Apple Debuts Wireless 'AirPods' With 5 Hours of Music Playback

Apple today announced a new pair of wireless "AirPods," which provide up to 5 hours of music playback and high-quality sound through a "seamless and automatic connection" between devices. The AirPods include a rechargeable battery case that delivers up to 24 hours of battery life.

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The AirPods connect instantly with a single tap and switch between iCloud-connected Apple devices on the fly. Playback is controlled by dual-optical sensors that "know when you are listening" and will pause music automatically when taken out. A double tap on the buds invokes Siri, allowing the user to select and control music, change the volume, check battery life or perform any other Siri task. This functionality is enabled by an ultra-low power Apple W1 chip inside, which also delivers higher quality audio, claims Apple.

"AirPods are the first headphones to deliver a breakthrough wireless audio experience, and with the new Apple W1 chip they deliver innovative features including high quality sound, great battery life and automatic setup," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "AirPods are simple and magical to use, with no switches or buttons, automatically connecting to all your Apple devices simply and seamlessly, and letting you access Siri with just a double tap. We can’t wait for users to try them with iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2."

Each AirPod also has an additional accelerometer that detects when the user is speaking, while a pair of beam-forming microphones focus on the sound of the user's voice and filters out external noise.

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The AirPods come with a Lightning cable for charging the case, and will be available to buy from late October in stores and online at a price of $159. The earphones require Apple devices running iOS 10, watchOS 3 or macOS Sierra.

The company also showcased a pair of new, lightning-connected EarPods at the media event in San Francisco. These wired headphones will be included in the box for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, along with a Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone adapter.

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