Apple’s response to Amazon Echo: AirPods

“The Amazon Echo has captured the imagination of millions of consumers with its novelty, futuristic concept of a virtual assistant residing in your home and awaiting your commands,” Robert Lehar writes for Seeking Alpha. “This has led many pundits to call the Echo the next big thing in technology and the dawning of a new era where services replace hardware, spelling doom for product companies like Apple.”

“While many expect Apple to follow Amazon and Google and develop its own connected speaker, the Cupertino company has already revealed a product which, similarly to the Echo and Google’s Home, allows for listening to audio and interacting with a virtual assistant using voice commands but in a more personal and mobile way,” Lehar writes. “Enter AirPods.”

“AirPods are wireless headphones with ease of use, innovative user interface, and Siri controls. Apple leverages the fact that we are living in an increasingly mobile-centric world and introduces a product which, compared to the stationary concept of the Echo, better fits into the ecosystem of our multiple mobile devices accompanying us throughout the day,” Lehar writes. “Here’s TechCrunch: ‘After only a few days with Apple’s wireless AirPod headphones, it’s clear that there will be a huge platform business based on the reliable, persistent availability of a contextual artificial intelligence that can talk to you and receive commands.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote yesterday:

An LTE-enabled Apple Watch and a pair of AirPods would supplant a great deal of iPhone’s current functions.

Can’t innovate anymore, our collective ass.

As for the AirPods looking alien: Tape a pair of wires on the ends of each and you’ll see that they look very much like the type of earphones that everyone is very used to seeing by now (which, for those who remember, we weren’t used to seeing before iPod – people thought those looked “alien,” too). We’ll all get used to the lack of wires soon enough.MacDailyNews, September 14, 2016

Apple’s AirPods make Google Glass look even more ridiculous (if that’s even possible) – September 19, 2016
Why Silicon Valley is all wrong about Apple’s AirPods – September 17, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook: AirPods won’t fall out of your ears (with video) – September 14, 2016
What AirPods can tell us about Apple’s future – September 12, 2016
Hands-on with Apple’s new AirPods: Stayed in my ears, sounded awesome – September 10, 2016
Apple and a truly wireless future: AirPods are just the start – September 10, 2016
Whoever makes the first AirPods strap is going to get rich – September 8, 2016


  1. Folks gotta realize that AirPods are not just Apple’s headphones. They are a new product equal to Watch, iPhone, etc. They will advance as the chip gets more powerful and allows new functionality. Look for annual upgrades, potentially.

      1. What do you mean? The Airpods are actually priced close to most other bluetooth ear phones.

        Some (extremely bad experience ones) are sub $50. Ignore these.

        Name me ones that pair effortlessly and have 4 hours battery with reserve for 24 more hours at 15 minute recharge times that also have built in microphone and accerator sensors for Siri control.

  2. No way in hell would I have an Amazon Echo in my house – That thing listens to me 24 hours a day – what do you think that Amazon does with all that data? Atlas with Apple it listens when you tell it to.

    1. If you believe Amazon the Echo is listening constantly locally only for its keyword. Only when triggered does it share picked up audio for remote processing. So…. do you believe Amazon?

  3. You really want to pay the carriers $30 more a month for LTE on your watch? While we’re ignoring how many times we already pay for Internet, I’ve always wanted LTE on a MacBook (until I ended up buying a cellular iPad with hotspot). Imagine how awesome that would be. Apple would pretty much have to buy out AT&T for the unfrastucture, so that unlimited plans could be offered at reasonable prices without too much concern for greed.

  4. Thank You For This Article. Exactly!

    And you don’t have to worry about being within the hearing range of the Echo. Siri is in your ears, wherever you go.

    The only restriction: Bring your iOS device/Mac with you. If you’ve got your iPhone, that’s easy. No way am I carrying an Echo around with me.

    1. Siri and Echo/Tap are two totally different products. Sure, AirPods are with you in your ears wherever you go, but really, are you going to have them in your ears all the time? What does the family do at dinner… all listen to a speaker system, or all have their own AirPods listening to their own iPhones?

      This article is rather silly in that they’re acting as if AirPods and Siri are some new/disruptive technology.

      While AirPods are awesome, and I’m going to get some at launch, the product category is fairly old, and using headphones for Siri isn’t anything new either.

      1. Family or group considerations are a very good point. Meanwhile, Apple is providing something that on at least a solo level one-ups the Echo.

        Meanwhile, you have to applaud Amazon for coming up with the Echo, surveillance paranoia aside. I’ve heard nothing but praise for it.

        1. Unregulated surveillance is an evil, plain and simple. Unrestricted data collection is problematic. How many cautionary science fiction novels must we read before we are struck by the notion that hey, this is serious? No, really, I mean serious? Convenience is offered in exchange for control.

          1. To be specific, THIS is going on right now, and the deadline for our stupid Congress to act is December 1st:

            With Rule 41, Little-Known Committee Proposes to Grant New Hacking Powers to the Government

            The government hacking into phones and seizing computers remotely? It’s not the plot of a dystopian blockbuster summer movie. It’s a proposal from an obscure committee that proposes changes to court procedures—and if we do nothing, it will go into effect in December.

            The proposal comes from the advisory committee on criminal rules for the Judicial Conference of the United States. The amendment [PDF] would update Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, creating a sweeping expansion of law enforcement’s ability to engage in hacking and surveillance. The Supreme Court just passed the proposal to Congress, which has until December 1 to disavow the change or it becomes the rule governing every federal court across the country. This is part of a statutory process through which federal courts may create new procedural rules, after giving public notice and allowing time for comment, under a “rules enabling act.” . . .

            This, of course, is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. But #MyStupidGovernment is shoving this down our throats anyway, until We The People drag this nastiness BACK to the US Supreme Court, OR our stupid Congress shocks us by stopping it themselves.


    2. (I replied too soon)

      The point being that Apple could easily produce Echo/Tap-like devices and they’d easily be purchased by many of us who also intend to buy AirPods.

      Until they do, I don’t expect anyone in our family to reduce their usage of our Echo/Tap devices.

      1. This could get interesting, if:
        – The whole family does walk around with things in their ears that are connected to a data hub device, like an iOS device.
        – Bluetooth’s restrictions are overcome, presumably dumping it for Wi-Fi instead, allowing anyone in both the attic and basement to chatter with Siri via the hub.

        It’s fun to watch all this new tech get thrashed about to see what works and what sells. Life is not, thank goodness, a sci-fi book coming true. Every day remains a new techy adventure.

  5. My concern about air pods is falling out of my ear/s while in use. I use headphones with the iPhone when I go cycling for long periods of time with sweat and water etc dripping on them and the fall out. Granted I could use a small piece of tape to hold them in like they do in the pros etc. what is going to prevent the pods from falling out, hitting the ground and getting lost, or keep the sweat and water out of them. I’ve heard that a company or person could use the sunglasses strings to hold onto them but is that practical?

    1. You make good points. I cycle too and would be concerned about losing them. I just wish there was a version with silicone tips. Beats is coming out with the Beats X that using the W1 chip, but overall have not heard good things about the Beats sound.

  6. I cannot see walking around with those things jammed in my ears all day. Kind of like Google Glass, people will be creeped out by it.

    I already see way too many people driving with the white earbuds jammed in their ears while driving whoch cannot be much better than those texting while driving.

    Finally, there have to be health considerations when people go around with a foreign body jammed in their ears for extended periods. Watch for an increase in swimmer’s ear among users of the new airpods who keep them in all the time.

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