AirPods Impressions: Potential 'Game-Changer' With Good Design, but Will They Stay in the Ear?

To compensate for the lack of a 3.5mm headphone port on the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Apple yesterday introduced the "AirPods." The wireless headphones give users 5 hours of music playback, and come in a carrying case that doubles as a battery pack, holding an extra 24 hours of charge in a small, 2-inch tall frame.

Following the keynote presentation yesterday, Apple let a few members of the press test out its new pieces of hardware, including the iPhone 7, Apple Watch Series 2, and the AirPods. Although the noisy showroom made it tough for many journalists to judge the headphones' sound quality -- which Apple says is "rich, high quality AAC audio" -- many left impressed with the new technology, and curious to see how they'd perform on a day-to-day basis.

tc-airpods-2

Images via TechCrunch

TechCrunch noted the subtle advantages of AirPods and their existence in the Apple ecosystem, mainly the seamless way that the headphones pause music automatically whenever users take them out of their ears, and resume the same track when returned. The site was less sure of the design of the AirPods, particularly whether or not the small headphones would stay in place during jogs or other strenuous workouts, although the "long tail" of the AirPods "actually goes a ways toward helping them fit better in the ear."

It’s an interesting aesthetic choice, one that bucks the recent trend of fully wireless Bluetooth headphones, which are largely circular. These maintain the EarPods’ long tail, which actually goes a ways toward helping them fit better in the ear.

As far as how well they’ll actually stay in there if you, say, go for a jog, it’s hard to say, though the buds could certainly benefit for some sort of anchoring system akin to what you get on sportsbuds from companies like JayBird.

As a counter-argument to everyone's concerns over whether the AirPods can become dislodged while moving, USA Today digital editor Natalie DiBlasio posted a short video on Twitter to test out the AirPods' resistance to jumping and shaking around. Only 9 seconds long, DiBlasio's test is still interesting as proof that the AirPods appear lodged well enough in her ears as to resist her movement test, although a long run with more sweat and motion could prove a more daunting task for Apple's wireless headphones.

CNET's editors gave some of the more positive impressions of the AirPods, calling the new headphones "game-changers," with the caveat of the device living up to Apple's promised potential of high quality music and a consistent connection. There still remains worry over how different sized ears will work with the AirPods, which could cause unfortunately negative experiences for some users.

If they're as easy to pair with your phone and have as rock-solid a connection as Apple is saying they have, they're going to be game-changers. The fact is, once you go totally wireless, it's hard to go back to wires, and with Apple's backing behind this new type of headphone -- and a $159 price tag that's not too outrageous -- you may soon be looking at a lot people wearing the same white earbuds but with no wires between them.

tc-airpods-1
Wired left impressed with what the AirPods could do for the wireless headphone market, particularly in the hassle-free set-up process, but was noticeably more hopeful for "something that looks and sounds better" than the AirPods to come down the line in the future. For what Apple's made now, the site still noted that the AirPods were "much lighter" than other Bluetooth headphones, and they "nestled comfortably" in the ear.

I hope that AirPods don’t scare everyone else off from trying to make Bluetooth headphones. I don’t think they will, because they don’t sound good enough. And these aren’t the ones that will ship in the box with your iPhone 7; you get the standard EarPods when you buy an iPhone, which connect over Lightning now. (There’s also an adapter.) But hopefully Apple has set the bar for how easy it should be to connect Bluetooth headphones, and how responsive they should be. If someone can copy that, and make something that looks and sounds better, we might not miss the headphone jack at all.

Since the features of the AirPods are so focused, much of the other reactions and impressions for the device echo similar opinions as the ones we've collected above. It sounds like Apple's made a quality, if high-priced, pair of wireless headphones that might be aimed more at casual music listening than intense workouts, undoubtedly a market the new Beats headphones will help bolster. For more impressions on the AirPods, check out the sites below:

- Engadget
- Macworld
- The Verge
- The Telegraph

Related Roundup: AirPods 3
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Buy Now)
Related Forums: iPhone, AirPods

Top Rated Comments

Szarky Avatar
68 months ago
Wish they came in black :oops:
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Leonard1818 Avatar
68 months ago
These appear to be the same shape as the current earbuds.

I don't understand all of the "will these stay in my ears?" questions...

Did the earbuds in your recent iPhone(s) stay in? Yes? Then chances are these will too. No? Probably won't want to get these....

Why is this such a big question when we have a nearly identical product in our hands today?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
68 months ago
I'm not sold that these will be a game changer. I think the cost is too high, the battery life to short, not having them stay in your ear and it will be easy for you to lose them
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SandboxGeneral Avatar
68 months ago
CNET ('http://www.cnet.com/products/apple-airpods/preview/')'s editors gave some of the more positive impressions of the AirPods, calling the new headphones "game-changers," with the caveat of the device living up to Apple's promised potential of high quality music and a consistent connection.
"Game changer" isn't the first phrase that comes to my mind when thinking about these new things, especially considering the cost and a single available color. Wireless, regardless of which technology, isn't new and isn't a game changer anymore.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jimbobb24 Avatar
68 months ago
CNN says, "If they...[live up to marketing hype that essentially describes them behaving very similar to other high end bluetooth headphones].. they will be games changers." What game are they changing? Has gamechanger jumped the shark? The original iPhone was a gamechanger. New wireless headphones? C'mon.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dominicanyor Avatar
68 months ago
Those wireless airpods should of came with the iPhone instead of people buying them separate.Not Cool Apple!!!!!!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

Mac Notebook Upgrade Program

Apple Introduces New MacBook Upgrade Program for Business Partners

Monday November 29, 2021 7:38 am PST by
In association with CIT as the financing partner, Apple has launched a new Mac Upgrade Program for small businesses and Apple business partners that allow companies to easily distribute and upgrade their fleets of MacBooks at an affordable price to all of their workers. As outlined on CIT's website, shared by Max Weinbach, Apple Business Partners can distribute the 13-inch MacBook Pro,...
General cyber monday 20 sale feature

Best Cyber Monday Deals for AirPods, Apple Pencil, iMac, More

Monday November 29, 2021 4:19 am PST by
With Black Friday over, Cyber Monday 2021 is now in full swing and you can find many of the same sales as last week on Apple products like AirPods, Apple Pencil, and iPad Pro. In this article we're focusing on the best Cyber Monday discounts on Apple products like these and more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we...
2017 apple tv

Cyber Monday: Original Apple TV 4K Drops to $99.99 for Amazon Prime Members

Monday November 29, 2021 12:01 pm PST by
We've been tracking Apple product and accessory deals for Cyber Monday 2021 today, and now Woot is offering a solid discount on the previous generation 32GB Apple TV 4K. You can get this device in new condition for just $99.99 if you're an Amazon Prime member. Note that this sale will last for one day only. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
iphone holiday

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Friday November 26, 2021 4:58 am PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2021 sales have now carried over into Cyber Monday as well. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like iPhone SE. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate...
General cyber monday 20 sale feature 2

Best Cyber Monday Apple Accessory Deals Available Today

Monday November 29, 2021 6:41 am PST by
We started sharing deals on Apple products for Cyber Monday 2021 earlier today, and now we're tracking deals and bargains available from all of the best Apple accessory companies. Similar to Black Friday, you can expect Cyber Monday savings from Twelve South, Nomad, Belkin, Casetify, and many more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and...
iPhone SE Cosmopolitan Clean

New iPhone SE Reportedly on Track for Release in First Quarter of 2022

Tuesday November 30, 2021 8:08 am PST by
Apple plans to release a third-generation iPhone SE in the first quarter of 2022, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce. If this timeframe proves to be accurate, we can expect the device to be released by the end of March. As previously rumored, TrendForce said the new iPhone SE will remain a mid-range smartphone with added support for 5G:In terms of product development, Apple is...