AirPods Were Released Six Years Ago Today With 'Revolutionary' User Experience

Today marks the sixth anniversary of Apple releasing the original AirPods. The wireless headphones were first introduced alongside the iPhone 7 in September 2016, and they became available to customers on December 19, 2016 after being delayed.

Original AirPods iPhone 7
While there were already some wireless headphones on the market, AirPods helped to popularize the category thanks to deep integration with Apple devices.

"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," touted Apple's former marketing chief Phil Schiller. "We can't wait for users to try them with iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2."

Priced at $159, the first-generation AirPods introduced many core features, including one-tap pairing with Apple devices and in-ear detection for automatic playing and pausing of music. The headphones were powered by Apple's custom W1 chip, offering improved audio quality compared to Apple's wired EarPods headphones.

"This revolutionary experience is enabled by the new ultra-low power Apple W1 chip, which enables AirPods to deliver high-quality audio and industry-leading battery life in a completely wireless design," said Apple's press release for AirPods.

Apple went on to release second-generation and third-generation AirPods in March 2019 and October 2021 respectively, with better audio quality, longer battery life, hands-free "Hey Siri" support, an optional wireless charging case, and other improvements added over those years. Apple also launched the higher-end AirPods Pro in October 2019 with active noise cancellation, followed by the over-ear AirPods Max in December 2020. The latest AirPods are the second-generation AirPods Pro, released in September.

Related Roundup: AirPods 3
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Don't Buy)
Related Forum: AirPods

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Top Rated Comments

willyx Avatar
19 months ago
Still today they seem out of science fiction. I find incredible that they could fit so much technology (battery, speaker, microphones, chips, sensors) in such a tiny package.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dantracht Avatar
19 months ago
Got them on day one and have loved them ever since.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lounge vibes 05 Avatar
19 months ago
Whenever people say that Apple no longer innovates, these are the first products that I point to.
Truly the essence of Steve Jobs’s vision for products, literally “just works”.
And yes, before I get tons of Snark replies, I know they have issues. They are absolutely not perfect, no product is.
I’ve had to have them replaced just like a lot of other people.
And of course, bugs pop up from time to time, as they do with literally every other product.
But the absolute simplicity of literally opening them and popping them right in your ears, and having them “just work” never gets old.
My first pair of wireless headphones literally had to have a pairing code every single time you wanted to use them.
And if you had to use them on a different device, you had to completely reset them, enter the code on the new device, make sure it’s totally and completely forgotten and disconnected from the old device, and then, maybe, just maybe it would work.
AirPods literally couldn’t be more simple, and besides the Apple Watch I think they are the most innovative product Apple has made in years.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
roar08 Avatar
19 months ago

Too bad, for all they offer in terms of convenience and user experience they still can’t match the quality/standards of consumer grade digital audio from over 40 years ago. Let alone surpass them
Few of us are old enough to remember how amazing wireless earbuds were 40+ years ago. Great point.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tobefirst ⚽️ Avatar
19 months ago
This was the first time in a looooooong time (and the last time since) that Apple released a product where there weren't (m)any rumors spoiling every feature beforehand.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thejoshuabradshaw Avatar
19 months ago
One of the best products made. I love the long-stem AP2s. I have every version, and I love the simplicity of the AP2/3s. The APpro are trash.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)