AirPods: two years after release

If these AirPods were released today instead of two years ago, they would still dominate.

It’s been to years since the announcement of the AirPods and slightly less since their release. Since then, there have been many knock-offs and little competition. Google released the Pixel Buds in response, however I still have yet to see a pair in the wild. Meanwhile, I see someone wearing AirPods at least once a day. I use my own daily as well. Truly wireless earbuds are not common, and yet Apple has nearly dominated the market with their AirPods.

I’ve only had my own for roughly a year, but I have used them nearly every day since I got them. Over that time, they haven’t changed much and that’s a good thing. The sound quality remains acceptable. I feel acceptable is the best way to describe them. It won’t knock your socks off, but I’ve definitely heard much worse. The AirPods deliver a surprising amount of punch for their size, especially compared to the EarPods Apple includes with their iPhones. In fact, when I first received my AirPods, my expectations were not high. I got them for the convenience, not quality. As soon as I tried them out for the first time, However, I realized that they were more than able to replace the Jaybird Freedoms I had used for the previous 6 months.

The battery has deteriorated since I got them, although not nearly as much as I would have expected. In the beginning, each each AirPod lasted roughly 4.5 hours on a change. Now, it seems to hover between 3.5 and 4. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say how the battery of the case has held up. I average about 3 hours of listening time a day. Currently, I charge the case about once a week. This is hardly an issue, especially considering that the case and the AirPods themselves top off in under an hour.

My AirPods currently, looking nearly new after a year of daily use.

Siri is still as useless as ever. You can select from a number of options for what the AirPods do when you double tap them. I changed mine to previous and next track on the left and right side respectively and haven’t gone back. These actions still work relatively reliably considering they use the accelerometer and gyroscope to sense your taps. 

When I first got the AirPods, I was worried about not only losing them, but breaking them as well. Early reviews led me to believe that the hinge of the case wouldn’t stand up to the AirPods being in a pocket, and the stems on the AirPods themselves looked like something that could warp or break if you put too much pressure in the wrong spot. So far, none of this has been an issue. The only time I nearly lost an AirPod, a cat knocked the case off the table causing the AirPods to fly out without me noticing it. They were found relatively quickly. I have thrown the case into backpacks, messenger bags and my back pocket constantly over the past year and the case feels just as durable as the day I got it.

Apple debuted their W1 chip with the release of the AirPods, which promised a more reliable bluetooth connection with other apple devices, as well as the ability to connect to any Apple device signed in with the same Apple ID. In my experience, this as worked extremely well. Initial setup took no time at all with my iPhone. After that, I was able to use them with my MacBook and Apple Watch without any problem. They even connected automatically with my iPhone X when I upgraded from my 7. The Connection has been stable between all devices I used the AirPods with and they continued to work reliably from large distances as well.

There is a lot of talk about the next generation of AirPods. Apple was rumored to announce the 2nd generation during their iPhone Xs event this month, although that didn’t happen. There are few things about the AirPods that I think need improvement. Of course, no one would complain if Apple increased the battery life and sound quality, but that’s it. If these AirPods were released today instead of two years ago, they would still dominate.

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