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AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (apple.com)
331 points by smoser on March 20, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 415 comments

If Apple does in fact release AirPower, and it works well, I'll probably upgrade to these. A better charging situation is one of the things that could improve the AirPods.

Just today my AirPods case wasn't charging because lint got into my lightning port. I didn't realize the case wasn't charging until I realized my AirPods were low on power despite me charging the case a lot the last few days. Inductive charging is a lot more durable in a lot of ways.

I take my AirPods everywhere with me. They fit perfectly into a pair of jeans. They are one of Apple's best products in years.

I find myself listening to way more audiobooks and podcasts because of this. If I have a minutes to burn, I can just pull them out and listen. Also, AirPods are great for phone calls. I use them for almost every phone call, and having them always on me has changed how I interact with computing devices. If the Apple Watch ever really gets full featured (with more robust cellular features in particular), I could see myself often just having a Watch and AirPods with me, while leaving my phone behind.

The other things I would like to see Apple do are: Official water resistance ratings to better work for athletics and in the rain; and the ability to have different tips on them to increase fit for more people and to provide the option of sealing out outside noise.

I honestly can't say I understand the draw to drop significant money on a new set of headphones that need to be charged at least as often as a my phone, and can't be charged while being used.

I've had the same set of high quality in-ear wired headphones for the last 5 years or longer and have zero issues with them (I just replace the foam every so often for about $5). What is the improvement I am missing here?

> What is the improvement I am missing here?

I think what you are missing is that different people value things differently. These don't make sense for you? That's fine, don't buy them. They don't make sense for me either, so I don't buy them.

However, I can understand how it would make sense for someone else. Arguing the money aspect doesn't make sense because we never know a person's income, expenses and savings. $200 for one person is nothing, while it can be the difference between making rent for another.

Arguing sound quality doesn't make sense either, because despite all of the numbers that people throw around, people perceive and enjoy sound differently. It isn't objective, its subjective.

Same thing with the presence of wires. I would have liked these (or, more likely, a larger set of wireless cans) when I lived in Japan and commuted by train daily. Now that I commute by car, my headphone use is limited to netflix in bed and when I'm playing guitar. Wireless doesn't do anything for me in those situations.

Long story short, different strokes for different folks.

Like you, I haven't chosen to get them for myself, but I got them for my wife who loves them. Reasons: I have pockets big enough to always be holding my phone, and I can just run a wire up from my pocket under my shirt and into my ears. No snags. She doesn't have such pockets and wouldn't wire herself in any case. She cares about fashion. I'm a programmer. I care about more important stuff like compilers and her. We'll leave it at that.

I have a headphone jack in my phone. She doesn't, so wireless is mandatory for her. It's just a question of lower quality, big, and clunky, or these. Now that I got these for her, the lower-quality option is forever off the table.

She can cruise around the kitchen cooking while "watching" a video that's playing on a laptop on the counter. I did that using my MacBook Pro's built-in speakers, which eventually blew out both speakers. My phone-in-the-pocket, wired solution limits me to audio-only.

So, yes, there are reasons, and whether they matter depends on the person.

Basically every generation of phones' regressions are based on looking at what Apple manages to get away with, and copying it. Even if I would never buy their junk myself (or encourage anyone else to), it's basically impossible to get away from their aftershocks.

Unremovable batteries? Apple got away with it from the start. Hell, they even managed to get people to pay ridiculous markups to replace them after it was discovered that they tampered with device performance.

Unremovable storage? Just look at what Apple manages to charge for storage upgrades!

Dropping the headphone jack? iPhone 7 got away with it, and drove the sale of plenty of adapters.

USB-C? Well, if Apple could get people to buy new Lightning devices and chargers...

These are standard "features" now. Every phone has this now. There are no other options for me to "vote for" with my wallet anymore, even though I always did when the I had the option to. There is no way for me, as a single consumer, to get away from this bullshit.

Fashion doesn't spring up from thin air. It's crafted by people. With agendas. And accessories to sell.

Hell, nobody seemed happy about any of these changes when they were introduced. But the manufacturers had the pockets to outlast the outrage. And eventually, fashion changed.

And, just maybe, ask why on earth a whole industry exists around fake pockets, and what accessories they exist to sell.

I feel what you're saying. I myself am very disappointed (not to say displeased) with late Apple products and I'm currently in the process of moving away from macOS and iOS. But I'll stick to my AirPods.

They are _the_only_ wireless earbuds on the market that you don't push inside your ear canals, and I absolutely abhor the in-canal ones. They also look nice, work great, I wear them for hours almost every day. Even put them on for quick calls. Probably one of the best technology products I've ever owned.

Dunno if you've used them but you might find this insight helpful if you're ever keen on them in the future,

I find the sound quality argument hillarious. They barely block any outoutside noise, which is great for the commuter use case. You want to hear traffic and train/bus stop announcements.

They're perfect for that use case.

They're not meant for sound quality but they aren't nearly as bad as people would think by how much this is brought up.

If you want quality / noise cancelling on your commute go for Sony mx3's.

How about arguing for the environmental cost of our throwaway culture?

Airpods have a MUCH higher environmental impact than ordinary earphones. A lot of tech is crammed into these things, all of which uses energy, resources, distilled water and so on to produce.

I have a pair of Shure earphones that have "just worked" for going onto three years now. I had to change NOTHING on them, and they've never complained. I've worn them for 2+ hours Every. Single. Day. during that time period.

People are reporting rubbish battery lives on the Apple subreddit already, with several of them desperately hoping for new ones so they can mindlessly continue upgrading without stopping to consider where that tech ends up.

> I have a pair of Shure earphones that have "just worked" for going onto three years now. I had to change NOTHING on them, and they've never complained. I've worn them for 2+ hours Every. Single. Day. during that time period.

And I have a pair of Airpods that have "just worked" for I guess about two and a half years now. I've had to change NOTHING on them, and they've never complained. I've worn them for 2+ hours (almost) Every. Single. Day. during that time period.

> People are reporting rubbish battery lives on the Apple subreddit already

People are going to report a litany of problems with every new product. There is zero reason to believe that battery life on these new AirPods should be, outside of defective devices, any less than the previous model.

Let's come back to this thread in two more years and continue this chat. Are you in good faith arguing that airpods and quality earphones will last the same amount of time and have the same environmental impact? It's one thing to have wanton disregard for the environment and say "Fuck climate change, convenience rulez", but a whole another thing to try to convince yourself that there IS no difference between the two choices.

Also, to preempt any exhortations of slippery slope fallacies, I'd say every person deserves a good laptop that they take care of, and a smartphone that they try to get to last as long as possible. That's where we draw the line. Every gadget beyond that should cause a serious examination of how necessary it is in one's life, and whether it is a want or a need. Airpods would fail catastrophically for almost everyone in such a sytem.

How many monitors do people deserve? Is anyone allowed to have a car? What about food processors? Are wifi routers okay, I mean wired ethernet worked just fine for decades.

Seriously. At least be consistent. If you're living off your own land, growing your own tomatoes and dreadlocks, and own zero technology, I'd understand and probably agree with you as you rant about the selfish decadence of humanity over the fire pit.

But these comments here are basically the height of virtue signaling and weird oneupmanship. The fact that they are posting on HN about it on their high-tech device is hilarious.

For example, they brag about their save-the-world low-fi headphones without realizing the irony of also owning the high-tech landfilling gadget they plug them into.

Why does the conversation always devolve into "go live in a cave"? Surely you must agree that there is a spectrum of possibilities, and the further along it one can be the better? Eating mostly vegetarian food, driving as little as possible, owning as little tech as possible, having as few children as one can. These would have seemed to me to be relatively uncontroversial opinions.

The implications of all these comments seems to be that it's perfectly OK to buy Airpods every two to three years for decades to come, because there are other avenues in which we are also fucking the environment.

Two monitors, unless you're working at a NASA control center. No cars for journeys under five miles, unless you have disabilities. Food processors and wifi routers are OK, because they both are closer to BIFL compared to airpods. Wired ethernet IS better if you've got a desktop.

Anything else?

i would wager that your argument is a rounding error compared to laptops, phones, and tvs... are airpods less environmentally friendly than regular headphones? sure, but let’s tackle things that actually matter before nitpicking. my airpods are devices that i’ve had longer than many of my other electronics purchases, and they’re certainly a quality of life improvement

Fair enough, but I'm already trying to tackle the other things: travelling by train when possible, /r/nocar, biking everywhere, making my phones and laptops last as long as I can, no children, eating mostly vegetarian (not that difficult when you're Indian).

The environmental Argument is interesting as I am thinking about getting AirPods precisely because Im sick of throwing away my regular in Ears because the headphone jacks keep breaking when I carry them crumbled in my jeans. (I hate having them tangle around while not in use). As an earlier poster pointed out: It all depends on your use case and preferences.

Shure, and many other good companies, make earphones with removable cables. These MMCX cables can be bought relatively cheaply (decent ones on Amazon france seem to be about EUR 15 onwards). Even better, the ones that come with the earphones are burly as fuck, and as I said, mine have lasted three years with no damage or loose soldering to report.

I did a review of Shure in ear monitors. They sent me their entire product lineup, though I only reviewed two of their products. The highest priced monitor had a cable break 2 years later, with only minimal use in that period. They had/have outstanding customer support for this class of monitor, and replaced it for free. Cable broke 6 months later. They would have replaced that too, but I didn't pay for the monitors, and felt like it was right to push it. These are the type of in ear monitors musicians use on stage during performances, and easily run of $1k. They sounded fantastic, but they were as reliable as Apple's $30 corded airbuds.

Don't know what to tell you, except my experience didn't match yours. The only special thing I do to care for them is to fold them in figure-of-eights so that there isn't much stress on the cables when stowed. They've gotten caught in doorknobs etc. during my time of owning them, but still going strong.

Following the same line of argument, why are we even discussing this stuff on the internet, using devices that consume electricity, going through servers that likely consume tons of power... when we could all meet in a field and talk?

Honestly, this sort of attitude is why I just struggle to trust any “green” activism, despite fundamentally being a leftie. You are happy to live in a cave, fine, do that; but myself, I like my tech and I want to keep going forward.

What is your brilliant solution then? It's rather simple. There are billions of us on the planet. You cannot have them all live the standard American lifestyle full of chromecasts and Apple Homepods and use-and-dispose Airpods.

The best that I can think of is minimizing my impact. This heavily involves minimal tech.

We had the same arguments for decades, and we are still here. Whenever we hit a snag, like oil or food running out, we think of solutions, like changing energy sources to renewables or improving agricultural efficiency. Progress is made by unreasonable people.

As I said, you're free to do as you please, and I'm free to say that I'll do differently.

Good luck with the Shures continuing to last. I absolutely love my Shures, but I’ve gone through ~4 pairs in the last 12 years, and I don’t think I’m particularly hard on them. It’s a bit better now that they have replaceable cables, but even after that change, I’ve had at least one socket fail on them on the earbud side.

Being wireless is just that good. Especially when exercising or otherwise out-and-about.

The charging is not nearly that obnoxious, I've gone through a wide range of wireless sets and they've all had multi-day charges.

Personally I have a nice set of IEMs for longer, sitting use cases and otherwise use a cheap (~$20) wireless set; so that when it inevitably breaks/gets lost/battery wears down after a ~year, it's negligible to just replace it.

Also, nowadays, wireless headphones have surprisingly good audio; especially if you're just listening to podcasts.

How about getting a pair of BeatsX earbuds, cut those crappy units off and make what's left a Bluetooth adapter with MMCX connectors that are compatible with your IEMs. Seems to have the best of the both worlds.

This works quite well, but I still often use my airpods instead of my shures because the airpods don’t block out all the sounds around me.

> and can't be charged while being used

I'll just address this point, because it is categorically incorrect and something many people misunderstood when they were first released.

There are two of them. You can use them independently from one another. When you hear the "low battery" tone, it's trivial to remove one and continue to use the other. By the time the tone plays again in the one you continued to use (signaling critically low battery), you just swap which earbud is in the case. The one that was in the case will be almost fully charged at this point.

The effect is that you can pretty much use them indefinitely without a full interruption. And using only one at a time is mostly unnoticeable.

That's all well and good if using one were the same as using two. Of course, it isn't...

I really wish I could put myself into the shoes of people who think that fifteen minutes of using only one earbud is a big deal, but I honestly just can't.

Your point that you can use one while charging the other was valid and helpful.

But saying "I'll just address this point, because it is categorically incorrect" was unnecessarily aggressive. With that opening, I think people expected a solution with no caveats.

From that opening I just expected that the idea that you had to use two would be a frustratingly widespread misconception and completely wrong. Given that I had that misconception, that the UX implies that it’s the case (remove one and it stops playing music), and it is apparently completely wrong, I’d say the parent was pretty spot on.

To me, that blows big holes in the argument that Airpods are better than wired earphones. It's compromises up and down the chart with the sole benefit being wirelessness? Are people nowadays really that rich that they can dump 150 USD EVERY two to three years just to get rid of a wire?!

Also, I just can't fathom people's willingness to let so much tech into their lives. Laptops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, airpods... all of which need to be constantly charged, and replaced once their batteries die, because they cannot be swapped out, meaning the rest of the apparatus lies impotent in a dumpster for a thousand years or more, never to biodegrade... it's depressing and wearisome to picture.

> It's compromises up and down the chart

What compromises?

They're literally always on my person. At all times. Without even having to think about it, because they just come along with my phone and keys whenever they change pockets.

I can wear them all day and basically forget they're there, even when pausing audio to have conversations with people physically in front of me.

For phone calls, they're measurably more convenient since I can just leave my phone on my desk and continue whatever it was I was previously doing.

The "compromises" I have to make, on the other hand are completely insignificant. Sometimes I have to take one earbud out. Sometimes the case is low on battery so I plug it in at the nearest cable on my desk or nightstand. The audio quality is perfectly fine, I have never noticed a difference unless I was explicitly trying to look for one.

> Are people nowadays really that rich that they can dump 150 USD EVERY two to three years just to get rid of a wire?!

Why do you seem to believe that these will only last two or three years? Mine are 2.5 years in and I can't say I've noticed any kind of battery degradation. Surely they won't continue to last indefinitely, but every other wired headphone I've used has had the wire fray sooner or later anyway.

> Also, I just can't fathom people's willingness to let so much tech into their lives.

I can't reply to the other comment you made, but I find it telling that you've decided that you get to be the gatekeeper for what is "too much tech" and what's not. From that comment, "Every person deserves... a laptop... and a smartphone". And headphones too, apparently. But wireless headphones are where we as a society should draw the line?

Somehow I don't think I'd be surprised to find you having this same conversation ten years ago deriding how rich people must be to afford a $1,000 cell phone every few years, when flip phones are just as good and aren't full of compromises like software keyboards.

My wired phones are also on my person. At all times. Without even having to think about it. I can also wear them all day and forget they're there. Actually even better because foam is softer than the hard plastic of the airpods.

The compromises are that you have to charge them all the time. You cannot wear them constantly on an 8 hour flight. One-size-fits-most. They come packaged with an expiry date. Yours are going fine, but on balance, I'd say a careful user could make wired, QUALITY, earphones last longer than Airpods. The audio quality, despite you confident proclamations, isn't even in the vicinity of wired stuff you can get for that price range.

Guilty as charged about being a self-annointed gatekeeper. I'm driven to a low-level despair at our relentless forward march towards a scorched planet. Nevertheless, to conclude the argument, yeah, wireless throwaway airpods and home theaters ARE perhaps where we should draw the line. Where would you draw the line? Or do you think it's all dandy even if we never draw the line?

As to your last point, you're probably right. I have in all seriousness considered moving back to a flip phone. Since I don't have any social media, all that smartphones give me is access to boarding passes for flights, and GPS. But meanwhile, I turn it off at night and make the battery last two to three days between charges.

That we can’t all have home theaters (weird example) and wireless earphones does not mean no one should.

People collect cars, watches, shoes, expensive clothing. On the extreme end there's figurines, paintings, antiques -- at least the former items have utility, the latter are mere articles for signalling to others.

Does it really blow your mind that the ability to move freely without being tethered to a phone is a selling point? I can give an example where it really helps for me: I'm a nudist.

But even when clothed I like walking around able to take a call or listen to music without snagging a cable on one of the many protrusions in this world like door handles, kitchen cupboard handles etc which can also lead to an expensive phone launching from my pocket onto the floor.

If you're worried about pollution, Airpods should be on the low end of the concerns list.

Off topic but any good resources you know of for those interested in nudism? You rarely come across someone who will talk or even admit to it so sorry if that is out of line asking.

/r/nudism on Reddit is ok, not ground-breaking but it's a nexus to other resources as well being a place for general discussion.

Does Apple not recycle their devices anymore? You’re drawing the line in the wrong place. Phones and laptops really can’t get much better, so your other comment makes sense and we should hang onto those for as long as possible. But you know what? Headphones aren’t, and Bluetooth needed to be saved because pairing sucks.

Are you sure $150 every 2-3 years actually sounds like a lot of money to you? Especially on something as important as listening to audio? I don't even think you believe this. My headphones last longer than that, but that's irrelevant to my counterargument.

Show me your receipts and I'll find things I "can't fathom" and all sorts of environmentally questionable decisions. You clearly are willing enough to let technology into your life yet care so little about the environment to post here on your high tech device, to use your own argument. You would lose the game you started very quickly.

Perhaps I would. I have terrible gear acquisiton syndrome when it comes to music and also outdoors-gear. In my defense, though, both of those hobbies tend to have BIFL gear. Guitars and tents last a long time.

>Are people nowadays really that rich that they can dump 150 USD EVERY two to three years just to get rid of a wire?!

Surely you know where you are posting? Fuck yeah there’s a plenty of people here that can afford to throw away 150 USD several times a day.

It helps in a pinch if you’re on a really long conference call and the batteries start to run low. I’ll pop one briefly back in the case to top it off and not have to miss anything said.

Sure, it's a fine workaround for a dying pair, but the GP said:

>I'll just address this point, because it is categorically incorrect and something many people misunderstood when they were first released

GP said they "can't be charged while being used". Which is categorically incorrect. They can, and on the scale of Things That Are a Big Deal, it's an 0.3 out of 10.

They can't both be used, and c'mon; is this really a debate? You cannot use _both_ of them and charge them at the same time. The best experience comes from using _both_ of them simultaneously. So, it's a workaround. It's fine, it's whatever, but it's also silly to get haughty about it as if there were no impact whatsoever.

I've got an easy fix for you, just buy two pairs, and charge the pair that you're not using!

Given zero interest rates, and the fact that AirPods used half as much will last twice as many days, the two-pair implementation is financially equivalent to the one-pair implementation.

I love my AirPods. I am in full panic mode when I realize that I forgot them at home (happens rarely). They are the best Apple products in years. Why? Because they simply work, seamlessly. Product development in perfection.

Can’t be charged while being used? Who cares? They last long enough. 1 out of 50 times I wear them they run out of battery. Charging them takes 5 minutes, so it’s not a big deal.

Also, the whole point is that they’re wireless. If you don’t care about this specific feature it’s no wonder you don’t see them as an improvement.

"They are the best Apple products in years. Why? Because they simply work, seamlessly. Product development in perfection."

I can't remember ever trying to use headphones/earphones and not have them "just work."

Wireless ones? Really?

It would take a significant amount of charging inconvenience to get me to go back to wired earbuds instead of wireless. I can't speak for others, but for me wireless AirPods were a really dramatic improvement in the experience of listening to music outside of my home office. Almost revolutionary, if I can risk being a bit overzealous in my praise.

For me, switching to bluetooth earbuds (PowerBeats) was a game changer. Switching to AirPods was a level above that. I wear them for most of the day and don't really have an issue with having them be charged.

I pop them in their case when I take a break or go for lunch and then charge the case itself now and then and things work out just fine. The charging is very fast.

I think the confusion on charging comes in with the case - you "charge" the airpods by keeping them together in the case. You charge the case by plugging it in. The case has about 24 hours of battery, so I charge the case about once every two weeks with around 2 hours a day of conference calls/podcast listening. I generally hate having a wire attached from my laptop to my ears because it inevitably will get snagged at least once a week.

Also for my use case (calls) you can charge while listening by using only one bud at a time.

I have many pairs of headphones, wired and wireless, but I just ordered a new set of AirPods because they are simply the most convenient headphone I've ever used (Presuming you use primarily Apple products.) Far from the best sounding - but I've found for a general use headphone they are more than adequate.

> I generally hate having a wire attached from my laptop to my ears because it inevitably will get snagged at least once a week.

I actually finally understand why some people may want wireless now, thank you. Personally somehow I never get my earbud cable snagged, even when snowboarding or climbing. However that tangled mess of wires when i take it out of my pocket...

What about having to have your phone in your pocket and a wire coming out of it into your ears? I've always found that annoying and usually wind up running the wire up inside my shirt so that it's not moving around or getting caught on things. I've never liked having phone holder armbands.

I absolutely loathe working out with wired headphones. Even with them inside my shirt occasionally I'd wind up with enough slack to get them caught on something. Usually when I'm bench pressing or working with free weights.

On the flip side, before BT5 and my S10 I had nothing but problems with all of my wireless headphones constantly skipping. I've actually posted here before that my $200 Jabra 65ts on my S8 would skip just walking to work to the point I'd run wired on my "commute." My S10 solved that, thankfully.

With that said I still refuse to buy a phone without a headphone jack (I'm on an S10 now). I have 2 sets of great (Jabra 65t Elites and Galaxy s10 buds) wireless but if I'm just taking the dogs for a quick walk I throw in whatever wired buds are laying around nearby. Or I'm at someones house/pool and just want a quick way to plug into their speakers.

It really is genius that you charge the holder which charges the buds, though, as opposed to charging the headphones. I can run them (not airpods) down and toss them in the charger for 20 minutes and get a few more hours of listening. Helps battery anxiety quite a bit.

> What about having to have your phone in your pocket and a wire coming out of it into your ears? I've always found that annoying and usually wind up running the wire up inside my shirt so that it's not moving around or getting caught on things

Again it's never been a problem for me however upon further thought I usually put my phone in my bra when doing something physical so it's not a surprise there not an issue.

Now don't get me started on no headphone jack... i have an iphone and I irks me to now end that they removed it for honestly no good reason imho. I only put up with it because it's only occasionally a problem for me as i can charge up the phone pretty quick with my ankor and I prefer iphones for other reasons but man, i would buy the new iphone tomorrow if it had the jack.

I will never go back to wired headphones, especially on the go.

After experiencing AirPods, I will pay any amount of $ to replace them if they ever get lost. They really are that good and they’re probably the best purchase I’ve made in years.

If you go to the gym at all, they’ll be a game changer.

Let me put it this way - sometimes I completely forget they’re even in my ear.

These get charged way less than your phone. The case has about 24-hours worth of charge in it. I’m much more likely to have my phone low on charge than my AirPods. Wireless case charging will make it so that my case is almost always well charged.

Plus (and this isn't unique to AirPods) the lower charge the AirPods are the faster they recharge. As long as you keep the case charged you can drop the pods in for a couple-few minutes while you give your ears a break and you'll get a decent playback duration when you come back.

This, for sure, but also the AirPod case can be charged whenever, whereas you usually want to charge your phone at night.

I’m struggling to find words to explain what I mean ... there’s rarely a time when I realise I need to charge my AirPods and it’s an inconvenience, whereas the phone always seems to run low at just the wrong time. I dunno.

Plus, you can have the AirPods in your ears, listening to a thing, while the case charges. This takes nothing away from your experience. You can use your iPhone while it charges, but that’s a PITA because now you’re tethered to a wall.

TL;DR: charging them isn’t an issue that should prevent you from buying them. They’re amazing.

Not having a cable dangling on your body.

Not needing to have your phone on your body constantly.

Source: Wife owns AirPods and I use them from time to time. For me these two points are HUGE plus points. But I won’t buy them as i find them too expensive and don’t listen to audio often enough (wired or wireless) on my phone anyway.

> I honestly can't say I understand the draw to drop significant money on a new set of headphones that need to be charged at least as often as a my phone, and can't be charged while being used.

Maybe if you are using them 24/7. The battery in the case can charge the airpods batteries several times.

Not even if you are using them 24/7, since that would drain your phone battery. That is one downside, though — that your phone battery drains more quickly with wireless headphones. I've noticed this on my 7 Plus for sure.

Being able to connect to multiple devices at once, not having a chord get in the way or getting tangled while in pocket (happened to me a lot while exercising), not being tethered to a device (not a big deal with a phone, but it can be annoying when you are using a laptop or desktop), some headphones overlay external noises over your music (anti-noise canceling?) so you can be more aware of your surroundings/people talking to you.

These are just a few I thought of off the top of my head, but they may not be worth the price tag for everyone.

Literally the only significant attraction is not having the wire. Ever since wireless headphones started to actually work reliably, I've used them exclusively (big over-the-ear ones for music, airpods for things like calls or online meetings).

For me it was all about the fucking tangle. I don't care much about having the cable on while I am using them. But having to do that stupid devil-horns-figure-eight winding technique to avoid the cable getting tangled into a knot, every single time I want to put the headphones into my pocket, which I do several times a day... ugh.

For me, going back to wired headphones would be like going back to getting on the train by going up to a vending machine, putting coins into it, pushing buttons, waiting for it to emit a paper ticket, and then getting on the train.

It's only a difference of a few seconds, usually, but it something I do over and over and over and over, so that's why it's worth it to me.

(I dropped significant money on a new iphone as soon as it finally got train-pass functionality here in Japan, too.)

Having to occasionally charge a pair of headphones, and not being able to charge while in use, is easily worth the trade off of being wireless. I would never go back to wired headphones, regardless of quality/price/features

I can carry AirPods always in pocket and easily pop them to ear before answering call. I did not like wired ones, because wire would get tangled with keys etc. Is this worth the price? For me yes, but certainly not for everybody.

Why is charging while using a feature even worth mentioning? AirPods gain 3 hours of battery life (listening time) with 15 minutes of charging in the case, vs. 5 hours of total battery life between charges. That's very little difference, and if you're doing something important where interruptions are unacceptable (like a phone/video call), you can always charge one AirPod at a time in the case (they both have microphones). In practice I just don't find it hard to believe that very many people would ever need or even use the "charge while using" feature.

I’m with you but got AirPods as a gift and did not return them.

Pretty much all BT solutions are a pain pairing wise and sound lag wise.

Apple’s are very well designed, a luxury object. Almost no lag with sound. Very good phone call experience. Sound is mediocre but always available.

Still, they are disposable by design and I find it repulsive that we have normalized the pollution associated with buying this product. I won’t be buying another pair and will be pressing Apple to establish a recycling program.

My etimotic headphones sound great and have a long life.


They have a broad recycling program already in place.

Thank you, this helps.

I love the Apple wired earphones that come with the phone. However, if you travel a lot or move around, the wires tend to tangle and when you need the headset in the split of a second they don't work. It's not a critical use case but the more you travel, the more you move around, the tangled headphones start annoying you more and more. You'll reach a point at which $150 or $200 doesn't seem like a big deal to get rid of this annoyance.

If you fly a lot, then you'll really appreciate over the ear headphones, preferably the noise cancelling ones. That being said, these wireless over the ear phones are too bulky to use in day to day life such as commute etc. So now you end up owning one pair of wireless noise cancelling headphones for flying, air pods for your day-day commute. You see where I am going with this .. welcome to capltalism :)

True wireless headphones for me is a big improvement. It’s just so darn convenient. Also, during the year I’ve had mine I’ve never found myself in a situation where I’ve had to use them while charging. Having one more thing to keep charged is of course a downside, but when compared to the convenience they bring it’s a small one.

My first pair of Airpods, even after 2 years, still worked for hours on a charge. And of course “charging” just means putting them in your pocket. I just wish I had waited to run them through the laundry until today. I bought a new pair just recently.

How many meetings do you do on your phone? The people at my company that have them and love them have daily phone meetings. Keeping your hands free while talking and moving around is the critical feature that people seem to love.

>that need to be charged at least as often as a my phone

That's not true at all with AirPods. I use them nearly every day and I haven't had to charge them in almost 2 full weeks since charge while in the case and 5 minutes of charge lasts a few hours.

They're seriously awesome. I never would have purchased them myself or asked for them for the price they're asking but I got them as a gift and I think they're amazing.

I don't own any, but I do have a 3rd party wireless headset. For me, ditching the cable means avoiding the inexplicable and over-the-top rage I experience when wired earphones/headphones get suddenly yanked on the occasion they catch on something. Once in a while I'll meet somebody else that has this type of reaction. It's weird.

Freedom of movement more than anything. I bought a pair and they sounded about as mediocre as the wired apple earbuds. I loved the freedom it provided. I don't know how many times I flung my phone or macbook to the ground because I was wired.

I had to return them because one of my ears isn't a good fit. One earpod stuck out almost 45 degrees out of my ears and loosen over prolonged use.

You need to charge them roughly a magnitude less than your phone. That's once a week or more if you charge your phone everyday because your usage of your phone is supposed to directly correlate with your usage of the airpods.

So, unless you use your wired headphones on other devices, it's not a good comparison.

I charge my AirPods case probably less often than every month. With heavier usage that might be weekly. (The AirPods themselves are recharged by the case, which is where they go when they're not in my ears anyway.)

+1 and mini-jack headsets doesn't need an additional power plants. Think about it when in the next keynote they'll say how "green" and "clean" they are ...

It is a trade off and not for everybody. But for me I value my time and comfort of not having to untangle / untie the stupid pieces of Earpod wire every time I want to use it.

I do agree charging it hurts.

The improvement they're buying isn't to their listening experience.

some people are more susceptible to marketing tactics.

My experience differs from yours. I find the lightning port to be considerably robust. I drop my AirPods case fairly regularly and keep it in my jean pocket on work days (though I find myself not using them all too much). I charge my pods maybe once a week and don't have battery life problems. If the AirPods were only chargeable inductively, they would (presumably) take considerably longer to charge and thus impact my experience.

The new case supports both, and it would be unwise to get rid of charging via a cable. It works great in a car or on the go.

But I would do inductive 99% of the time, most likely at night while I sleep.

>and the ability to have different tips on them to increase fit for more people and to provide the option of sealing out outside noise.

This is the single biggest reason why I won't upgrade to the AirPods. For me, the AirPods simply fall out of my ears. That's why I stick with the Etymotic Ear Phonnes: https://www.etymotic.com/consumer/earphones.html

For whatever reason, that flanged shape fits my ears so perfectly well and blocks out all other noises that I don't see myself using any other Ear Phones for a long while. If AirPods provided the option of a flange shape like the Etymotics, then I'd be compelled to buy an AirPod.

Finally getting the podcasts app on my watch was one of the things I was most excited about with the latest WatchOS

I actually bought these. Yes, it's a pile of money, wireless charging for AirPods probably isn't all that useful (though I may grab a new wireless charger for the desk where my AirPods usually sit anyway), etc.

But, reality is: AirPods are by far the most convenient way to casually do anything with apple products and headphones. Stick 'em in a pocket, and if you want to listen to music or be on a conference call, pull them out and pop them in. And my old ones are having the battery wear-out problem. And I'm in the apple ecosystem.

So I'll happily pay a premium to have new AirPods with better battery (and cleaner!). And then I don't need to feel guilty about the old ones to the gym and ruining them further with sweat. (The one thing I'm mad about is that there's nothing about sweat proofing on these.)

I own a pair and as well as everything you mentioned, the killer feature for me is not dropping out. Every other pair of bluetooth earbuds I've had were constantly dropping out on me when running through an airport or if I decided to pace around a room on a conference call unless I held my phone just so. I've found the range on AirPods to be fantastic. I work from home and if I want to pace around the house while I'm on a conference call, no problem. I couldn't even walk around in the same room before.

The range is surprising. I've walked to another part of the house and then wondered, where did I leave my phone? Because the airpods just didn't quit.

Tangential but your comment reminded me: years ago (I hope this is no longer true) the iPhone would, when pinged via "Find my iPhone", play the alert sound to the current output.

So if my iPhone was playing music via AirPlay, the alert sound would go to, you guessed it, the AirPlay speakers. Completely pointless.

They fixed it in recent years, this used to bother me as well.

Still true.

In a casino cardroom I once forgot to pick up my phone while I walked to a self-serve coffee station at least 30 yards away (with no walls in-between).

There was no disruption in the audio. In fact it didn't occur to me until I got back and saw my phone on the table that anything had even happened.

I've definitely had great connectivity and range with my AirPods too (although I admittedly haven't tried many other Bluetooth headphones in several years, during which time I suspect they've all improved somewhat). The only time mine cut out is very briefly but consistently when I'm on pedestrian crossings. My theory is that it's induction loop vehicle detectors.


This may have to do with the signal power put out by each AirPod. One site in particular has noted that AirPods transmit at power levels equivalent to an Apple Airport base station. I wish there were more data out there corroborating these claims, though.


Note: I own AirPods and use them regularly at the gym. That is to say, I'm not afraid of my own AirPods, but acknowledge that they broadcast pretty loudly.

I find it very hard to credit that the AirPods, which transmit a few metres powered by a really tiny battery, would put out so much more power than a phone, which may transmit hundreds of metres powered by a very much bigger battery.

That said, I own AirPods, I am surprised by how great they are, but I rarely wear them because the radiation worries me.

The "field strength meter" results quoted in that article are nonsense. No units, no frequency, no notes on usage...

Yeah, I'm wearing ear buds so much I just don't care that I'm paying a stupid amount for them. I'm going to buy the Apple ones because at this point my ears have probably changed their shape to conform to them. And I even keep an extra pairs on hand because heaven forbid I ever go without for even a minute because one broke, was lost, or ran out of battery.

Since you mentioned: "be on a conference call". There is nothing more annoying then a participant in a conference call (or any call) using AirPods especially when they are at a busy place. My experience is that you hear everything around them and most of the time they are hard to understand because of how the voice is picked up. I always ask them to switch back to the phone so i can understand. Not sure if the new version improves that or if it's just my experience.

Yep, I own AirPods and they are terrible when walking around town. Every person I talk to has commented on it. Which never happened with the regular wired ones.

I still enjoy them for music. But the battery life alone for calls is weak — I only get about 1 hour of talk time.

>walking around town

You don't want to walk around the town with earphones that isolate too much. My coworker was hit by a car as he was jogging while wearing IEMs. He couldn't hear the car horn and he was hit by a driver who couldn't stop his car in time. He didn't suffer any major injuries but he learned his lesson and now only jogs with open earphones.

That’s why I wear AirPods, because they don’t isolate inbound noise.

I’m talking about external background noise that the mic picks up.

I find that interesting. I often talk on my airpods while driving, and have done so in both of my cars. One has incredibly loud road noise (like I think there is a problem), and the other has no A/C and I live in the south--so, windows open.

In both cases I have received no complaints, and have even inquired about how the noise is recently. People can't hear my obnoxiously loud road noise at all, it gets canceled out.

This is definitely true, but it's a terrible idea to be on a conference call in a busy place anyway. It's incredibly obnoxious for everyone around one. My use case is just sitting in my relatively quiet office; without headphones the person in the next office over can hear everything, with any other headphones there are annoying wires and such.

Not really the Airpods fault there.

Sure it is, most phones have outstanding ambient noise cancellation, something that AirPods does not seem to have.

Ambient noise cancellation is not the same thing. Most headphones do it passively by having a closed-back design. It blocks noise from reaching your ears, not the microphone.

Active noise cancellation is not the same thing either. See https://krisp.ai/ for what you really need, and this is not something best done at the physical device level.

Pretty sure they're referring to ambient noise cancellation using the microphones to make it so the background noise doesn't come through your microphone to the other participants while on a call.

Airpods are much worse than Earpods for conference calling, no matter what the situation.

Maybe there are some headphones with better ambient noice cancellation, but AirPods don't seem any worse than the wired headphones I've used until this point. I just stopped doing conference calls at Starbucks or I go outside where noise cancellation works a lot better.

When I got hired for my current job I did both interviews from the parking lot of a local Starbucks for exactly this reason.

I'd argue it is -- my earbuds stick the mic right near my mouth, and I can hold it nearer if needed. Not so with airpods?

I have Jabra 65T earphones, they just work like you described with my MBP and Android phone. And no battery wear-out issue.

They're not much cheaper than the airpods however.

I've found the call quality to be substantially better and, like you've said, have had no noticeable depreciation in battery life. I just wished they looked a bit better aesthetically. I've had a couple of people say that they thought I was wearing some sort of hearing aid...

I have the same Jabra headphones with my iPhone X and MBP. Great product. Jabra is a calls-first company, so the talk clarity is incredible, and the Bluetooth pairing is strong enough to walk between rooms.

The very best feature, though, is that they’re much less conspicuous than AirPods. AirPods are a visual distraction.

What would be the reason that one model of wireless earphones would have worse battery wear-out than another? Wouldn't it depend almost entirely on how many recharge cycles the battery gets? If so, then I suppose it would only depend on the battery life of the earphones (if we hold the usage rate constant).

It’s just a matter of time though. Li-ion batteries are typically rated for 500-1000 recharge cycles.

I accidentally put mine through a wash cycle, the buds not the charging case, and amazingly they survived! The sound was muffled for a while. Would not recommend as a solution to your cleanliness problem them.

Same here. I immediately threw them in a bag of rice for a day or so and had no problems when using them after.

Mine went through the wash and the case died but not the buds.

I spend a lot of time on conference calls and AirPods really change everything. Sometimes I will be on a call and only get pulled in once or twice. It's kind of a waste to not be doing other stuff during that time and they definitely make that easier.

But isn't this a benefit of all bluetooth/wireless headsets? I don't see how it is a specific AirPod advantage.

This is correct. The advantages are solely personal preferences on features. They are shaped exactly the same as (err millimeter ish) the default supplied headset which I find comfortable. They are open to outside sound; meaning I can wear them in silent and have conversations etc. And they pair easily with my devices.

I've been wearing my AirPods at the gym since I bought them (~1.5 years) and haven't had a single issue. And I sweat a lot during my workouts.

I haven't had any issues after sweaty runs either. Occasionally they won't sit right in the case and won't be charged though, likely due to being upside down in the gym bag.


I have a hard time trusting a product if its marketing photos are just a rendering of the item photoshopped into random stock photos.

You might be surprised how often this is the case

Wasn’t air bud a movie about a basketball playing dog... .. checks the webb.... Yup


A couple movies.. off tpoic: I used to walk my dog at the same beach (west vancouver) as the air bud dogs. They were all over-bred show dogs. They lived short lives. I am not a fan of those movies.

Where can I buy these?

lol nowhere that's the point

I was able to purchase a pair.

I just can't get over the fact that people are dropping $160 ($199 now) to get the same earbuds they've been shipping with every iPhone (unless Apple took that out of the box too), but without a wire.

Does my wire get snagged and the earbud falls out? Sure it does, but that probably happens to me once every 6 months and that doesn't get me pissed off enough to hand apple $160. Airpods don't come without their costs, too. You loose that super handy control/microphone on the wire, you have one more thing to keep charged, and in 2 years when the battery shits you have to pony up $50 per ear to replace them. I still use the headphones that came with my iPhone 5, seven years later.

"Earbuds without a wire" is a reductive characterization of the AirPods. The audio delivery mechanism leads to a bunch of quality-of-life changes:

- You don't need your device on your person. I leave my iPhone around the house somewhere and use these while cooking, or run with AirPods + Apple Watch (cellular not required, I just download podcasts or audiobooks).

- You are not tethered to a listening device. I don't worry about the cable catching on kitchen drawer handles or gym equipment (this happened to me way more often than every 6 months). I can jump from phone podcasts to a video call with a few clicks or taps, instead of changing headphones or transferring cables.

- Your call quality improves dramatically from wired headphones. Others are complaining about background noise, but wired headphones are far worse, with their microphones on their remotes (IIRC). I hated "speaking up" by holding the little remote to my mouth.

The concerns you mention are also minimal in practice. The case has excellent battery life, requiring a charge only weekly or so. If you're on a streak of calls, you can charge one AirPod at a time to stay connected. I have also used mine for over 18 months almost daily, and the battery has been fine.

Are AirPods a convenience? Yes. But there's always a market for convenience.

> If you're on a streak of calls, you can charge one AirPod at a time to stay connected.

Does this work? Nice tip, thanks

Yup :)

It is still $160 for the airpods, and $200 if you want wireless charging. Tapping the Airpod, uou still have 2 controls vs. the 5 with an inline mic. You can almost say 3 controls since pulling one out of your ear acts as play/pause.

Mine were a gift, but I'll likely drop $160 on a set in the future if these crap out in a year or two.

About once a week, I used to get my wire snagged and it would sometimes yank my phone out of my pocket. Luckily it was on carpet and I had a case on it so there wasn't any damage.

More importantly, the convenience has been well worth it. Even if I'm just saving 30s a day untangling, that is worth the price to me over a few years. Throw in being able to sleep with one pod in and my phone plugged in across the room and this has might be my favorite and most used gadget of the past few years.

Note that even at relatively low volumes, sleeping while listening to something can cause hearing damage. There's an interaction between both the volume and the duration of sound exposure. If you're using your device to drown out other sounds, that might be too loud.

Thanks, I just use it on a timer to listen to something for 15 min as I fall asleep.

Why does this happen at low volumes?

I used to replace my Apple headphones every year, these ones going to seem to last forever(except battery).

Still disappointed they haven’t added more feaures, especially as competition getting hotter...

The issue is that you have tiny chemical batteries inside and they deteriorate with use and time, so it will hardly hold any charge after 3 years (some report much faster deterioration). Does Apple replace those batteries? How much does it cost? And can it be done outside of US? (e.g. in EU countries with no official Apple Store presence). Otherwise it's pretty expensive to pay $200 for a pair headphones and throw them away after 3 years.

You're not expected to keep them that long, it's targeted to people who buy the new generations pretty much as soon as they are released.

Who's going to pay 30%-50% of a new version to replace his airpods or apple watch battery ? [0]

It's the same with all these hi tech gadgets relying on tiny glued/soldered batteries. You can't replace them yourself because it's either proprietary hardware or you need to literally break the product to get to the battery. And companies either don't offer replacements or charge insane amount of money for them.

Apple can boast all day long about ecology and using 100% recycled aluminium, at the end of the day they're shipping unfixable gadgets. [1][2] But it's thin and slick looking so I guess most people don't give a damn.

The first time I saw a bose QC25 with AA batteries I almost burst out laughing but it's actually much more convenient than proprietary battery packs. Compare that to the new QC35: > As you were correctly advised, battery replacement is not a service that is offered. [3]

We'll drown in these gadgets way before we drown due to the sea level rising.

[0] > Run through your battery, and it’ll likely cost you $138 to replace both year-old batteries, which is nearly the cost of a new pair.


[1] https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Apple+Watch+Battery+Replacement...

[2] https://ifixit.org/blog/8690/airpods-are-disposable/

[3] https://community.bose.com/t5/Headphones-Archive/Bose-Quietc...

I absolutely agree with everything in this post, but the newest model of QC35s has like 15 hours of battery life. Even if it degrades 50% over 3 years they will be perfectly usable. Airpods don't have enough physical size to overprovision battery that much.

Unserviceable laptop and cellphone batteries are terrible and apple is by far the biggest offender.

disclaimer: typed from a macbook :(

I have a pair of Sony over-ear Bluetooth headphones, with NFC, about 7 years old now, MDR-1RBT.

I have used them 5 days a week, for ~2 hours a day for almost the entirety of those 7 years, I charge them approximately once per month.

They cost £400 at the time and have been by far the best consumer electronic investment I have ever made. When the battery becomes unusable I'll find a replacement and fit it my self, but I have no plans to replace them until they are deader than dead.

I don't care much for "fashion" and they already have more features than I need (I use the physical switch to toggle off the NFC because I never need to use it), they do high enough quality audio (AAC/AptX) for streaming 320/16/44.1 and the battery life is better than any other battery powered device I own (barring the TV remote) even after all this time.

I'd love to see a premium pair of over the ear headphones driven by a licensed Apple Bluetooth stack, which by all accounts is vastly superior. It's still a win for Apple since the added bluetooth features only activate when paired to another compatible apple device; otherwise it's just standard bluetooth.

I know nothing about Apple's Bluetooth stack so I'll take your word for it; have they not licensed it to anyone to make some high quality over-ears? I just don't see Apple ever making any in-house, and I'm not sure why that is (maybe not compete with those awful Beats headphones).

The QC35s also only need the battery for wireless use/active noise cancelling, so even if your battery dies on you you can still use them with a wire and a standard 3.5 mm jack. That is, assuming you still have a 3.5mm port to plug that jack into :)

It's also a lot harder to crucify the QC35s on their cost when comparing to airpods, which don't seem to have comparable noise cancelling. If you are going to shell out for a premium product at least make sure you get a premium product.

I absolutely love my QC35s...

I was bracing for downvotes on that comment for shilling. It appears the QC35s are loved by many, myself included.

Honestly if you regularly write code in an open office like I suspect many here do; a serious, professional pair of headphones are one of the best things you can get. Wireless with active noise cancelling that are comfortable and have a robust battery life. The Sony model mentioned by another poster appear to be quite nice as well.

Smart management would make sure these things are available to their employees no questions asked.

> Smart management would make sure these things are available to their employees no questions asked.

My experience with this made me laugh. I had a company that had the right idea when they moved everyone to open floor plans; buy them "premium" headphones. The headphones they bought were expensive (valued around $150 new), but were utter garbage. I can't tell the difference audio between $5 earbuds, and $100 earbuds ... but I can tell when these beats headphones have the sizing for children. Nearly everyone ended up selling theirs and letting them collect dust.

Yea, unfortunately HR or accounting is going to be lurking around waiting to torpedo any incarnation of this; but the best option is to set a reasonable dollar amount for gear and let your engineers allocate it as part of the onboarding process. Desktop/laptop, phone, headphones, monitors, keyboard etc. If engineers want to go above the amount you set, support that as well and reimburse up to that maximum.

I worked at a company and our team was the first to move to the open floor plan.

I convinced my manager to get us all Bose headphones.

Several people from other teams (all of which had private offices) raised a stink to the CEO, who refused to approve the purchase, leaving my boss to foot the bill by himself.

I tried to love them, ears would hurt after a few hours of wear. Airpods are so comfortable I forget they are in.

Loved my qc25’s, but when time came to upgrade to wireless - new Sony’s are just so much better - better noise cancelling and USB-C charging (Bose has much better feel overall).

I often hear people saying that making such things repairable would entail massive increases in complexity and less thinness/etc., but in this case it's relatively easy to imagine how Apple could have made the batteries in each AirPod replaceable (as for the charging case, that one is pretty trivial...) while maintaining the dimensions and weight:


This is a metal-cased cell, like an AAA battery, only smaller. They could simply make the "stem" of the AirPod unscrew from the top to access the battery. They came up with an unserviceable design because they didn't want to, not because they couldn't. Think of things like quartz watches too --- they have just as small if not smaller dimensions, and yet you can still replace the batteries in them. (And if you think threads of that size are impossible for Apple... look at the few screws that hold iPhones together.)

You're not wrong, but I have no noticeable issues with my QC35 or AirPods after 2 years. the battery life on the QC35 is simply astounding. I once wore them on a transatlantic flight including lounge stays. Got to my destination after 16+ hours of them being on the entire time, save 60mins during a nap. Some noise cancelling, lots of podcasts and music... Battery was at 60% still.

> You're not expected to keep them that long, it's targeted to people who buy the new generations pretty much as soon as they are released.

I really don't think that's the case. I was really quite tempted by them, but was put off by the lifespan.

I think that's literally the point they were trying to make. You're not the target market so you didn't buy them.


$50 per airpod for new batteries.

I'm guessing they don't literally give you yours back with new batteries, but instead give you replacements and then send yours for refurbishing.

I doubt they have replaceable batteries and thus are not refurbishable, they're probably scrapped for metals

Love how the cost of replacing the batteries approaches the cost of buying a new set.

Are there any tips to make the batteries last longer?

Love how the cost of replacing the batteries approaches the cost of buying a new set

$100 < $200. I wouldn't call half the price "approaches."

That's the earbuds. now throw in the case. also -- $150 approaches the retail cost of the older model.

The case battery is a different beast. It is not outputting iPhone levels of power or recharged nightly.

>Are there any tips to make the batteries last longer?

Extend battery life by substituting them with wired earpods when possible.

I pre-ordered my Airpods the first day they were available at the end of 2016 and have used them almost exclusively for conference calls. I use them maybe once every day or so, and they sit in their charging case the rest of the time (which gets recharged periodically)

I had a call yesterday and the Airpods were beeping that they were dying at the 20min mark, and didn't make it to 30min on the call.

I love the form factor, and I just ordered the "new" Airpods, because I am hoping the battery life has improved - the old ones are basically a disposable item after the first year, from my experience.

I also use them for conference calls. I think one of the super awesome but barely talked about features of the airpods is how you can use it to handle calls nonstop all day long -- you can just wear one at a time. Both airpods have a microphone. So while you're using one, the other one is in the charging case! You can even switch them out in the middle of a call. So no need to go "oh crap I need to recharge my headset", just swap them out and you're at 100% for continuous non-stop talking.

Most days, however, I don't have calls all day long, and I can just wear both no problem and not run into the low battery beep.

I think one of the super awesome features of wired headsets is that one never needs to recharge them. Also, they are a lot cheaper than wireless headsets.

What about the part where your skull is physically tethered to your computer?

I'm on a conference call, what am I going to be doing? Laps? No, I'll be taking notes and looking stuff up on my computer.

Yesterday morning I started a conference call in my car at home and ended it sitting down in a Starbucks.

This afternoon I had a call while walking my dog.

It’s a new world.

Yes, some people like to walk.

Airpods dying on conference calls has become another common part of the joke that is conference calls generally. Seeing that happen constantly has turned me off buying them :-/

Well, that and the fact that I'd definitely lose one in the first month of ownership.

They aren’t really designed for conference calls. It’s more for listening to music and answering a few calls when they happen. AirPods are more of a light workout or entertainment headphones. Jabra, Plantronics, and the like are for conference calls.

I do use them for conference calls but I know they have limited capabilities. My 14 hour Jabra headset will do just fine and have noise cancellation.

> It’s more for listening to music

If only. At this price, you have hundreds of options with much better sound quality

Here is a sample of the headphones that I own:

    1. Sennheiser HD650 w/ Schiit Magni2/Modi2
    2. Sony MDR1000x
    3. Airpods
The Airpods sound...not great. Especially when compared to the Sennheisers. Still, I am not going to carry a large pair of headphones (or a dac/amp) everywhere I go just so I can have the very best (tm) audio experience. The reality is that most listening environments are _terrible_ and much of the quality of a given audio device is lost. Airpods check a lot of boxes that are not checked by my other headphones.

Legit question: what headphones are you talking about?

Requirement: in-ear and no wires or over ear hook thing.

At this price point you are paying form factor and lightweight. Bose and Sony have much better headphones at a similar price point. Both are much bigger and may have cords but the quality is much better. They last longer too.

At this price you're paying for recognisability and affluence signalling. Apple will be able to launch a 'limited series' of 'black airpods with gilded touch rings' - with the colour being the only differentiator from the regular product - at a 50% price increase and see considerable sales.

> At this price you're paying for recognisability and affluence signalling.

Give it a rest, Apple makes great hardware with great software. That's why people buy it, nothing to do with being cool.

Airpods dying on conference calls has become another common part of the joke that is conference calls generally. Seeing that happen constantly has turned me off buying them :-/

Like everything in life -- you use the right tool for the job.

If you're on a lot of conference calls, then you buy a headset or something else suited to that task. AirPods are not that item. They're for listening to music while running, or at work, and answering the occasional phone call.

I don't complain that my Hello Kitty-branded eeePC 701 can't run the latest AI framework.

If you want to do business, you buy a business tool.

I find the best solution is to just use one at a time. The other charges while talking. They charge must faster than they get consumed, so you can use steady-state schema all day with zero interruption.

This might bethought of as a feature - if you're having that many long conference calls on the regular, you're probably have much bigger problems...

It's more the hip PMs and business-side folks who are on calls a good percentage of any given day, trying to use them for work, than too-long meetings killing them all at once. I don't think they've got the battery life for people in those roles, but boy do they really want to use them. Good for a chuckle a week or so if you're spending even 2-3 hours a week on calls with those sorts.

Why not use one AirPod at a time? That way one is charging, the other in use.

Just think of it as earbuds as a service, with a three-year renewal cycle

Feels hard to justify - from a price and environment perspective. Especially if other equipment can and will go this route.

Fool me once...

Yeah, just had an amazing two years of trouble-free wireless audio conference calls. Never again!

> I had a call yesterday and the Airpods were beeping that they were dying at the 20min mark, and didn't make it to 30min on the call.

> I love the form factor, and I just ordered the "new" Airpods, because I am hoping the battery life has improved - the old ones are basically a disposable item after the first year, from my experience.

The OP complained about battery life and the $200 "disposable" headphones he bought a year ago, but happily bought the next iteration, hence my comment.

Fool me once...

I am complaining, yes, that the battery wore out much faster than I expected, but other than the battery life I love them. The new one is supposed to have much better battery life, and it's only $160 for something that I said I use every day, so it will be worth it if they are better.

Even if they aren't, and I had to buy a pair every year, that's like 50 cents a day for something that I enjoy using (until the battery dies)

Or OP likes them so much they're willing to replace them despite the flawed battery life.

Also, OP said they purchased them in 2016 - not a year ago.

I’ve had my AirPods for a while. The battery life has indeed degraded, but they’re pretty good for an hour of listening, and I never really do more. I’d be more disappointed as a heavy user.

They’re also the only earphones I can stand while exercising. Before the AirPods, the annoyance of the wire flopping around or on my skin, etc. made me mostly just not listen to anything. So, I don’t really compare them to anything wired, because I don’t consider them an actual alternative. I just won’t listen anymore.

Interestingly, I seem to be one of the few people the AirPods don't work for when it comes to exercising - they don't fit well in my ears, so they'd fall out if I tried to exercise in them :( .

Love them in general though, they are good enough for the price & what they do.

I have the same problem, clearly I have weird ears. They're a little cumbersome but I bought some EarSkinz and the problem is 100% solved. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0741CXH71/ref=oh_aui_se...

The audio quality is also massively improved because of the better fit. The downside is you have to take the skins off before putting the AirPods back in the case. I also bought one of these pouches to keep the AirPod case and EarSkinz in. Works well, all in all

If you get the old foam slip-on covers that used to come with all Apple headphones, they might stay in your ears a little better, and you can close the case over them.

i thought i was the only one.

I’ve had my AirPods for a while. The battery life has indeed degraded, but they’re pretty good for an hour of listening.

I've had mine almost two years. I listen at work M-F, 8am-11:30am, then let them recharge at lunch, then use them 1:00pm-4:00pm. So far, so issues.

How long do you think I have before the batteries start to degrade?

They seem to be doing much better than mine! Mine are about a year old, and they seem to run about half of their original life, and I've used them perhaps 2 hours per day. I was a bit surprised at how soon it became apparent they didn't have their original battery life. I could probably listen for about 1.5 hrs now, but they still charge pretty quickly, so I usually just put them back in the case for a few minutes.

Yeah the price doens’t really scale but if you consider your time worthwhile, then add up the total amount of time it has saved you from having to untwist a jumbled mess of earphones / roll up earphones into some easily tangled roll.

I have bose wireless earbuds that are connected to each other by a short cable. It never gets tangled. And when I want to take them out I just pop them out and they hang round my neck. As a bonus, since they aren't in a pocket I don't run them through the wash. I don't know how much time airpods uses spend fumbling around in their pockets (for the airpods....), but I spend 0 time doing that and 0 time untangling cables.

you should also consider the time it takes to charge the case and the times when you want to listen to music but alas, you forgot to charge your earphones! The jumbled mess of earphones don't need to be charged.

The airpods are the only wireless headphones I've owned where this is pretty much a nonissue in practice. It's easy to develop the habit to put the case on the charger when not on the go and to put the headphones in the case when not listening. At least for me those two things is sufficient to pretty much guarantee I'll always have charged headphones.

>It's easy to develop the habit to put the case on the charger when not on the go and to put the headphones in the case when not listening.

Except the original post said to "count the time you spend untangling the cord" (which, for most good, flat-wire headphones is almost zero). Habit or not, charging takes more time than properly rolling the cord on wired buds.

That's an understatement. If your fine motor skills aren't impaired, you should spend maybe a few minutes each year rolling and unrolling your wired headphones. I'd argue it takes nearly as long to put your AirPods in their case and set them down on a charging station.

Ok start the timer. I bet you exceed one minute in a few days.

I’ve never thought of charging my AirPods or the case outside of plugging the case for half an hour once a week. I don’t even check the battery percentage.

Keeping cables nicely coiled is a solved problem. Humanity has used string and rope for millennia. There's been plenty of time to figure this out.

To this old fart, this sounds like the thousand other cases of "why learn a simple and generally useful skill, when we can use modern technology to avoid this one specific case?"

Learning a basic transferable skill is the scalable solution to this problem. You're not using wireless power cables, wireless rope to tie things to your car, wireless thread in your sewing machine, etc.

Keeping cables nicely coiled takes time. Perhaps not as much as untangling cables, but time.

Also there's a lot of time spent fiddling with the cables in use that I didn't realize I was doing until I used wireless and went back for a week.

Count to 5. That's how long it just took me to coil wired earbuds. Probably the same amount of time to pull the tic tac box out of your pocket, flip the lid, put them in one by one, and shut the lid back up.

I think you may be overestimating the time it takes me to do things, and also trying to double dip on time: Both of us have to take things out of pockets and put things in ears.

Only one of us have to coil and uncoil wires, and put wires where we want them and keep wires where we want them when they shift or are moved by external forces. Only one of us can use our headphones with a smartwatch.

AirPods aren't perfect: I've probably had connection issues ~5 times which seem to have gone away with the latest update. I haven't lost them, but they are really small and it seems like it would be easy to lose them. $170 is a lot tougher to lose than $8 (though there are also wired earbuds in the same price neighborhood). I do have to charge the case, but with my use-pattern I haven't yet run into a spot where I wanted to keep using my AirPods and didn't have charge available. Using them one ear at a time while the other charges for longer use is non-ideal, but that's mitigated by how quickly they charge.

Until I had to go back to wired earbuds for a week after using wireless for a while I didn't fully appreciate how nice wireless is.

But this is missing the other problem AirPods solve, a problem created by Apple and other tech giants - the now missing standard 3.5mm jack.

I have a laptop, desktop, iPad and iPhone - for wired I would need USB-C->3.5mm, Lightning->3.5mm, and a 3.5mm extension cord for my desktop. AirPods "just work" with each of those with only a single click or tap. So no cord tangles and no bluetooth connect/disconnect dance every time you swap devices. To me that makes them easily worth the $170 cost.

It isn't hard or time-consuming or even thought-consuming to coil 2.5' of headphone cable and stick it in your pocket in such a way where it comes back out still in a coil. Ball it up and shove it among your keys and pens and wallet and phone and of course it will be tangled.

As an aside, this is the most HN justification possible for these. "Just estimate your time spent coiling headphones and multiply it by your hourly rate then you will see how $160 is fair." Absurd.

You can solve this problem once and for all too if that’s so important to you, there are even things you can buy that help with that

I'm fine with 3 years replacement. 3 years is a very long time for a particularly small and useful device. Also $200 is not a lot of money. Inflation is under-rated in the USA.

I’ve had mine since they were released and have experienced very little deterioration. I even left them outside and out of their case for A MONTH! During summer I was house sitting, left them outside at my house for a month by complete accident, came back home and found them. Once I charged them up they worked like a charm. During this month it rained a few times too.

That’s not really the deterioration people are talking about. Using them every day multiple times will destroy them quite quickly. Seems to be around the year and a half mark.

I've used mine everyday since launch, so a little over two years. They now only hold a charge for about 45 minutes, so I end up doing one ear at a time for longer voip meetings. The case held up fine, I charge that like once every two weeks. I'd say they were generally fine for my purposes until about a month ago when they started cutting out at the end of hour long meetings.

Even still, I ordered the new ones. The convenience is easily worth it for me since I am primarily in the Apple ecosystem.

Having used my airpods 2-3 hours every day, since release. I've found the talk time to drop to a little over an hour. It hasn't been too much of an issue for me as I just charge one bud in the case when it's low and swap it out with the other.

Modern battery chemistry lasts longer, and after three years they will still hold a charge.

3 years? These things are consumables. Toss them at least annually, they won't sound as good as new by that point.

[edit: Really? You guys expect 3 years life out of your socks and underwear too? If you use the hell out of it, even a wired pair that's a year old doesn't sound as good as a pair fresh out of the box.]

It's all about conspicuous consumption. AirPods are not a lot less conspicuous than the long earlobes of the Dayaks[0] (nor in my opinion a lot less ugly), but in order for them to fulfill their signalling function they must be consumed.

I really, honestly believe that in a decade we're going to look back at AirPods as our generation's bell-bottoms. Only bell-bottomed trousers at least have some function: AirPods are a style & sustainability own goal.

0: https://wwf.panda.org/knowledge_hub/where_we_work/borneo_for...

I don't think so.

First, the form factor of AirPods are integral to their function. There is no separating them. Wires are a major design tradeoff.

Also, the function (multiple actually) -- social communication, gaining knowledge, entertainment -- is of high importance to many. So even small improvements are valuable.

I really don't think you're understanding this correctly.

That’s just not true, you have to support your words. They are exacly earpods minus the wires, completely honest product that had to have been made!

Funny how there's so much criticism everywhere for these products yet you step outside and loads of people have them. Usual reaction to Apple products I guess.

Is it possible that the people criticizing them are not the people buying them?

I have a feeling it’s more of an emotional self-rightous rant similar to the ones people have when picking their favorite football team or car brand. I’ve read many of the anti apple comments around here - and most of the criticisms have solid reasoning. But, I still got a new MacBook Pro, and low and behold it works great.

Possible, although I know I thought they were nonsense before I got mine.

This was my experience with Apple products from like 2003-2010 when I finally decided I should just accept that regardless of my first impression, I was going to like most Apple stuff once I tried it out.

I'm always surprised how many people haven't come to that conclusion.

They seem to not know the first thing about them, either.

It’s a law of the universe that any forum filled with tech nerds makes apple product discussion a waste of time.

All Wireless, Less Space than a Ralyin, Lame....

Edit: Oh well the reference is almost 20 years old. I knew someone wouldn't know it.


Good rule of thumb: if it's an Apple product, divide its US market share by 2 or even 4 and you get its maximum world wide market share :)

A lot of this is very US-specific.

Not true everywhere. Take the iPhone for example, it is at 50% market share in Japan which higher than the US I guess.

And here's the other comment that appears in every HN thread about a new Apple product. Just need someone to complain that Apple forgot about its pro users and I'll have a bingo.

AirPods have a lot of criticism? I would understand that if you made the same claim about iMac, Mac mini, iPad mini, i9 MacBook Pro or the stupid butterfly keyboards.

AirPods sold 36 million units and everyone and their grandma got it on Christmas. They have been sold at most holidays.

I personally think this is one of the best device Apple has created in a long time. It’s not for everyone but once you get used to it, you won’t go anywhere without them.

I know more people with knock-off Airpods than the actual Apple-branded ones.

Yeah, I was shocked by how many teenagers in my neighborhood had them until I realized they were all knock-offs. I doubt Apple is concerned, though. Airpods solidified their dominance of earbud design

Knockoffs? Having shopped for AirPods for my kids, and also shocked by the price, I'd be eager to hear more. Most of the other brands use an "in ear" design which my kids wouldn't like (ex: AirDots)

I mean their overpriced and look absolutely stupid. Airpods seem to be entirely an US thing and a result of great marketing. If anyone could convince people to buy and wear this it would be apple in USA.

>I mean their overpriced

They're literally best in class for the money.

I presume you have a source for this absurd claim?

Source: No other wireless headphones match the features for the price. You're welcome to present a challenger.

I don't think I have ever seen anyone with them in person.

Apple removed headphone jacks from their phones, so some AirPod owners probably would have been happy to not own them and continue with traditional headphones.

Those people could have easily....

A) used the included lightning headphones

B) used the lightning adapter that come with the iPhones until this year and are now $9.99 and used any other headphones

C) used third party lightning headphones

D) used any BT headphones.

No one was forced to buy $160 Airpods.

Maybe, but I’ve also never met another person who wanted to go back to regular headphones after wearing AirPods.

I did for listening to music during workouts. They do not like being drenched in sweat from spin workouts :)

If you are a fan of this earbud design they package a pair with a lightning connector in every iphone.

Apple has successfully turned the airpods into a fashion/status symbol, which was their goal. "only smelly android users have headphones with a CORD"

To be fair, airpods ended up being a lot more convenient than I imagined before trying them. I still carry around my tin audio t2s for when I'll be listening to music for an extended period of time. But in most cases, the convenience of not dealing with a cord and being able to pause/skip with a tap outweighs the loss in sound quality.

With the old wired ones you can also play/pause/skip/change volume/use a mic/whisper your fantasies to siri/etc. I mean all you really get with these is not having to deal with 2.5' of wire, at the cost of having to charge them and the whole $160 business

Apple has been doing that with headphones ever since the iPod came out. iPod commercials featured black silhouetted people with the bright white headphone and cord contrasted on top[0]. Like AirPods today, it used to be a status symbol to have white headphones as that basically meant they came from Apple.

[0] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlHUz99l-eo

Yes. These commercials are what I was thinking about in this thread. Apple was marketing the CORD as a status symbol a decade ago.

Are you talking about the earpods? I just bought the iPhone XR and I got the earpods but I didn't see any lightning adaptor. Now I have two earphones, one that only works on my phone and another that only works on my laptop - it's a real pain.

Perhaps it's an XR thing. My X and my wife's new XS both had the adapter.

Look on the back of the EarPods. It's attached to the cardboard carrier.

> my wife's new XS

Are you sure about that? I’m pretty sure iPhone XS didn’t come with this.

XS max owner, I did not get an adapter with mine.

There are wired headphones included in every iPhone box.

I would have bought AirPods regardless of an audio jack (I love them to death), but am furious about the removal nonetheless. It isn't often that I find myself needing the jack, but whenever I do it's infuriating, either to have to go hunt for the adapter, or to just not have the ability to export audio at all in that circumstance.

It isn't often that we achieve a universal connector format with basically no downsides (how many iterations of USB have there been now?), but we actually accomplished it with the 1/8" audio jack, and it's exasperating to see that coordination equity be so "bravely" discarded.

I am in the same boat. I am still using my iPhone 6 because of the headphone jack. But I have AirPods and use them daily. Not going to upgrade phone until USB-C is an option (maybe never?).

I use to teach fitness classes even before the iPhone was a thing. Even then I used a 30 pin to 1/8" adapter so I could get line level output. I also had a cassette adapter with a 30 pin connector for my car. I could hit fast forward and rewind on the cassette player and it would fast forward the audio on the iPod. When I took the adapter out or stopped the car, the iPod stopped. Of course these days even my cheap low end car has Bluetooth.

I would just carry a lightning to headphone cord (not adapter) if I were still teaching.

Anyone who bought an iPhone without a headphone jack got a pair of Lightning compatible wired headphones in the box.

If they bought Airpods they decided against using those headphones, getting a Lightning-headphone adapter to use with their favorite wired headphones, or buying any other type of bluetooth headphones.

No, Apple had a vision for perfect usability. It had no wires for the ear pods so no need for a standard jack.

Many people using something is only a direct indication of popularity, assuming the reason for said popularity without external information is wrong.

I'm not sure where you are from but there is a high chance what you see is not representative.

Also, Baader-Meinhof phenomenon and all that.

Apple is a lifestyle brand now, the technology aspect of their products is irrelevant to many of their customers.

AirPods are so convenient compared to wired earbuds for me, I’d say they’re in my top 3 electronics purchases of last year. They’re not simply a “lifestyle brand” as you’re dismissing them as.

Do you somehow imply that wireless earbuds didn't exist lol? We've had them for _years_. I used to go to the pool with a set that was also _water-proof_ like 3 years ago, watch out for the _new_ waterproof airpods coming out!

Apple products are lifestyle-brand, that's why you compared AirPods to wired earbuds despite the fact there were many AirPods-like products from other brands and Chinese no-brands before AirPods - you just didn't care until Apple announce their own version.

Apple products _are_ a lifestyle brand, and my lifestyle is buying a charger without worrying that it's a crappy piece of shit that will overheat and set my house on fire, or setting up a new system without downloading and installing a bunch of drivers by hand, and being able to walk into one of three flagship stores in Toronto for service, or any of a dozen authorized service centres.

Some people enjoy being their own sysadmins and customizers. That's their lifestyle choice. Every product choice is a lifestyle choice.

No. Other brands have weird Bluetooth bugs, sketchy reliability (compared to generally rock solid Apple products), or don’t integrate nearly as tightly with my iPhone.

I didn’t buy them because they’re a “lifestyle”, I bought them because they’re the best on the market.

No, they're not the same, they're the first bluetooth device that I've used that actually works flawlessly enough to be worth using at all. It has nothing to do with aesthetic design.

Point me to a truly wireless, charging-from-case set of earbuds released before AirPods.

I'll wait.

I had Bragi Dash headphones and took them back within 24 hours. The set up took me like 4 hours. Then the sound quality was so terrible it made my head spin....the sound quality was noticeably worse than even my earpods at the time. Also you had to have your phone in your right pocket otherwise you'd lose the connection. Walk three feet away and also lose connection.

The reviews are not great for Bragi Dash headphones at that time either. I though people were just hating but it turns out the reviews were accurate in this case.

I mean, these were literally 76% more expensive ($299) than AirPods ($169) at launch with similar BT quality according to reviews.


Being deeply into buying "the most powerful technology," or "the most customizable technology" is also a lifestyle choice and tribal signalling choice.

There is no "I'm above choosing things for their lifestyle or tribe membership implications" position to take.

I own QC35 and some Jaybirds X3. Went back and forth on buying the AirPods forever. Figured it'd be a waste of money. Did it anyway.

I LOVE them. Single-ear is the killer use for me, I used them bike commuting in my non-traffic ear, and i frequently listen to a podcast in just one ear. It sounds stupid, but it's SO much more convenient than having another bud dangling from a cord like I'd have to with the Jaybirds.

And the difference between a hard plastic case and a floppy vinyl carrying pouch is the difference between something that is part of my every day kit, in my pants pocket, and something that sits.. at home.. in a drawer, probably. Somewhere. I have no idea where, frankly.

If you look at it through the status symbol / fashion statement lens it kind of make sense though.

Afaik other companies make similarly priced wireless buds with better sound quality and similar battery life.

I haven't heard of others with connectivity that is even close. The fact that the airpods simply work, even long distances from my charging phone in the office, make them very valuable to me.

I don't think that's the use case of all the < 18 years old getting in/out of the school I pass by daily on my way to work but welp.

You create the use case of needing extra range while charging the phone because audio over bluetooth significantly reduce the battery life in the first place. You shouldn't need to charge at the office even if you called non stop from 9 to 5.

Phone in pocket + wired headphones = unlimited range and > 20 hrs talk time.

Any recommendations? I’m also in the market for a pair of wireless noise canceling headphones.

Check out the Sony WH1000XM3. Ugly name but great noise cancelling, the sound quality is so much better than Bose, and I'm a big fan of the design. USB-C charging and very long battery life.

I would also suggest check out Bowers and Wilkins PX. Built like a tank and sound amazing.

Bose QC35

Huh? I think people buy these despite them looking a little goofy because they are quite convienent. Which company offers the best wireless pods in your mind?

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