The most exciting thing to come out of last night’s Apple launch was a new pair wireless earbuds, called AirPods.
Despite looking like Apple’s iconic EarPods this product is one that I suspect will sell like hot cake, because it is classic Apple.
What Apple is done is stripped away everything but the essentials and what they’ve delivered is a smart looking pair of buds which if designed properly should fit comfortably in any ear.
Devoid of wires the new AirPods are said to have a battery life of five hours. This may not be enough. I’m currently using the Sole Republic Bluetooth buds as I recently broke my arm and I find it difficult to hold a smart phone to my ear. I am currently getting over eight hours of battery life from these buds which is essential if one is to wear them all day long around the neck.
In Australia there are already safety concerns about the buds, ith dimensions at 16.5 millimetres x 18 millimetres x 40.5 millimetres, the new AirPods fits within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Product Safety Choke Check. If something fits inside the Choke Check it has the potential to block a child’s throat.
Apple Australia has not commented on the issue.
Apple said that the ultra-low power Apple W1 chip operates at one-third of the power of traditional wireless chips, enabling AirPods to deliver up to 5 hours of listening time on one charge. The custom-designed charging case holds additional charges, for an industry-leading more than 24 hours of total listening time, ensuring AirPods are charged and ready to go whenever you are.
The iPhone was revolutionary because it was just a screen. No physical keyboard, no back or menu buttons, no scroll ball. Of course it did have a few physical inputs, to turn the phone on and access the home screen, but they were so essential that they haven’t lost much, nearly ten years later. (Although this year, the iPhone 7 lost its headphone jack, and rumours indicate the next iPhone will lose the Home button.)
In this way, the AirPods are even more of a design success than the iPhone. AirPods are minimalism materialized: Each earbud is a glossy monolith. And they’ll be able to fully control Siri, a step up from the Apple Watch, whose original purpose was to allow users to complete tasks without having to take out your phone. If Apple can achieve this with voice commands through AirPods, users won’t even have to raise their wrists.
Apple isn’t the first major company to do sell wireless earbuds. Samsung announced wireless earbuds earlier this year, the IconX. They’re heavily geared towards exercise, have 4GB of on-board storage for music, and also have no physical buttons.
The AirPods will cost $229, expensive for an Apple earbud, but standard for the wireless earbud market.