I’ve been doing a lot of finger rattling on my desk lately, trying to process all of the news that has been hitting the mobile industry lately. We had a bit of a summer dry spell, but recent events have given us a lot to think about. I’ve covered a lot of it so far, touching base on the Note 7,iPhone 7, and the LG V20. One thing that I haven’t exclusively talked about, however, is one of Apple’s newest accessories, the AirPods.
Like most new things, I was skeptical when they were unveiled during last week’s event. As somebody who always manages to lose things, the idea of having two separate earbuds without any connection to a device or each other worried me. I easily came to the conclusion that AirPods are definitely not for me.
But just because they’re not for me doesn’t mean that they’re a bad product. They’re unique, and a little expensive if you ask me… but it’s Apple. And I’m not saying that just because Apple is Apple that having something exorbitantly priced is acceptable, but I am saying that it is expected. I can count on one hand the number of times that I have looked at the price of an Apple product or accessory and thought, “Hmm, that seems reasonable.” (But it has happened.) Apple is a premium brand and they set premium prices. This is how it has been for as long as I can remember. $159 for a pair of fancy wireless headphones doesn’t really seem so far-fetched when you think about it.
I have thought of a lot of ways where AirPods are impractical. What happens if you lose one? I mean, you’re essentially losing $80. Are they prone to slipping out of your ear? In the past, Apple headphones slipped right out of my ear if I did so much as show too much expression on my face. With AirPods there’s nothing from stopping them from falling to their potential doom (in my worst-case-scenario brain, my mind has it slipping down a storm drain or a sidewalk grate). Since they’re Bluetooth, you can’t reasonably expect them to work much better, if at all, in comparison to a wired headset. You also have to charge them, which just adds to the growing list of things that we would need to remember to charge.
Ultimately, though, when it came down to really thinking about my stance on the AirPods, I ended up finding more good things about it than bad.
First of all, it’s a completely optional accessory. Apple may have given off the impression that your iPhone 7 experience is incomplete without AirPods, but since they’ve taken the liberty of including a Lightning headset and an adapter (don’t get me wrong, I’m still not in the camp that removal of the headphone jack was a great idea) AirPods are simply an additional offering and nothing more.
Second, I considered that while the AirPods being separated can easily be an inconvenience, there a couple of cons that wired headsets have that AirPods remedy. The first I thought of is the unfortunate instances where you forget you have a headset on in the first place and you either rip the headset out of its socket, or you rip the buds out of your ears. Both are equally surprising to me when it happens – and it does happen. The second is that, should you choose to use just one AirPod, you can do so without the other dangling lifelessly under your chin, weighing the one bud in your ear down and being an utter nuisance.
They also can’t be tangled by the mysterious headset tangling goblins that we all know exist, yet cannot be seen.
It’s also worth noting that AirPods can easily connect you to Siri with just two taps on the headset (as long as you’re using them with an iPhone – and the good news here is that AirPods work with any Bluetooth enabled device, so this isn’t just an Apple-only product). That’s pretty a pretty neat feature if you make use of Siri.
I love to jump on the hate train as much as anybody else, but I also tend to re-think my stance to try and see the positive side of things. I initially wasn’t impressed with AirPods, but with some afterthought I’ve come to realize that they do have some good qualities worth mentioning. I think the only logical reason to be mad at Apple for the AirPods themselves is if Apple pushed their product by not supplying Lightning headphones or an adapter, both of which are included with the iPhone 7, so it’s all gravy in the end. Either you like them and you buy them, or you don’t and you don’t.