If you are wearing Apple’s AirPods earphones, you are probably looking a bit eccentric. When technology evolves, it does not always look beautiful initially. Visually, AirPods (Rs14,500) look very much like the wired earphones, called EarPods, that Apple bundles with the iPhone—except that there are no wires now. Both earpieces connect to your phone and each other wirelessly.
Despite the fear that the AirPods may pop out with any vigorous movement, they remain fitted quite snugly. The earphones are quite lightweight and sweat-resistant as well, something that fitness enthusiasts wearing them during workouts will appreciate.
Apple has used the W1 chip, enabling automatic pairing with iOS devices. We simply unwrapped the AirPods and placed them near our iPhone, which immediately detected their presence and requested to pair. The AirPods also link automatically with your Apple iCloud and get paired with any other iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac you may own. This enables one-tap switching, a convenience other wireless headphones don’t yet offer.
The wireless connectivity between the two earpieces is flawless, and we did not face any connection drops. And if you remove either AirPod from an ear, the music playback pauses automatically, resuming once it detects that you have worn the earpiece again. Double-tapping on either earpiece while wearing them activates Siri on the iPhone—voice commands can be used to play music or make calls, for example.
The sound from the AirPods is balanced—there is a generous amount of detailing without it sounding sharp and there is good bass as well. You feel you are listening to a sound that is coming from earphones or headphones.
The only drawback is that you don’t get isolated from your immediate environment, like a noisy environment in an aircraft. Battery life is acceptable, with the earpieces themselves lasting through around four-and-a-half hours of continuous use. The carrycase in which you store the AirPods has a battery as well, and it tops up the charge in each earpiece.
There really is no reason to not like the AirPods. That said, these are not for everyone because the design and concept of wireless won’t appeal to casual listeners. They work beautifully in less noisy environments, have good battery life, and the sound is nicely detailed. Their future will depend on whether they evolve to become a critical part of Apple’s hardware jigsaw.