What a surprise; people have actually taken to Twitter and the rest of the Internet to voice their displeasure with something they’ve never seen, tried but simply heard in the last few days. Beyond simple Twitter users, a number of respected tech writers have already put Apple over the coals for something the company is hardly forcing users to purchase for $159 in October when they go on sale.
Much of the criticism of Apple’s AirPods is unwarranted and unfounded
Countless others and I have been writing about Apple’s plans to nix the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack in future iPhones and iPads for quite some time and we were hardly shocked when Apple chose to in fact remove one of the last remaining universal standards from new devices yesterday when it announced that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus would ship without the standard port.
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple said yesterday that “Apple EarPods are the most popular headphones in the world. Now we’re moving them to Lightning.”
“Why? Because it provides digital audio, power, and many other advantages that are simply not possible over an analogue connection.”
“The analogue headphone jack has been with us for a very long time. But the reason to move on is courage.”
“The courage to move on and do something new that betters all of us.”
But let’s quickly take a look at that decision. Having gotten rid of this port that Apple believes was an act of “courage” the company gained space for other things. One certainly worth mention is the fact that both iPhone 7 models released yesterday are the first to offer stereo speakers. Add to that the fact that iPhone 7 users will also get double the volume (without headphones) than the preceding iPhone 6S models. For some that like to share videos at bars (etc.) that’s brilliant.
While Apple did announce that they would be shipping AirPods in late October that do not have cords or wires for the stiff price of $159, Apple is not forcing these on you by any means. In fact, the company is shipping the iPhone 7s with wired EarBuds as they always have, they simply connect via Lightning. Additionally, the company was gracious enough to include a free Lightning to 3.5mm dongle that allows users to use any damn 3.5mm pair of headphones their hearts desire.
Do I like the new Apple AirPods? I doubt it but I’ll withhold judgement for now.
When Apple unveiled them the company said they wanted to “innovative new wireless headphones that use advanced technology to reinvent how we listen to music, make phone calls, enjoy TV shows and movies, play games and interact with Siri.”
While explanations flowed freely including “When you have a vision of how the audio experience can be,” spoken by Apple exec Pete Schiller, “you wanna get there as fast as you can, and make it as great as it can be. And we do have a vision for how audio should work on mobile devices … Wireless.”
Quite simply, Apple can do whatever the hell they want and you needn’t buy them, if you’re like me and really don’t like the idea or just assume they will get lost as many thousands have already said on Twitter. Apple has taken nothing from you.
As nobody as really had the opportunity to test their connectivity and sound quality I’m going to wait a bit before criticizing in that area. However, there are a few things that I’ve read that I agree with others already. They look silly. Quite literally, like the company simply cut the cords and left the remaining bits to house the battery, antennae and the Apple’s new W1 chip. They quickly brought back thoughts of why I wanted to punch anyone with a developers’ pair of Google Glass every time I saw them.
If the sound is good, I think they could be great but I understand one Twitter user having suggested that he’s already “six pairs.” Yes, they have a carrying case but even in that case that also charges the AirPods is only the size of a dental floss dispenser.
A number of the complaints that I’ve read could be mitigated by Apple if they were to add some sort of replacement program (yes, these will frequently get lost) or announce that the company will sell a “left” or “right” replacement if you simply lose one rather than your dental floss.
What was truly shocking was the fact that a governmental agency in Australia already came out in criticism of the AirPods before a single set has sold calling them a chocking risk for children and warning parents six weeks before their release. (It should be noted that this same agency also calls the traditional EarPods a strangulation risk in children, meaning you’re just a bad parent Apple)
While I’ll refrain from judgement as time will tell, I did a spit-take yesterday when I saw the UK’s “Guardian” headline that read, “Earth to Apple: wireless AirPod headphones are like a tampon without a string.”