At its iPhone 7 launch event Wednesday, Apple probably spent more time talking about audio than in its last two iPhone events combined. Besides removing the headphone jack and including both a new set of Lightning Earpods and a 3.5mm audio jack to Lightning dongle/converter (both of which are included in the box), Apple also announced the AirPods, a new set of wireless buds which will be available separately.
We suspected, we might see wireless buds from Apple, but the AirPods actually sound like a pretty interesting product with several innovative features.
The AirPods are equipped with dual optical sensors, dual accelerometers and dual mics. The sensors make sure the music only plays when at least one earbud is in your ear, while the dual mics let you invoke Siri with a tap. It’s all powered by the Apple W1, which Phil Schiller called Apple’s “first wireless chip.”
The AirPods come with a snazzy, white case which doubles as a battery/portable charger,a nifty trick we’ve recently seen on Jabra’s Elite Sport earbuds.
Finally, there’s the matter of connecting the headphones with an iPhone, something that despite wireless tech being around for many years can still often be a problem. Apple claims that as soon as you open the AirPods’ case, the iPhone will offer to connect with them and that all you need to do so is tap one button. In fact, Apple will work its iCloud magic to make sure the AirPods seamlessly connect with all the Apple devices you’re using.
Other specs worthy of highlighting are five hours of listening (with the case providing 25 hours of additional battery life).
The Apple AirPods will cost $159 when they ship in October.
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