On the tails of Apple’s controversial decision to remove the industry-standard headphone jack from the newly announced iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, their ubiquitous white headphones are getting a major wireless upgrade. The new Apple AirPods claim to offer more than the standard Bluetooth headset, with proprietary chips and sensitive accelerometers designed to provide highly-improved speaking and listening experiences.

New to the AirPods internal design is the Apple W1 Chip, which uses ultralow-power Bluetooth to keep the two buds in sync with each other, but not to connect the headphones to your phone, watch, or Macbook, which they do seamlessly; Apple says that one tap setup makes for an always on and always connected set of headphones. You can connect to non-Apple devices using Bluetooth, should you not be a consumed totally immersed in Apple merchandise. The proprietary chip also works to detect when the AirPods are in your ears, pausing or playing the sound for when you are ready to listen. Siri and music-related voice commands are available by tapping the earbud, and beam-forming microphones help to isolate your speaking voice from external noises (the AirPods accomplish this by emitting signals that vary constructive and destructive wave interference, a physics term for sound waves that either cancel each other out or amplify the desired frequency).

Apple Airpods in Charger

Like most wireless headphones, the Apple AirPods can last up to five hours, but can be placed in their portable charging station to be replenished on-the-go. The charging station holds a charge for up to 24 hours, and just 15 minutes of charging equals three hours of battery life. The case also helps to prevent loss of earbuds, a noted concern among wary consumers.

Apple’s new answer to the wireless headphone will release in late October, at a price of $159. Users who want to opt for a wired headphone experience—admittedly more secure for jogging or other sports activities—can connect their older headphones to the iPhone 7 via a USB-C adapter. The Apple AirPods are also compatible with legacy devices.

Leave a comment

Subscribe to the uInterview newsletter