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Apple

AirPods: The Apple Product I Never Knew I’d Like

I’m not a true audiophile, but music and audio, have been a constant part of my life. I love headphones for listing to music and in recent years, podcasts, but for my last birthday, Amanda got me a pair of Apple’s AirPods. I had never had any interest, but I use them all the time now, and admit while pricey, they’re a great product by Apple.

Apple Fandom (and Not)

I’ve been a big Apple fan for the past two decades, owning half a dozen Macs, and have been an iPhone user since its inception. But for me, it’s mainly been able the computing products, the iOS ones, and the iPod that preceded the iOS line.

On the flip side, there are a lot of products that Apple’s made that I haven’t been a fan of at all. At the top of that list are their mice. I’ve never been a fan of a single mouse Apple has put out. I’d much rather have a Logitech.

I’m also not a fan of their speakers — either the short-lived Apple Hi-Fi nor the Siri-enabled HomePod.

Getting Over the Bluetooth Hump

Then there’s Bluetooth. I was a holdout for a long time switching anything audio to Bluetooth. While I don’t consider myself an audiophile, I always liked the quality (and the simultaneous charging) offered by a wired connection in the car.

But eventually, I switched over for the convenience of no wires and took a little hit on sound quality. I went Bluetooth for running and cycling.

Earbuds/EarPods

Like the Apple lineage of mice, I’ve never liked any of the earbuds that have come with Apple devices. The original iPod earbuds and even the newest of the Apple EarPods that have been bundled with the last few iPhones all never appealed to me. Like most, my body isn’t perfectly symmetrical. That includes my ears. It turns out that my right ear canal is slightly larger than my left. It’s enough to make it so that the Apple family of wired earphones are never secure in my ears. Forget working out with them. It’s a constant readjustment of them — a combination of reseating and reinserting.

Enter the AirPods

airpodA friend of ours got the AirPods and raved about them at dinner one night. That sparked Amanda to get them for my birthday.

Since then, I use them daily for workouts, walks, and to and from the parking lot at work. The sound is great. The pairing is nearly flawless. The fit is better than any of the wired Apple earphones. While I do have to occasionally reseat the right AirPod, it’s never fallen out — even when running.

AirPods Ins and Outs

The AirPods consist of white left and right earbuds that look a lot like an EarPod without the wire but instead have a small cylinder antenna. The tip of each antenna has a ring of silver. Included with the AirPods is a charging case that looks a bit like a think dental floss case and holds a battery. It pops open and, has magnets that secure the left and right AirPods inside of it for charging. The left and right only fit in one of the holes each. Between the two holes is a single LED that turns amber to indicate the AirPods are charging, or that the case needs to be recharged. On the bottom of the case is a lightning port.

Pairing with an iPhone, iPad or Mac is smooth, and a less tedious process than typically pairing a BlueTooth device. It can be paired with non-Apple devices via a button on the charging case. A battery percentage can be viewed for both the case and the individual AirPods on Mac OS and iOS. The case charges the AirPods back quickly,

Enhancing Fit For Activity

And for running/riding, I ended up getting Earhooks, which are little silicone hooks that go in the lobes of your ear and wrap around the AirPods (or wired EarPods). I’ve run half a dozen times without the Earhooks, never feeling like they’re going to pop out mid-run. But for the $10 I paid for the Earhooks, it’s more secure and the peace of mind that they’re secure during workouts.

The only downside is the Earhooks do have to be removed to put the AirPods back in their charging case.

Complaints/Issues

I’ve had intermittent issues with my left AirPod. It sometimes goes into the charging case. The light turns amber to indicate it’s charging, but I come back much later to find it hasn’t charged. Cleaning the AirPods and case haven’t totally alleviated that. A trip to the Genius Bar is in order for that.

Also on occasion, it doesn’t pair with my iPhone — either one or both AirPods. It’s rare but sometimes doesn’t work.

They also aren’t as tight of a fit in ear canals, so I’ve found I cannot use them with mowing the grass or vacuuming. I end up having to crank them up all the way, long-term damaging hearing.

The only other complaint is the price. At $159, there are other cheaper alternatives. Apple is always a little pricier, but the polish of the hardware and software is nice.

Conclusion

If you can swallow the price, and are an iOS and/or Mac OS user, these are a no-brainer. They sound better and fit better than their wired counterparts. They charge quickly and usually seamlessly via the included case. While I never would have considered buying them for myself, they’ve become a nice piece of technology I use daily.

Apple Airpods

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