On AirPods

I’ve been using AirPods for a few months, and now feel inevitable to post some thoughts about them.

When being stuck in Headphone mode became a new norm of my iPhone 6+ and switching to another pair of Earbuds proved the problem might root in the headphone jack, I turned tired of the Q-Tip fix which usually only lasted for a few hours.

Time to cut the cord.

I am neither a headphone nor sports enthusiast, that said, when my friend recommended the stylish JayBird, I hesitated to make the call. On the other hand, the brand new Apple AirPods managed to draw my attention, my Twitter timeline had been flooded with selfies wearing the Kodama (tree spirits) and excitement of unleashing them out of the newly-arrived packages. I honestly had no concerns that they would occasionally drop since the very beginning because I am about 60% every day in the posture of sitting tight in front of the computer.

source: 9gag

Blossomed were the sustained satisfaction from those lucky early birds, though, including casual “dancers”:

I found myself dancing along in spite of myself — and the AirPods stayed put, feeling surprisingly secure.

Plus the plastic case and the AirPods themselves have survived real-life durability tests including dropping from multiple heights, tumbling around in the washing machine and immersion in a good amount of water.

I got 2 pairs of them (one for my girlfriend) from some retail store because I didn’t want to wait for 6 weeks. Since then, they’ve been like glued to my ears. I’ve been using them for music (Apple Music), podcasts (Overcast), audible books (Audible) and articles (Audio section on Medium). They fit in my ears very well and soundeven better than the earbuds.

Rushed to get 2 pairs….

However, what really wows is their usability (playability). I could open and close the case lid for hours just to enjoy how seamlessly the status card wipes in and out on my iPhone. Thanks for the W1 chip, pairing is ridiculously easy and it’s automatically relayed across all Apple devices associated with the same Apple ID. The pairing process is straight away the standard by which the industry of wireless headphones should be judged. Auto-switch among different sources was another story, while there were a lot of complaints that it was not working as announced in the Keynote, I felt like having total control of what I was listening. To simplify the workflow, I bought Tooth Fairy which enables the user to assign a global hot key on Mac to quickly switch from other sources.

Tooth Fairy Preferences Pane

For most of the time, I wear both of them, but I do love the flexibility that I can just wear one of them while leaving the other one being charged in the case, which virtually makes the wireless listening experience eternal. AirPods are computers, for now the one and only gesture is double-tap on the top of either AirPods to activate Siri or Play/Pause, which can be configured in iPhone Settings. But Apple can release new firmware versions for bug fixes or to introduce new features. For instance, the R side of my girlfriend’s pair stopped working one day and she left them aside for a couple weeks, the next time when she recharged and wore them back, it was working again and she have never encountered the same issue ever since. The AirPods info then showed a newer version of firmware had been installed, which was supposed to silently address the silence issue.

source: MacRumors

Soon with iOS11, L and R can be configured separately, the Beta 1 also features useful options like Next/Previous Track. The only thing missing for me is volume control, I wish upon iOS11 production release I can caress the AirPods to change volume.

source: 9to5mac

After over 4 months of intense usage, I am still stunned by everything about the AirPods. I didn’t expect that Apple would nail it since Day 1 and I’d underestimated how much it would shift my commute, work, bedtime and how I use my iPhone. They do look goofy, and chances are that people will look at me like an alien. But I do enjoy every moment when the free tree spirits sing and speak in my ears and bring pure joy.

To me, theses are undoubtedly the product of last year, and a reminder that the company we used to love is still there.