The dust has finally started to settle after Apple's September 7th landed just over a week ago. We saw vast improvements to the Apple Watch, Super Mario arriving in the App Store and of course, the launch of the iPhone 7.
Whilst most of the improvements and upgrades were what many people expected, the event was not without controversy. The main point of contention circled around Apple's decision to completely remove the 3.5mm jack input from it's latest phone.
Put simply: You will no longer be able to use any 'standard' headphones with the iPhone 7 or any other Apple technology moving forward (at least not without chunky adaptors). Instead, Apple are pushing audio connection through their lightning port or via bluetooth.
The critics have said that this move is 'change for the sake of change' and that it was ultimately an unnecessary move for Apple to make. The advocates are saying that this is yet another example of Apple leading the way and the rest of us having to catch up.
Just who is right remains to be seen?
What is plain to see though, is that Apple's AirPods (wireless, bluetooth earpieces) are an engineering masterpiece. But for £159, what are you really getting for your money?
First off let's clear something up; these are not fancy headphones - the AirPods are effectively mini computers that live in your ear. Capable of calculating extremely complex requests, the AirPods themselves each contain a microphone, speaker, W1 processing chip, accelerometer and battery. And don't forget each AirPod weighs a total of 4g. Needless to say, they're a stroke of engineering genius.
But what do they do that a pair of normal headphones can't?
The AirPods are able to use their in-built accelerometer to detect whether they are in your ears or not, meaning that if you're listening to music and Cassandra wants to talk to you from across the office then all you need to do is take them out of your ears and the AirPods will tell the device it's connected to to pause the music. Neat, is the word.
Just want some background music, then simply remove one of the AirPods and it will switch the audio from stereo output to mono - ensuring you don't miss out on any part of your work/office playlist.
And we really are scratching the surface with what the AirPods can do.
Double tapping any AirPod will wake Siri up, ready to fulfil any tasks you have for him/her. Make phone calls, set reminders, ask about the weather, pick a playlist, get directions to that new coffee shop round the corner. A simple gesture, a quick question and Siri will have you on your way in no time. But what if it's noisey I hear you ask? Well, Apple have used 'beam forming microphones' to reduce and filter out any background noise as soon as you start talking. Very neat.
The AirPods will last for 5hrs with a single charge which, whilst critics have been quick to scoff at (go figure?!), when was the last time you had your headphones in for 5hrs straight? The charging/carry case also holds enough charge for 24hrs worth of listening - and a 15min charge will give the AirPods another 3hrs of battery.
Okay, so what're the downsides?
Objectively, these AirPods will get lost. We'll put them in their case, we'll put them in the same pocket of our backpacks but mark my words - you WILL lose them. Whether it's the kids stealing them, leaving them in your jeans as they go through the wash or the dreaded "I-could-of-sworn-I-left-them-on-the-side" moments. Now, Apple can't be held responsible for our own stupidity - we are adults after all - but it is an inevitable problem, with the only solution being to fork out £159 each time! Ouch!
Secondly, there are other wireless headphones available - and for a lot cheaper. Whilst they might not have the full integration with Siri or the same accelerometer features, it might be a sacrifice worth making if it'll save you a £100 or so.
Lastly, and this is something I've never experienced but I know friends who have, the AirPods might not fit. I have some friends that can't wear them either because they are uncomfortable or that they won't fit their ears. The slightest knock can make them pop out which, when they're attached to a cable isn't really that big an issue, but when they're tiny, 4g earpieces it could cost you a lot of money. It is at least something to consider.
So, these are the facts, such as they are. Are the AirPods worth the £159 we'll let you decide.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.