And listening to him talk, it’s hard not to think he’s got a point!

Long-rumored by Apple watchers, the iPhone 7’s swanky new AirPod accessories represent the next step in Apple’s audio journey. Apple’s not totally ditching its wired approach to headphones — the iPhone 7 will come packaged with Lightning EarPods, and even a 3.5mm jack adapter — but it’s clear that wireless is the vision the company is embracing.

We’re already kind of nervous about losing them, though.
Photo: Apple

The $159 AirPods boast some nifty new features, including dual optical sensors, built-in microphone, battery, microphone, dual accelerometers, as well as Apple’s first ever wireless W1 chip.

It’s how these features work though that suggest Apple may be onto a real winner. As Schiller noted, “The reason to move on [from the headphone jack] comes down to one word: the courage to do something new that betters all of us.”

For instance, infrared sensors detect when the AirPods are in your ear, so music or sound only starts when you’re ready for it. A double-tap, meanwhile, activates Siri, while the battery life gives you five hours on a single charge — or a charging case which adds up to 24 hours.

In terms of design, the AirPods are understated, although the weird-looking stems may take a bit of getting used to. Don’t worry if they are, though, because Beats will also be releasing new headphones utilizing Apple’s W1 chip, including the Solo3 Wireless and PowerBeats3 Wireless headphones.

Something tells us Jony Ive isn’t kidding when he describes this as the start of a “truly wireless” future Apple is working toward.

Hey, at least in the case of the AirPods, we’ll only have to wait until they ship in late October!

What did you think of Apple’s wireless AirPods? Leave your comments below.

  • aardman

    My ears aren’t a good fit for the current iPhone earpods. They are too loose and drop out easily especially if I go running with them, but at least the wires function as a tether. These Airpods though, I worry that if I go on a run, one of them would fall and bounce off to where I can’t find or retrieve them. Would be nice if there’s a tether accessory available.

    • UZ

      I agree. Same problem here. Would have preferred something like BeatsX, connected to catch around your neck.

    • Completely agree with you on this. The current ones fell out of my ears so often the first week that I stuffed them in a drawer and just forgot about them. Crappy quality, no bass at all. A $9 CND pair of JVC Gumy earphones are still the ones I use to this day.

  • Keith

    They look fantastic and the microphone will really make them very functional. Nice Siri access.

  • spinoza2

    These are not noise-blocking or cancelling, and you probably won’t be able to use comply pads to block noise out, so they won’t work for any kind of activity like running or working in an office. As far as I can see they will have a very limited range of uses.

  • Hein S

    Batteries? Ill stick with cables.

    No thanks

    • Romeyn Prescott

      This. Anything wireless had better last ALL DAY or it’s a non-starter. Now, I almost NEVER use headphones/earbuds at all, so that makes it even worse. Why should I waste electricity leaving wireless headphones always charging in the event I deign to use them?

      Not including a lightning pass-thru on the adapter is an epic fail. I’m sure someone will come out with one.

  • Robert Reid

    Now that Apple has ditched the wire, time to ditch the White. AirPods that allowed the color of the user’s skin to affect the color of the AirPods while being worn would make wearing discrete. (Should I patent the idea?) For women, two bright white stalks dropping below the ears suddenly render earrings impossible’ although jewelry that slides onto the tubes might be a possibility.