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The next generation of AirPods (apple.com)
159 points by mr_o47 49 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 184 comments

I just discovered last week that on the Apple TV I can connect 2 apple audio devices at the same time.

Currently staying with the in laws, daughter is sleeping in the same room with us so we couldn’t watch TV.

I connected my wife’s AirPods to the Apple TV to watch tv and noticed I could connect another one, so I borrowed my sister in laws AirPods and connected them and both work at the same time. So now we can watch TV together when daughter is asleep.

It only works with apple audio devices, so looks like I’ll pick up some new AirPods for myself!

Edit: contacted > connected

For people who are interested in this and don't have/want to buy apple stuff: the Chromecast 4k allows this with any bluetooth audio device. It definitely is a super handy feature!

Chromecast Bluetooth was prohibitively laggy in my experience.

Any experienced to the contrary, I wonder?

I was also pretty disappointed with my chromecast in general, but bluetooth audio was fine. Not great, but fine.

I haven't tried doing this with Apple TV, but iPhones also let you share your audio with a second pair of AirPods.

This is great. I love watching stuff with my wife on airplanes.

I've been doing this with an Nvidia Shield 4k tv for so long I cant watch tv without headphones.

Does it really only work with Apple headphones?

That's terrible. I like Apple products but I hate the way they push to make things proprietary that could be open standard.

I guess that makes services "sticky" for a lot of people but it pushes me away from the ecosystem,

Apple should want their customers to choose their products because they’re better. Arbitrarily reducing compatibility is a sure fire way to make your customers resent you.

It’s less that they are reducing compatibility and more that they saw limitations in BlueTooth and built extensions into their devices to handle additional use cases.

the whole point of apple is that they choose for you

And vice-versa:

> AirPods require Apple devices running iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, watchOS 8.1, tvOS 15.1, or macOS Monterey, all available as free software updates next week.

Playstation 4 (maybe also the 5? I can't get ahold of one, so I dunno) controllers have a headphone jack on them that can be used this way, I think. Route the audio through the (bluetooth) controller, to whatever you've plugged in to it.

I think some higher-end Rokus can route audio through their remote control, to plugged-in headphones.

All Roku devices (and Roku TVs) should be able to route audio through the app to attached or wireless headphones as well. This might work with Share Audio on iPhones so you can have two people listening at once, but I've never tried.

last time I tried it , I found Roku audio via the app to be very laggy and sound cutting out often. This is despite having good wireless signal and no lag from anything else that uses wifi for steaming.

that's too bad. it worked well for me, but I never used it regularly.

Oh yeah, I forgot about routing Roku audio through phones. I've seen that on the remote app.

My Samsung TV has this feature.

Warning: I purchased AirPods 1st gen and after a firmware update, they just stopped working. They disconnect after a few minutes. It's been over a year and this hasn't been fixed. This seems to be a widespread issue (see links below) - but at the Apple store they just tell you to buy replacements for almost full price.

I'm quite frustrated with this and thus won't purchase these again. I think they are designed to last a year or two max, which is just too expensive and environmentally unfriendly.






https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEyTDJJ6GPc (see all the comments)

i have this issue. it’s super frustrating, because a reconnect is required every 5-10 minutes.

For me it's down to a few seconds, especially on phone calls. They're unusable.

Same here. Even if they fixed it the battery is half dead.

So I wont purchase any Wireless EarPhone again. I dont like the idea of disposable earphone.

Apple Marketing sometimes can be incredulous:

>"First with our contour design that delivers sound directly to your ears"

What does that even mean?!? These are in-ear headphones, how else are they supposed to deliver sound?

Feels silly to have such a comment to make a two point slide.

They like to make the page a certain size, and when there are only a few improvements over the previous generation… they get creative.

Our white plastic has the highest albedo ever!

The point is, they didn't get that creative this time.

Then the flavor of the cheeseburger was delivered, right in my mouth!

> "First with our contour design that delivers sound directly to your ears"

Google shows this thread as the only place this quote exists. What Apple does say is, "Apple today announced the third generation of AirPods [marketing speak deleted] in a new contoured design", the benefit being that it "[sits] at just the right angle for comfort and to direct audio into the ear".

This is a reference to the previous design of AirPods, which worked great for some people and not well for others (I was in the latter group). The implication is that the new design will be more comfortable for more people.

No, the "delivers sound directly to your ears" is a direct quote from the event (I watched the whole thing). You can also find it on The Verge's live blog (they caught that silly quote too) - https://www.theverge.com/2021/10/18/22731639/apple-2021-macb...

they _could_ project sound outward, using beam forming, such that the sound ricochets off of the walls and other surrounding objects and is directed onto the bones behind your ear. I'm not saying that would work, but it's an option!

Pretty sure that these are the only ones with their contour design, so I suppose this is truth in advertising.


As much as I liked my AirPods gen 1 and the features seem tempting, my personal experience with battery longevity on Apple headphones are not great. I’ve so far had the BeatsX, Beats Studio3 and AirPods. Almost all of them completely died within a year of purchase. The AirPods still work but using them is pointless since the battery life dropped to less than an hour so I just haven’t bothered. Mind you, this is not because I’m such a heavy user, I listen to music once or twice a week at most through headphones so it doesn’t seem like this should have happened.

It’s kind of a shame because I really like the AirPods Pros for example, but if I don’t have a guarantee that I can get them repaired when this eventually happens then I feel like my money is better spent elsewhere.

I am quite astonished as I have the opposite experience. My Airpods only go flat during long phone calls of more than two hours and I had them for at least a year before the Covid lockdown.

You have a larger n than I do, but still I am surprised that they would wipe out after a year.

I didn't really use them for voice calls myself.

I readily admit that I might just have been extremely unlucky, I don't know. I really didn't like having to throw headphones away just because they simply wouldn't turn on anymore so I'm just very wary of spending money on these headphones right now, especially since Sony WM-1000s are hovering at a similar price point and my experience with those has been very positive: almost 3 years in now and the pair of mk2s I have works perfectly.

If the battery was replaceable, even by professionals, I'd be far more likely to consider getting a new pair just because I miss them... and really, It's kind of a shame because the form factor and general operation of AirPods is really lovely, in my opinion. I was at first ready to be disappointed because they looked very similar to the wired ones Apple used to include with their devices which were awful, but I was very positively surprised.

There is a company that does battery replacement. I think they swap yours for a reconditioned one or pair, and then service the ones you sent in.

That's pretty cool, sadly I'm in Eastern Europe so that's no option for me but it sounds so cool when you have the option!

I'll add one to that n:

I have a pair of airpods I got with my new job. Within a year they lasted less than 2h and never even at the start lasted longer than 3h. When playing D&D with friends I had to use one at a time and rotate them out to last the whole session.

Are they small? Yes. I don't expect INCREDIBLE battery out of them. But my wife has a pair of Bose equivalent and they last like 6h a day on a single charge and continue to do so 3 years later. They are slightly larger which accounts for longer initial charge but the degredation on my airpods was stunningly bad. I ended up having to replace them this year (1.5y later) for a new set because they were no longer capable of supporting my work meeting schedule.

Same for me. My AirPods gen 1 are still going strong. I use them about 4-5 hours every day monday-Friday.

I like my wired, ordinary earphones. They are low tech, cheap and reliable. When I pick them up from my pocket, I may have to spend a few moments to untangle then, but it is usually just a few seconds. After some months the wires start to go bad. Then I use a new pair. But such a pair costs very little.

I don't know what I am missing, but I think I would be frustrated if expensive wireless earphones run out of battery when I need them, or lose their ability to hold charge, or I lose them. It is a worry I don't mind to live without. I am probably just a cheap grumpy old man....

Honestly until you try wireless, you won't understand just how much better the user experience is to not have a wire.

Honestly until you have to suffer battery problems, you won't understand just how much better the user experience is to have a wire.


Having no battery on your headphone when you want to use it right now is extremely frustrating indeed.

However headphones with 50+ hours of playing time actually exist nowadays. And this makes life so much easier. Besides that I bought one of those charging cables where the tip is detachable[0] and use that to charge my headphone.

Even on linux things mostly works! Just remember to restart your machine after every system update and don't move your headset between devices. I only use linux so I don't know how true is that statement for other environments.

If you really need to use the same headphone for multiple devices you should look for a wired solution.

All in all I don't think wireless headphones have a worse user experience, it is just a tradeoff. And to be clear, both my headphones and my smartphone have a p2 jack. This is what I call having a cake and eating it too.

[0] - https://www.amazon.com/Terasako-Magnetic-Charging-Cable-5-Pa...

I was on this boat too until the Airpods pro. I'm much happier without the wire in virtually all cases, despite occasional bluetooth hiccups

>Bluetooth hiccups.

I have AirPods Pro and I’m impressed with how amazing they are (I have a pair of LCD-X, I’m particular about audio equipment). One funny side efffect of using 2.4GHz Bluetooth is when I use the old microwave at work it makes my connection choppy and unusable. Quite funny figuring that out until it occurred to me ;)

The only thing that bothers me with my various Airs-pod is that they sometimes want to connect to other devices (or, more accurately, other devices want to connect to them)..for example I'll be on a call with my Airpods Max connected to my phone, and I'll lean a little too close to my desk and this little dialog pops up on my iPad wanting to connect to them...or I'll move my phone a little bit and a little dialog pops up asking if it should connect to my home pod...but it's a very minor annoyance that is almost comical now.

I finally settled on the HyperX Cloud Flight S.

They have wireless charging, so whenever I put them down on my desk they are charging. I have a separate high quality mic on my desk so I don't have a dangly thing in my face.

I only use the headphones in the study or wandering around the house so it's the perfect solution for me. (I did need to tweak PulseAudio to lower the latency).

Been trying for years - both. Still do. Not on a single day I’ll pick a wireless (read it Bluetooth, because that’s it is) over wired.

Sound is worse, reliability is worse, power consumption is worse (and phone’s becomes worse as well) - I know a certain kind of users/fans have ready answer for this “duh! use a pocket nuclear reactor”, cost is worse, repairability is worse, usually looks worse. There you go.

AirPods use Apple’s proprietary W1/H1 chip for pairing, and it seems to make BT more reliable somehow. The impact of BT on the phone’s battery life is negligible.

As for sound quality, the Pros or a Sony WF/MDR are quite good. If you’re noticing significant reduction in quality you’re either choosing low quality ones or something else in the audio chain is wrong.

I actually prefer the Sony to any of my wired headphones (AT, Roland, Etymotic, Philips SHP) most of the time. The noise canceling and ability to turn my head / move about more than offset any loss in quality - which I’m unlikely to notice while working anyway.

Headphones are the use case I use the most to introduce people (usually younger people and students) to the benefits of low tech and overall to the benefits of less.

I strongly agree with you. My headphones are 10€, last forever and I have 2 pairs in a drawer. I'm still 100€ below the cheapest airPods and no one ever complained.

My phone is 5 years old, but since it does what I want: email, WhatsApp/Signal, Spotify, Podcast, Maps... I can stand having less shiny pictures of my kids. I don't care, I'm still having the moments, pics are just the reminder, and their sharpness is just secondary.

> My headphones are 10€, last forever and I have 2 pairs in a drawer.

Amusingly and while I have never used airpod and generally get the gist of your idea, headphones are probably one of the product with the largest difference between entry level and mid-range in my experience . I can’t hear the difference between a 100$ and a 1000$ headphone but the 10$ one is easy to spot.

Agreed. My line of thought is that I don't want to isolate from the outsides because I don't like it and it's dangerous. So cheap is enough outside.

In more controlled environments (home, office), isolation is either a requirement (focus on meetings) or a pleasure (music) so I go for it and spend more on these areas.

I mainly just use them when I run on the treadmill. The wire gets a little annoying since I don't have a shirt on to tuck it into.

I generally prefer wired, but there are some annoying pain points that wireless solves. Tangled cables! Working out is SO much better with AirPods, you don't even need to have your phone on your person at all.

Sony MDR-J10 earphones were the most comfortable listening experience ever created, and I regularly forgot I was even wearing them. Shame they're no longer being made and no TWS earbuds have tried to imitate their design.

I managed to get a new phone with a headphone jack, but it's "wrong" somehow and the plugs just pop out.

> I am probably just a cheap grumpy old man...

That makes two of us then.

I just want a pair of airpods that allow me to have a conversation outdoors. I'm always getting feedback that the ambient noise makes it difficult for people to hear me talk. I can't even do the dishes while on a call without people complaining.

I believe iOS 15 includes a little-touted feature: "Voice Isolation" mode; I haven't tested it comprehensively, but other similar technology (e.g. RNNoise [1]) has very impressive results in the scenarios you allude to.

[1] https://jmvalin.ca/demo/rnnoise/

I wish I could upvote this 10x. I don't know what Apple does with their processing, but the quality of the Airpods microphone is very poor (the worst I've ever heard). Especially outside, but even indoors.

I'm commenting to see if that's everyone's experience, or if we're outliers.

I think many people have that issue. Voice isolation mode, new to iOS 15, helps.

By chance I bought a Sennheiser headset for Zoom calls, and the real killer feature is a high quality mic with firmware noise cancellation. At the time I was in a hurry and bought the most expensive Senn's I could find on Amazon, and lucked out. I've had two people at work ask me what I use. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J8ME6QA

I think the key difference is the microphone boom. If a microphone is close to your mouth, then most of the ambient noise cancellation is done.

I assumed this as well before I had an issue with the device where the firmware somehow got corrupt and I had to update it. Without the firmware noise cancellation, people complained that they could hear everything, the creaking of my wooden floor every rustle of every piece of paper and so on. But once I fixed the firmware all of that went away. That said I think you're right and putting the mic closer to your mouth is probably a good thing in general

I've had better luck with the Jabra Elite wireless earbuds. Less complaints of background noise or muffled voices than the AirPods I tried using for a very brief period.

Try to pair them again! My girlfriend said the same thing, as if my voice was attenuated instead of the other way around. All it took was re-pairing them.

I have this problem too. A shame as walking the dog is a good time to catch up on phone calls

They kept the case design that requires two hands to operate and prevents installing a tether clip.

I have both AirPods Pro and Bose SoundSport. The AirPods Pro have good noise-cancelling. But the SoundSport clip to my shirt and so are always available. I can use one hand to put the right-side in my ear and press one button to turn them on and answer. I can also remove both earbuds and drop them. The tether keeps them in place on my shirt. I use the SoundSport almost exclusively and rarely touch my AirPods Pro.

It is really frustrating to put the airpods in with one hand, when you have already answered and holding the phone with the other. Happens all the time.

A spatial audio implementation could range from mind blowing to meh. I want to hear one that can reach this level:


This was done with a physical device rather than a calculated HRTF, and always impressed me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA

Wow, I did not know my headphones could do that! What's this announcement then if this is already possible?

Binaural recording and spatial audio are not the same thing. The linked track is a binaural recording.

This was a recording with a head-shaped microphone, for spatial audio you have to implement the HRTF:


At the end of the day it's still 2 speakers. I get doing spacial audio effects on a soundbar, but for headphones its all just how well you can translate the effect to 2 close speakers.

Fwiw you only have two ears.

Headphones are really, truly different because you take the room out of the equation, and the listener is always exactly in the sweet spot.

I have AirPod Pros, and like them a lot because the tips I've chosen fit just fine and the ANC is great. I also like regular Apple earbuds (and those that copy their design) because they are super-comfortable, though they don't cancel any sound.

I don't have a need for these, as the spatial sound isn't anything I need and I have a half dozen standard Apple or Apple-inspired earbuds that work just fine.

I wonder how these will fit my ears.

The current design fits my ears perfectly whereas the pros or any other soft-tip earbuds work there way out of my ears.

This is the $64,000 question. I would love to get the longer battery life, but the pros don't fit me and these look more pro-like.

Similar boat. I know it is a 50/50 love/hate in terms of fit (understandably so, because not everyone has the same ear shape), but I personally loved original Airpods in terms of fit. They fit my ears perfectly, I could jump/run/etc., and they wouldn't move even a tiny bit.

But with Airpod Pros, no matter which eartips I used, they would always not feel 100% correctly, and would move by a tiny tiny amount if I was actively moving, and over time I would need to readjust them in the ear once in a while.

The new ones they've shown today look more like Airpods Pro, but with a fit closer to the original Airpods, which I would (admittedly selfishly) be really happy with.

As another data point, something about the original AirPods made my ears hurt. It was like sitting on a concrete bench - ok at first but before long they felt physically painful. I had to use them one ear at a time so the other ear could recover. Swapping to airpod pros fixed that for me - the silicon tips are way more comfy for my ear shape.

No ear caps is instant no buy for me - I literally cannot keep the previous AirPods in my ear and if I do it causes aching, while I can use the pro’s without issue. Or is it just a refresh of the original AirPods?

For me, it's the exact opposite: my ears are too small, so ear caps give me bruises and make the earphones fall all the time.

It fascinates me to see how people can have completely different experiences for a product as basic as an earphone.

I can’t upvote this hard enough. The spongy tips ARE the killer feature of the pro. They are comfortable and they stay in my ears when I exercise!

This is a refresh of the original AirPods. The Pros are the ones with the in ear caps.

I kinda don’t get the branding then, why are the pro’s a completely different fit AND different sound quality, like wouldn’t you want a choice in ear fit to exist for both regular and pro?

The in-ear fit works in conjunction with the ANC. The regular AirPods are for people who don't want noise to be cancelled, either passively or actively.

+1, these things (gen1) make my ear ache after only a few minutes and fall out like crazy. Luckily, I just tried a family members' so it's not too big a deal, but had I bought these...

This seems to be a refresh of the original.

I had the same worry before I bought my AirPods, but I was very surprised that I don't have any problem with them staying put.

I can even weight lift or row with them.

I’ve worn Shure ~280$ in ear wires earphones for years, and with the right temperature sensitive foam inserts they passively block more sound than my AirPods Pro do. And they provide better sound quality.

Maybe these new AirPods have better sound and battery, but from a minimalist perspective they are still unnecessary. If you talk on the phone a lot, maybe I see the value. But the wired Apple headphones work fine for that, and they don’t randomly stop working while you’re on a call.

I'm not intending to be flippant here - I love my AirPods and other Apple gear - but this reads like they took the AirPod Pros and rebranded them as the next generation of AirPod. I'm not seeing what's actually new here. Can someone in the know throw me a bone if there's something I'm overlooking?

I think for non-marketing technical folks, these are best described thus:

“Here are the AirPods Pro internals translated to the regular AirPods form factor, without the noise-cancelling and modular-tips, for $50 less.”

And Find My built in in case you lose them.

The external form is much more like the original AirPods, not the AirPods Pro. They did reduce the length of the control tips. They switched the controls from tap on the body to squeeze on the control tips.

Just don’t use them for your zoom calls. Use the company issued headset. Your colleagues will thank you.

AirPods microphones are atrocious.

Just one day before the new Pixel 6 launch...

Yes I’m sure Apple timed it that way on purpose :-)

How do these compare with the Jabra 85t's? I'm in the market for new audio. I will use them for jogging, lifting and general calls while walking around.

The AirPod killer feature is integration across all Apple devices.

If you have exact needs for audio quality, you can always find better ones.

But if you want to get off your MacBook, walk over to your Apple TV and get your headphones connected to it with one click on the remote, then AirPods are your thing.

Yep, but it’s super janky. I can’t count the number of times I’ve put my AirPods on for a zoom call only to have my phone and my laptop fight about which device is connected. Sometimes I’ve ended up turning Bluetooth off on my phone and manually associating them with my laptop just to get them to work.

It’s a great feature, but I really wish they took the time to make it reliable.

I have Jabra bluetooth headphones (full-size, not earbuds) and have taken to turning off Bluetooth on my MacBook to get them to work on my Windows machine, which will connect but not play any audio through them otherwise. Some device pairs work fine, some work fine until the other device plays a sound and then can't recover, others (my Windows gaming box) just don't work if something else is connected at all.

Apple has a pretty generous return policy. Get them and return them if you don't like them.

Why isn't there a way to mute? I'd love to be able to configure one of the buttons to mute me when clicked. Fingers crossed for the next gen I guess.

You can just take them out or pause your music?

I think they meant mute their mic. I could be wrong.

It would be cool if you could mute yourself while on calls - it would be possible within the apple ecosystem at least. Pause during media, mute during calls. Something. Or maybe if it could be customizable, I'd like that. Different actions for different modes.

You can mute on software in the phone app already. I suppose what's missing is if you need to frequently mute you wouldn't want to use the screen and would rather a physical button?

I've certainly never run into that issue myself, or if I know I need to mute a lot, I just have my phone out and press the screen.

But I believe a key aspect of the Airpods is that I don't constantly have to have my phone out. I can be walking around or riding a bike or shopping and still listening and speaking - when needed - to my conference call.

Exactly! Why would amyotrophic even have a use case where they’d want to mute these without taking these off. Doesn’t make sense. Or as you rightly said pause it from the phone. “You get it”!

In the press release Apple talks about AAC-ELD codec being included on these earbuds, promising high-def low-latency audio.

I wonder if that's true. My biggest gripe with the industry ever since the death of 3.5mm jack has been voice/video call audio quality on BT HSP profile.

It's probably just a marketing blurb, but whoever manages to fix BT voice audio will be my personal hero.

Well Apple has been using AAC-ELD in FaceTime for a few years already. I wonder if this is ELD v2.

Cool that they look like Pros now, i.e. not like you put Braun toothbrush heads in your ear.

What I desperately need is a way to place an Airtag in the charger. Yes, I lost a pair of Airpod Pros some months ago. No idea where they are, perhaps somebody stole them or perhaps I just lost them in the house.

The last time this happened to me, I waited until it was night time and very quiet and started to play music through them at max volume.

I lost mine in a recent house move and they don't show up anywhere in the Find My app. I had to buy a pair of £10 knock offs just so I can listen to podcasts while walking the dog, however these have the added bonus of not falling out my ear at every possible opportunity.

> What I desperately need is a way to place an Airtag in the charger.

There are at least a couple AirPods charger cases with integrated AirTag slots. It would've been nice if this functionality was integrated into the charger.

Since these are rated for IPX4, does that mean you can clean them by washing with something that will dissolve ear wax? Could you clean them in your dishwasher?

I have some of the original AirPods and I've never felt like I can get them thoroughly clean.

No, it means it can handle a small splash of water not a dishwasher cycle.

I have washed my AirPods pro twice when I forget they were in my pocket (outside the case), full washer and dryer cycles, and they still work.

Unfortunately our experiences are different here! Mine went through a wash and although they still kind of worked ANC was ruined (it would buzz) and the audio quality was pretty terrible.

Apparently at the Apple store they have some kind of putty they stick the Airpods into to get the gunk out of the grilles.

I wonder, how do they implement the head tracking? Radars? MEMS Gyroscopes?

Airpods pro have 3axis accelerometer and 3axis gyroscope in each receiver


Also custom radio chips in both headphones that are able to measure latency to the source. Maybe some motion detection.

I wonder what exactly the restrictions will be when you don’t want to upgrade to i(Pad)OS 15. I guess I’ll find out next week.

The TL;DR on these is "AirPods Pro without ANC", but comparing the two models there are more slight differences such as skin detection and longer battery life.

Given that, the $180 price point is odd because the Pros occasionally drop to that level on sale.

The new AirPods (and now the old Pros) now have a "MagSafe Wireless Case" which is compatible with the MagSafe charger supposedly, although there isn't more info on that/if it's just Qi charging with no magnets.

The gen 2 AirPods had a Qi compatible case, I would imagine they wouldn’t remove that feature.

MagSafe wireless just means there is a ring of magnets around the Qi charging plate to make it easier and more reliable to align your device on the charger.

I wonder what the skin detection is for?

The current AirPods use optical detection to detect when it's put into an ear: presumably skin detection is better.

To play when you insert / pause when you remove.

They've always done that without a skin detection sensor though

What is spatial audio? That the sound sounds like it has an origin?

If so, why is it useful/wanted?

Imagine having a surround sound system.

Now put on your headphones and you still have that surround sound system.

That's why it's useful / wanted. Video gamers use spatial audio to know where that person shooting at them is.

Audio listeners like the illusory effects of panning around their head.

ASMR listeners like how it can sound exactly like someone is scratching their head because the sound has origin.

Movie producers like it because they can fit more audio into a single scene because the brain can process more spatial audio than regular stereo audio.

That said, stereo audio is still pretty good. Some audio is still just mono. Copied audio is usually mono.

Spatial audio is one way for producers to set their creations off from cheap copies, almost as a non-intrusive form of DRM.

These are my opinions, and happy to chat more about it. Audio is tight.

> Now put on your headphones and you still have that surround sound system.

If your ears match the modeled ears within a certain degree of "normal". Otherwise, you get a confusing sounding mess.

It's unfortunate, but it's (yet) another 80/20 problem.


Do you have any links of ASMRists using Spatial Audio?

>Apple and the Environment

Hilarious section for an expensive product that has a non removable battery and is going to end up in a landfill after a year or two of use.

A year or two seems implausibly low but I would also compare this with the competition. For example, I have some great AKG headphones (over-ear, wired) which cost more even before adjusting for inflation — the audio quality is absolutely stellar but all of the plastic started falling apart after a couple of years. I've replaced the covers over the ears but now the non-replaceable cable shroud and padding on the crossbar are disintegrating, too.

They probably weigh 10 times more than a pair of AirPods so I'm not sure what the total landfill impact ends up like. I am 100% certain that we will need to have regulation requiring manufacturers to recycle dead products if we want to move the needle at all. I'd also be utterly shocked if AirPods were even 0.1% of the total landfill volume generated by the average buyer over that period — higher for certain trace metals but still, this seems like a newer spin on “I don't even own a TV”.

Volume seems like the wrong metric when airpods are full of batteries and electronics which are very resource and energy intensive. Energy production cost would be better. With the AKG headphones you could repair them if you felt like it. Apple doesn't let you choose. A good pair of headphones could last decades while the glued in battery in the airpods gives it a definite lifespan.

That isn’t the only competition though. I have a lot of headphones and my favorite pair hasn’t fallen apart in 10 years.

Sure, my previous ones lasted a long time, too. My point was simply that there's a weird trend to talk about this as an Apple thing rather than the global trend across most industries it actually is.

Well, because apple either started those practices or at least was the main responsible to popularize it.

That's a pretty big claim to just toss out without any supporting evidence. I have plenty of discarded electronics going back to the 90s saying this trend wasn't started by Apple and since my Apple devices have tended to last longer than average I'd really want to see the details of your analysis.

I appreciate the concern, but the waste generated by a pair of AirPods for 1-2 years of use seems like nothing compared to all the plastic bottles the average American goes through in a week.

Size can be deceiving when you don't factor in the materials used. Electronics are full of silicon and rare earths which have a far greater impact than even a bunch of bottles.

Silicon is almost inert chemically. Rare earths are not particularly toxic. If you are concerned, you can drop your dead AirPods off at an Apple store and they will recycle some of the materials.

You can bring them back to an Apple Store or ship them back to Apple for recycling [1]. I dropped off a few old devices and batteries at my local Apple Store - it's very easy, especially now that they often have an employee standing outside of the store, just hand it to them and go about your day.

[1] https://9to5mac.com/2019/05/30/how-to-sell-recycle-airpods/

Do they recycle or send to a landfill? Does recycling mean sending it to a 3rd world country where it's smelted down in backyard shops giving everyone in the area cancer? Of the 3 R's recycle comes last. If we could upgrade and repair our devices it would go a long way to cutting down on ewaste.

That was 'a stunt' which 'makes no economic sense'


I like the iFixit people, but that article is pretty bad.

One of the reasons this list as a failure is this:

> People aren’t giving Apple back their phones, because old iPhones are worth dramatically more on the used market than the material cost

Would they really rather see people recycling rather than reusing?

Also, why would it have to make economic sense? Sometimes companies do things because it's the right thing to do.

Generally companies have a fiduciary obligation.

I don't understand your critique.

Yes reuse is better than recycling, so what's the point of Apple's recycling program if someone will buy to reuse. Any phone given to Apple to recycle is one that could have been reused. Furthermore what's the point of building a robot to recycle new iPhones that still have value instead of old ones. It also sounds underutilized if so few phone make it back. Notice how Apple doesn't break it down by model for what phones they receive back. I'd wager that most of the phones Apple gets back are the new ones from trade in. Apple is also very aggressive about making sure their products end up in landfills. https://www.theverge.com/apple/2020/10/4/21499422/apple-sues...

If a company does something that is right, but loses money, shareholders will sue it.

Anybody can sue for any reason. Doesn't mean they will win.

Companies give lots of money to all kinds of causes that have no possibility of any financial return. Apple isn't special in this regard and they aren't getting sued for it.

Almost all corporate charity is in return for tax breaks.

Sure, but the break isn't terribly big. Certainly not enough to justify giving away money. US corporations (especially big tech companies) often pay well under 20%. If they give $100 to the local children's hospital, they are down $80+.

Yeah my airpods died after like a year and a half of use. When my brand new M1 macbook air died after a month of use I took it to the apple store and the "genius" next to me told someone with dead airpods that it's normal and that they have to buy a replacement pod.

Yeah I got AppleCare for AirPods because I was told they just replace it completely vs only replacing the battery. And I’ve heard the battery will not keep up high capacity if you use it daily a lot as I do

Seems like PodSwap have figured out how to replace the batteries without butchering them. (I’m not affiliated nor used them.)


Taking what used to be free (replacing batteries in your remote/phone/device) and turning it into a service. Now that's innovation!

Landfill as a Service^TM. Apple is truly a very dirty company.

How much waste is in an AirPod compared to literally anything else plastic?

@dang can we get a less editorialized title (this one only highlights one of the new features)? And one that uses proper capitalization?

Something like "AirPods (3rd generation)" would also match the other Apple-announcement posts that are currently on the front page.

Ok, I've changed the title—submitted title was "Apple new airpods with Spatial Audio". I don't know that that was so bad, since it's the feature Apple is emphasizing, but it's not a big deal.

I was more concerned with the lazy capitalization but thank you for changing anyway :)

I can't get behind any $180 pair of earbuds that doesn't have some kind of form-fitting ear tips (silicone or otherwise).

The AirPods Pro are a great product, but this update to the base model is really disappointing.

Preferences vary; I don't like form fitting ear tips, I prefer old school earbuds, like air pods or ear pods.

I didn't want to miss out on spatial audio, so I'm excited by this update.

I've tried every single form-fitting ear tip type, model and brand barring custom-molded ones. I've tried cheap ones, I've tried expensive ones ($300-ish).

Every. Single. One. falls right out of my ears if I do anything else than sit quietly without moving my head.

Regular wireless AirPods? They stay in no matter what I do. Sweating like Jordan Peele in the meme? They stay in. Running? Stay in.

Do they have active noise cancelling?

Also, 6 hours listening is a bad joke, that‘s not even a standard workday. With battery aging that‘s soon not even half a workday anymore.

"a bad joke" is a silly overstatement - evidently you're in a very small minority there, or people wouldn't keep buying Airpods.

The pros have noise canceling. 6h non stop in your ears is to much if you ask me, take out em when your eating lunch and they'll be full again when you're done.

Or if you are in the office, they are in their case during meetings or when someone is talking to you at your desk. That's at least what I did when I was still in the office, and I used first gen Airpods which had worse battery life.

Yeah, I'm on my second year with my first gen and they're still great.

They charge super fast. You can get 1 hour of playback from 5 minutes of charging. You can also charge one at a time if you really need them continuously.

Ah now we're thinking with portals.. perhaps they can sell a set of 3 for this exact use?

If you're playing games or something that takes heavy focus, you want to stay ahead of charging, not wait for something to die l.

Gaming with BT headsets is a poor idea for so many reasons in general, so I have no idea why it was even considered.

If you are having prolonged gaming sessions, you are doing it at home, so use wired. If you are on the go and want to listen to music or watch videos, use wireless. If you want to have a short gaming session on your laptop in public, then yeah, sure, airpods will serve it just fine. Though in those 6 hours, you might want to take a 15min break or two. And in those 15 mins, it will charge for about an hour of battery charge on airpods.

It's like complaining that a Lambo is not good for carrying lots of cargo. Technically the truth, but that's not the use case at all.

They are not built for your use case, that is all.

I have a pair of airpods pro I use during commuting every day and they are one of my favourite gadgets.

when you get the 10% warning you pop the left ear out and charge it until the right ear dies. Then you put the left ear in and charge the right ear. 20 minutes later you put them both in again. Easy peasy.

Yeah, in three years with the Pros now (or whatever it is -- 2-3), I have basically never run out of batteries. You can always put one in the charger to charge while the other stays out.

Yeah I’ve had my pros for about 2 years now and I’ve clocked an obscene number of minutes of phone & zoom calls on them through the pandemic. Some days I was doing 12+ hours of calls on them.

The batteries last a bit over 3 hours and after all this time they’re still going strong. Except for handoff being janky, I’m delighted with them.

Im frankly confused with this announcement - it seems like they just rebranded AirPod pros as non-pro and called it a new device?

This lacks noise canceling. It has a new design and added MagSafe compatibility.

Mine have this rating approximately (AirPods Pros from ~1.5 years ago) and I worried about battery life.

It turns out a few minutes in the case will give you a lot of listening time. Have an in-person meeting? Any reason to put the AirPods away? Throw them in the case and they'll charge a significant amount in 15 or 30 minutes.

My problem ended up being defects which Apple said they would replace the AirPods for, but I need to take them to a certified Apple repair shop. When I did, the shop decided the defect wasn't present. So... I just live with it now.

It is entirely unnecessary to keep headphones on for 6 hours straight.

It doesn't look like these Airpods have noise cancelling. The compedition like the Samsung Buds2 have about 7.5 hours on a single charge with noise cancelling turned off and 5 hours when turned on.

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