The future of Apple. People love to discuss technology because it excites them. Things that work like magic. Yup. That’s what technology is to me. I know most things about computers. How they work. How to solve issues. Etc. But sometimes I wonder how the tech actually works. The engineering put into a product. Scaling the product. Bulk manufacturing. Testing. QA. Sales. By the time we get a product it’s finished. Each character you type, each emoji you send is years of hard work, complicated engineering decisions, planning and teamwork. Apple has been quite brilliant at that. “Brilliant” is probably an understatement.
When Apple introduced the AirPods for the first time they looked nothing like the products out there. Apple has been really out of ideas since a couple of years and they really never had any breakthrough product after the original iPhone. AirPods were an exception. It was a product from scratch. When Apple ditched the 3.5mm jack we all knew there was something wireless coming soon. But we expected it to ship with the next iPhone. Boy that didn’t happen did it? $169 (₹12,500) and limited availability. Most people who said AirPods are ridiculously expensive probably owns one by now. That includes me (shameless declaration) because from day one since I got my hands on, I haven’t been able to go anywhere without it.
Things I love
1. The futuristic design
“AirPods look crazy”
“Hey, what’s in your ear?”
“Haha. Looks like you have an ear problem”
“Were you actually talking to yourself?”
These are some of the actual comments I get when using my AirPods. If you don’t know, the official Apple tag line is
I read a Quora ans from one of the former engineer who worked with Steve during the 80’s. Steve hates backward compatibility. His vision was to force people upgrade, set a new standard everytime there was a breakthrough. So far so good right? Make new ways and the world will follow was probably his motto.
I love the new design. The moment you take out your AirPods your friends will show their hands thinking I just opened a Tic Tac box. Just kidding. The AirPods look 3D printed to me. They probably are. Fits perfectly. You’ll take sometime to get used to taking out the individual EarPods from it but the best way is to pull them out from the middle using your index finger and your thumb. Much safer. The original wired Apple earphones never used to fit me properly. They used to fall out at the slightest momentum. Running with those was totally out of question. But it turns out the main culprit was the wire itself. It pulls to earphones down most of the time. Now since the AirPods are wireless, they fit quite well. I have never dropped a EarPod by accident and I’m sure I can wear them at a football match without losing one. The case on the other hand got scratches after a few days of use. I took extra care of it during a first week and eventually figured out that it’ll get scratched no matter what. Let’s face it. We live in India and there is dust everywhere. One minute silence for our lungs. Many suggested me to buy the rubber case from amazon. I have a friend who bought that. Let’s just say he’s not happy now. Fine dust has left some serious scratches on it, way more than if it was naked.
2. Ease of use
How do I connect my AirPods? Just bring it close to my iOS device, open the lid. Yup that’s it. It connected. It seamlessly connects with any of your device running iOS (iPad/iPhone) with the same Apple ID. If it’s someone else’s iOS device, AirPods still detect but it shows “Not your AirPods” (Im not kidding) and you have to press the small button on the case to pair it with the device. The best thing is that AirPod connects to any device that has a Bluetooth and can pair. Apple very rarely does that. That’s probably a small gift for us from Apple. Thank you Apple. We do appreciate third party compatibility. Another ease of use scenario is when I’m traveling or commuting and want to catch up on my TV shows. Just plug those EarPods in and enjoy the wireless experience. It just works. That’s what I want from a product. True wireless freedom. Want to catch up on a podcast at a family gathering? Sure. Just plug in one and just pretend you are on the phone. It’s just easy. Taking calls will take some time getting used to. Since you have to double tap on the earpod, during the first week I felt really uncomfortable. Double tapping hurts your ear for the first 3–4 Days since your ear takes sometime to build resistance to the shape. But you’ll get used to it. Once that is taken care of you’ll be using the double tap more often. To make a call I just double tap and Siri let’s me call people, text people, read my whatsapp messages, check the weather, check my phone battery if it’s kept for charging somewhere etc. The possibilities are endless. Siri itself is on the verge of a big overhaul. Maybe in iOS 12.0 we might finally get that Siri which doesn’t take up the entire screen.
3. The small things
I like how the music pauses once a single EarPod is taken out. It just makes sense. When someone’s trying to talk to you, you don’t have to pause the music on the phone and then take the earbud out. It’s shortened to just one step. Take out one and the playback stops, put it back in and the music continues. Simple isn’t it! Magical if you work at Apple.
Find my AirPods is a thing. Yes. But only when it’s in your iPhone’s range. The battery widget on iOS helps you keep track of the battery level on the EarPods as well as the case. But that’s usually random and you have no control of it. It sometimes favour the Apple Watch and will refuse to show you more info. Probably a bug in iOS. There is no separate header for the battery life. It’s as advertised. 5 hours + and the case lasts for a week. Charge it for 30 mins and you’re good to go for another week.
Things I don’t appreciate
Which position do you think is the most comfortable? The second one? Nope!
The first position is the most comfortable but looks really awkward. Yeah that’s one thing I’m not a fan of.
2. The earwax conundrum
Earwax is something that’s substantial to our body but is widely considered “Yuck”. Just like sex in India. You criticise it but you eventually need it. Unfortunately the white EarPods will not do any justice regarding this. I’m not going to upload a pic to show you how it looks like. You can imagine a EarPod with ear wax. It’s not nice.
Your AirPods just like any other device produces heat (law of thermodynamics). Even though Apple has tried to keep it to the minimum, it’s there. When you accidentally fall asleep listening to music and you press one of the EarPod against your pillow, it heats up nicely enough to wake you up and make you stop the music. That can be called a feature at this moment but I hope it’s safe.
There you go. I’m one month down with my AirPods and I believe (along with Apple) that’s it’s the future.
Thanks for reading