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It took an entire year for supply to finally keep up with demand, but going into the holiday season they’re probably going to become rare to find again.
With all that considered, right now is the best time this year to buy a pair for yourself or as a gift.
If you’re unfamiliar with them, Airpods are Apple’s totally wireless earbuds. Unlike traditional Bluetooth headphones, this pair isn’t attached by a wire; you just pop each bud into your ear and go. This style of headphone is becoming more popular, and while no company has completely cracked it, Apple seems to have done a very good job.
Before I go on, it’s important to note that iPhone, iPad, and Mac owners will be able to take full advantage of the technology inside the Airpods. That’s not to say Android and Windows users are left out in the cold — Airpods do use Bluetooth and will work with any platform — there are just some extra features that are Apple-only.
The most convenient of those extras is the ability to hand off audio easily between paired devices. Want to listen to a song on your phone, then watch a video on your computer? You won’t need to fumble through different settings or worry about pairing and un-pairing. Siri is also accessible by double tapping one of the buds at which point you can adjust the volume or change what you’re listening to.
Finally, the way Airpods and Apple devices communicate using the W1 chip is more power efficient than the standard Bluetooth. That means Android and Windows users will get worse battery life than iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
All that aside, Airpods have become popular for having pretty good battery life, connectivity, audio quality, and fit. When paired with Apple devices, the Airpods support five hours of active listening. That’s not very much when compared to other Bluetooth headphones — even some earbuds — but it is impressive given their small size. Once they’re out of juice, you can recharge them on the go by putting them in their carrying case.
Apple says you’ll be able to get enough battery power for three hours of listening by charging the Airpods for 15 minutes.
In terms of connectivity, what I’ve heard over the past year from Airpod owners is that it’s very reliable. The buds stay in sync with the phone and one another, even while exercising. That might sound simple, but it’s difficult to get any sort of waves through liquid, which is what our heads are filled with.
How much you like the way the Airpods sound and feel in your hear will depend on your opinion on the Earpods — the wired pair of earbuds Apple has shipped with the iPhone since 2012. If you like the sound and fit of those, you’ll find the Airpods to be instantly familiar, in a good way. If your ears weren’t satisfied with the Earpods for any reason, you might want to wait for Apple to update the Airpods’ design.
Regardless of whether you’re interested in the Airpods personally or to give as a gift, right now is when you should buy them. They’re currently in stock, but as the iPhone X is released and the holiday season rolls around, they’re likely going to become scarce.