So I know what you are thinking… “What does a software geek know that the world’s most valuable company, and arguably one of the most successful marketing departments ever, doesn’t know” and the answer would be, not much, but I think they missed a trick on this one.
Taking a quick jump back in time a few weeks, I bought a set of “Jaybird X3” wireless earbuds. They have had a lot of great reviews, both for sound, reliability and battery life. I was really looking forward to having them for the gym. Alas, on a trial run around the garden, even doing simple tasks like cutting the grass, ducking under the washing line etc.. these things kept falling out. I tried with and without the iconic “fins” and they were even worse with them in. I tried in both “sport” positioning and regular. Even tried different size rubber tips, including different sizes per ear. No joy.
So long story short, while this was all going on, my mobile provider (EE) got in touch and offered the option of adding the Apple AirPods to my contract for about £13 a month. I figured I would give it a shot.
I’ll not talk you through the (traditionally Apple) lovely unboxing experience, but needless to say the packaging was really great. You get a lightining cable (USB A style) which is for charging the case, some leaflets, the charging case, and the AirPods themselves.
The case has a lovely weight to it, while not heavy, it feels nice and sturdy. It’s really small, see the pic from the gallery below beside my Apple Watch for a comparison.
So… fanboy drooling aside, why do I think Apple didn’t market these well? … well I think it’s because their adverts were too “Apple” and worried about making a beautful advert and didn’t actually focus on how great these little things are for day to day use. The pairing mechanism is great, just open the case by your phone and it’s a one button pairing.
And it’s around here I think Apple undersold the AirPods, they do mention these features, but they don’t really explain how great it can be for day to day use. You see when you pair these with your phone, they are instantly paired with all your other Apple devices paired with your iCloud ID. Now, I’m a big Apple fan, so this really works well for me. When I paired my AirPods with my iPhone, I also paired them with my Apple Watch, my iPad, my MacBook Pro and my iMac. This might not sound impressive, but I think this is what Apple should have been waxing lyrical about.
Imagine this as an advert; some some attractive Apple advert type person is out for a run with his/her airpods in paired to their Apple watch, they come home, and answer call from their phone with them. They sit down at a laptop, click the volume button and set the audio output to the airpods, listen to some music, take a skype call, then go into the office, sit infront of an iMac, click volume and listen to some more music. All from that one tap on the phone. Every time they pop them back into their case inbetween uses, they are charging up too.
They are so small, but with the case, they carry up to 24 hours charge, they should be sort of marketing them as an all-day every-day carry sort of item. Wallet, keys, phone, AirPods. They are smaller than a zippo lighter, and being connected to all your devices makes them a fantasic little accessory.
Anyway… I feel I’ve been fan-boying a bit in this post, but these are a great pair of headphones, if your ears play well with the existing apple EarPods (the headphones they give you with the iPhone) if not, the lack of a connecting cable might make these a bit easy to lose out and about. They sound great to me, but I appreciate they are not audiophile quality, if you think the existing apple earphones are ok, these will be fine for you.