AirPod Impressions (Day 1)

I got my AirPod’s in-store on launch day after being second in line. The line was around 30 people, so expectations for the things seemed high.

Here are some of my thoughts

Pros

  1. They are extremely comfortable to wear, and are quite easy to completely forget that they’re there.
  2. There is virtually no risk that they’ll just fall out. They feel extremely stable, even when moving.
  3. They are plenty loud. Even when sitting in a loud coffee shop you can still hear your music and drown out other sound just fine at higher volumes.
  4. The music quality is sufficient. It seems better than regular EarPods by maybe 10-20%, but I don’t use EarPods often so I couldn’t say for sure.
  5. Their range is spectacular. Like, unbelievable. With most headphones I get around 10 to 20 feet away and it gets bad. Lots of cutouts, lots of drops. With these I walked around 20-30 feet away and it did not modify the stream of audio at all.
  6. Using them to make and receive calls seems fine.
  7. The case charging mechanism is extremely slick.

Cons

  1. I can’t be connected to my iPhone and my laptop at the same time, meaning if I’m listening to music on my laptop and I play something on my phone I’ll need to manually switch the audio (which takes many seconds). It’s definitely not a seamless experience in this respect. I wanted to use these as my main headphones during the work day, meaning I could take VOIP calls, listen to music, etc. on my laptop, and at the same time take calls and do things on my iPhone. This seems to complicate that significantly.
  2. The outbound audio seems quite poor. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected much there as the microphone is so small and distant from your mouth, but it seems worse than I expected. Very distant and muffled.
  3. It sucks that “Hey Siri” functionality only works for the microphone on your phone, not the AirPods. So you can’t enable it and just walk around talking to your computer. You have to double-tap the ear first, get Siri’s attention, and then issue commands. It’s a batter issue; I get it. But still disappointing.
  4. It’s annoying that you can’t easily control audio (books, music, etc.) while having double-tap to Siri enabled. I might end up changing that function to pause if I continue to get so little value from Siri.

[ NOTE: This isn’t an AirPods problem, but Siri’s faults are far more apparent when you’re trying to use her to do more actions. AirPods are going to force Apple to upgrade its AI game in a major way. ]

Summary

  1. Overall it’s quite nice to have super-light audio that’s “just there” and that you don’t have to worry about.
  2. It’s fantastic to just be able to get in and out of the car and not worry about pulling out a bluetooth headset (because you can just wear them all the time).
  3. I hope software updates can address some of these downsides.

Overall for Day 1? 8/10. I’m still riding on expectations and hype right now. I’ll know more about how much actual value they have in a week.

Notes

  1. I’ve actually disabled Bluetooth in my M3 because the BMW computer is such crap at handling, well, anything. I am either USB audio or AirPods now, which means I can just unuplug the iPhone and get out, and it automatically connects audio to my AirPods. That’s a major reduction of friction.

__

I do a weekly show called Unsupervised Learning, where I curate the most interesting stories in infosec, technology, and humans, and talk about why they matter. You can subscribe here.

Source: http://feeds.danielmiessler.com

Leave a Reply