AirPod Gen 1
The first thing you understand when using the AirPods is the entire experience will either tittilate you or repulse you. The design choices feel as if they are meant to bring you pleasure or at the very least make a bold design statement. The case, with its delicate magnetic clasp and the slight learning curve of removing the headphones is awkward the first few days; but strangely appealing. By day three I felt delightfully pleased anytime I stopped to take the head phones out, or put them back in. Someone else might immediately think of titillation as a great inconvenience and that is equally true, cause the first few days i worried about how i was going to either rip the lid off of the case, or wouldn’t be able to get the headphones out. This is the whole conundrum of Apple, what makes it appealing to some makes it annoying to others.
Here is the good shit though, the AirPods are really great, easily the best wireless ear buds you can get. If they don’t fit in your ear though you’re out of luck. If you want long battery life, you’re also out of luck, you’ll get a few hours before they need to go back in the charging case. This might be a edge case though, like when i was a carpenter i went 10 hours a day with Bluetooth going in my ear, the AirPods wouldn’t have worked. I’m back working in the office again now, and I think i only had the low battery chime happen once to me. I also charged the AirPod case twice in two weeks. Except for long flights, I don’t think many people will hit that wall often.
The W1 chip is deep intergration, being able to switch from iPhone to IPad is easier than Bluetooth, but not seamless. The W1 does make it easier though and mostly works with out fail. I can go from podcasting on my iPhone to Hulu on my IPad and instead of going to Bluetooth and hitting a button, i just close my iPhone and go to my iPad and most of the time the AirPod knows I’ve switched devices. This is that old apple magic. The acknowledgement is great, a screen pops up and tells you what your battery life is for the two headphones and the charger. But you still have to change your input to the AirPod, it is as if Apple has made the option of adding a saved device a little better, but still not effortless. Now I go to the control center and the audio playback option and I select it there. Is this better than how you do it in Bluetooth? Yes. Is it perfect? No, but speaks to a future that is far more pleasing than the evolution of Bluetooth alone.
I like the AirPods so much i took them back. Hear me out... Every day i used the AirPod it was great. I have the disadvantage of my birthday being a month or so before Apple announces the new product lineup. There are a couple of things I want the AirPod to do that this first generation product doesn’t do. First, I don’t want to tap my headphone twice for Siri. I want to be able to stroke my earpiece up or down for volume adjustment. Lastly, I want to switch between my apple devices and not have to change my input, just have the AirPod know and also automatically switch the input over. Maybe they’ll introduce those features, maybe they won’t. If they don’t, i might just go back to the store and reorder the headphones. If they do add new features, I’ll probably buy the version 2.0, even if they don’t have the new features I want. They’re that good.
Life without Airpods
I’m on day three of not having the Airpods. On the first day I just switched to this mono earpiece that I have, which also has a rechargable cradle. It was fine. I’ve crested into day 3 and I am starting to miss the Airpods. This is tricky cause I traded them in for a Smart Keyboard (which I dig) and have another three weeks before I’ll even know if the Airpods are being replaced. The biggest thing I miss is that they always seem to have a full charge. No really, i use my headphones, probably seven or eight times a day and I’m not usually killing the battery. My mono piece is always accidentally turning itself on, and draining down to empty, while stuck in full pairing mood.