Apple has unveiled a new set of advanced earbuds, which won’t be bundled with the forthcoming iPhone 7. Instead, they’re set for release in October 2016, priced at a premium $159.
Based on the launch, the new headphones, titled Airpods, are packed with Apple-designed tech. Firstly, they contain a ‘W1’ chip which is intended to provide a consistent and reliable connection.
They will also have infrared sensors to detect when they’re in your ears and won’t play audio until they’re in. Motion sensors also respond to touch allowing users to access Siri with just a tap on one of the buds.
Apple also says they’ll recognize your voice when making a call, and reduce external noise accordingly.
The Airpods will only play audio for 5 hours on a single charge; far below the playback time the majority of Bluetooth headphones provide, but to compensate, the Airpods come with their own case, which is the mechanism for charging the pods. The case is charged via a Lightning cable and will provide a total of 24 hours playback time when fully charged.
Apple also hopes to get past Bluetooth pairing, which lacks efficiency, and has described the Airpods as a breakthrough in wireless design. “It makes no sense to tether ourselves with cables to mobile devices,” said SVP of product marketing at Apple, Phil Schiller, who introduced the new product in San Francisco on Sept. 7.
While Apple talked up the groundbreaking wireless technology, including the new chips and motion sensor that make the pods portable and multi-functional, they didn’t dwell much on the sound. The indication here, especially as Apple also noted a new line of wireless Beats headphones, is that the sound isn’t necessarily the focus. It’s certainly possible you won’t be getting a significantly higher quality of audio over the existing Earpods, which based on the pricetag, might disappoint some.
Furthermore, the pricing will also concern those that struggle to keep hold of their regular set of headphones. What happens when you remove the wire and you’ve suddenly got two small earbuds to look after? And don’t forget the case, which these Airpods are useless without? It’s a stressful concept.
Either way, the internal technology is still hugely impressive and testers that were at the event have noted the ease in connecting to an Apple device – simply open the casing lid and a screen asking to connect will appear on the device.
Apple Airpods will be released late in October and will be priced at $159.