AirPods kick off Apple’s battle for our ears

“AirPods are Apple’s surprise hit product of 2016. While their simplicity may evoke comparisons to previous Apple blockbusters like iPod, AirPods are something very different,” Neil Cybart writes for Above Avalon. “We are witnessing a new chapter unfolding at Apple in which Jony Ive and the Industrial Design group press down on the wearables accelerator. While Apple Watch wages a war for our wrists, AirPods are kicking off Apple’s battle for our ears.”

“Every pair of AirPods sold and worn represents another set of ears ready for Siri. In some ways, Apple has a head start as the company has been selling hundreds of millions of wired EarPods each year. In addition, Beats gives Apple instant access to parts of the headphone market not addressed by AirPods,” Cybart writes. “My suspicion is that this difference in target markets is one reason why Apple has given Beats headphones a bit of independence since the acquisition. However, the message is clear: AirPods are Apple’s flagship weapon in its quest for our ears.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We can’t wait for biometric monitoring to come to AirPods!

Of interest: Apple Inc.’s U.S. Patent No. 8,655,004: “Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets.”

Apple’s patent abstract: A monitoring system that can be placed proximate to the head or ear of a user is disclosed. According to one embodiment, the monitoring system can be used with headphones, earbuds or headsets. The monitoring system can, for example, be used to monitor user activity, such as during exercise or sporting activities. The positioning of the monitoring system can also facilitate sensing of other user characteristics (e.g., biometric data), such as temperature, perspiration and heart rate. The monitoring system can also be used to control a an electronic device. In one embodiment, the monitoring system facilitates user control of the electronic device using head gestures. More info here.

Yahoo’s Pogue reviews Apple AirPods: Far more elegant and slick than others – December 23, 2016
Wall Street Journal’s Best Wireless Earbuds: AirPods, ‘Apple’s best new product in years’ – December 22, 2016
Apple AirPods are very cool, but I am returning them – here’s why – December 22, 2016
Marathoner tests Apple AirPods on 10K run – December 19, 2016
Rolling Stone reviews Apple AirPods: ‘Surprisingly awesome’ – December 14, 2016
Apple AirPods could arrive in stores as early as November 17th – November 10, 2016
Apple’s AirPods remain on track to launch this year, sources say – November 2, 2016
Apple AirPods may be delayed into 2017 – November 1, 2016
Apple delays AirPod rollout – October 26, 2016
Survey: 12% of U.S. consumers say they’ll buy Apple AirPods; extra $3 billion in revenue – September 29, 2016
Bill Atkinson: Why Apple’s AirPods are the best place for Siri – September 28, 2016
Apple’s response to Amazon Echo: AirPods – September 20, 2016
Apple’s AirPods make Google Glass look even more ridiculous (if that’s even possible) – September 19, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook: AirPods won’t fall out of your ears (with video) – September 14, 2016
Why Silicon Valley is all wrong about Apple’s AirPods – September 17, 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
Apple patents biometric sensor-packed health monitoring earphones with ‘head gesture’ control – February 18, 2014

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz,” “Dan King,” and “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]


  1. I guess this is a reasonable place to chatter about Siri.

    Should/could Siri be used offline?
    Apple already has part of the guts of this addendum to Siri in place and ready to go. It’s called AppleScript, Automator, and Dictation. Part of it used to be called ‘Speech Recognition’, as in ‘Tell me a Joke!’, which is something Siri can’t do.

    There’s no reason all of that can’t be integrated into offline capabilities in Siri. It entirely makes sense that it all should/could and would be. <–Clue to Apple.

    🗣 ‘Turn off WiFi.’
    🗣’What time is it?’
    🗣 ‘Activate fonts found in my Downloads folder.’
    🗣 ‘Open LibreOffice and dictate a letter.’
    🗣 ‘What’s a synonym for ‘insanely-great’?’
    🗣 ‘Tell me a Joke!’

    1. Surprise hit my axx. A handful start shipping last week… and it’s a surprise hit. What a bunch of BS.

      It’s a pair of headphones, can’t believe how gitty this fanboy author is.

      Apple is headed down the wrong strategy locking third party headphone makers out of the market.

      These are just another pair of Bluetooth headphones, so get over yourselves.

      Bose blows Apple and Beats out of the water. It’s a crappy world if consumers get locked out of headphone choice only to be left with overpriced and crappy Beats and Apple’s own middle of the road headphones.

      1. I don’t understand your point except to the extent that Apple IS using proprietary IP to enhance the sound quality of their AirPods. (I haven’t done any study of Bluetooth Beats gear to compare them).

        BUT, as I pointed out, there are already a number of enhanced-beyond-limited-Bluetooth-bandwidth earphones out on the market. I don’t know the detailed methods used by any of them I’m afraid. Probably others here at MDN do.

        Meanwhile, all Bluetooth gear connects to all Apple Bluetooth enabled gear. So, from that perspective this isn’t locking out third parties from the market.

        What I of course would prefer would be that stupid, limited, crap Bluetooth was either DUMPED (I personally wish it had been dumped before knuckleheads in the computer industry ever adopted it) or improved. Right now we’re sitting on our hands waiting Waiting WAITING for the Bluetooth 5 standard to be finished and provided in Apple’s hardware, and others. It promises to end the idiotic bandwidth problem, extend connection distance and *crossing fingers* kill off the inadvertent disconnect problems. Waiting waiting 💤💤

  2. My AirPods arrived today and gotta say I love them. Pairing is nearly instant each time, they feel, fit, and sound awesome. Gonna ride MTB bike tomorrow so see how well they stay in and work.

    1. Ok so the MTB bike ride worked out fantastic with the AirPods. Snug, solid, and great sound at speed. Never had one come out even riding thru extremely rocky terrain. I liked using Siri better than the manual controls mostly. When I’m riding I use full finger gloves which makes using manual controls or unlocking phone a pain. It did seem goofy to have to use Siri just to pause music however using Siri overall was quite nice. And I also got a phone call and noticed I didn’t know how to hang up phone call using AirPods without getting out my phone.

  3. By 2018, if you don’t have AirPods in your ears, people will think you are disconnected from the human race!

    But wait, Apple inc. has lost that ability to Innovate, so that can’t be true, can it?

    1. If you think being part of the human race means you have to rely on battery powered disposable gadgets, then you may want to rethink your purpose in life.

      Macs, displays, Airports— all these are critical to my livelihood. iPads, ATV, Watch, Airpods are all expensive luxuries that barely move the needle on efficiency or capability while signifying to the world that you are an elitist snob.

      Think about it–Apple has done much more than Google Glass to make a lot of people socially inept, face buried in a screen and earphones preventing communication with anyone around them. Replacing a wire with a bluetooth link and adding one more thing to recharge, one more battery that goes to a landfill, probably makes you less human.

      1. Anon: so iPads being used by handicapped people to communicate for the 1st time, by hospital doctors in communicating with patients, Airline pilots to replace their flight manuals, grandparents face timing with their grandchildren …… etc etc…..; Apple Watches monitoring an individuals activity, heart rate etc….; Apple TV being used in schools in the education process etc …. so this all implies “elitism” or “snobbery” , what utter nonsense!

  4. Personally I am tired of the wired headphone cords getting caught on things and getting tangled and so on. If that makes me elitist, so be it, but I grow weary of the chains that bind me. I yearn to be free.

  5. These things are going to be a huge hit in the gym/athletics. They are cool, visible etc. Every <35 yr old will want a pair. The older people will likely just stick to what came with their iPhone. They will be the next big hit, just like Beats headphones were.

    Soon the market will be flooded with cheaper and better versions of similar products.

    1. No they won’t be flooded at gyms. That’s because they do almost nothing to block out background noise: all those weights clanging, sounds of cardio machines, the music being played at the gym, and people’s conversations generally overpower sound from headphones like these tonthe point of rendering them useless in these environments.

      Even in busy cities they suck.

      So any fanboi that wears these in a mainstream gym is an idiot.

      1. Have you been to a gym in the last 10 years? Obviously not. Tons of people use the current Apple EarPods. The trend of the past 2+ years has been towards wireless earbuds and wireless headphones.

        1. Yes I have been to the gym in the past 10 years. I used to live at the gym and today, I’m at the gym 6 days a week. I workout at a well known gym that has dozens of locations in the place I live. I workout at several of them.

          Almost nobody in my experience wears Apple pods in the gym. They primarily wear wireless Beats cones or Bose sport in ear headphones. The rest wear primarily in ear headphones.

          I wear in ear sport headphones as well.

  6. Mrs. Ziffel just opened her AirPods about an hour ago. Took a few minutes to discover the right double-tap of the pods to answer calls / invoke Siri, but she loves them and is impressed by the the quality and operation of the case, i.e., the operation of the lid and how the case pulls the AirPods into place. Very much Apple-like design and operation.

    Now time I get in the queue for my pair!

  7. Sorry no battle for my ears. My Sennheiser headset is nearly perfect: perfect sound, BT wireless and wired usage, replaceable batteries. Siri is just not good enough (yet) so I dont miss that.

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