Apple AirPods: Worth the hype?

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Apple unveiled its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Wednesday, taking the bold move of removing the headphone jack on the devices and launching new wireless AirPods.

Speaking during the launch event at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller said that it took “courage” to ditch the headphone jack.  The new phones will ship with EarPods that connect via the iPhones’ Lightning Connector charging port, as well as an adapter to connect traditional headphones.

Apple’s AirPods, however, are grabbing plenty of attention following the big launch event. Priced at $159, the Bluetooth headphones contain Apple’s W1 wireless chip and charge via a battery in their case. Just 15 minutes in the case gives 3 hours of listening time, according to Apple, with the case offering five hours of listening time on a single charge. got to demo the AirPods at an Apple media event in New York Wednesday. Stylish and futuristic looking, the white AirPods and their case fit in well with Apple’s crisp design aesthetic. Sound quality was impressive and sensors within the AirPods turned them on when they were placed in my ears and turned them off when they were removed.


Built-in microphones also let users conduct conversations through the AirPods and interact with Siri.

As a long-time user of Apple’s iPhone headphones, I thought the AirPods felt comfortable in my ears, although I did wonder whether they could be dislodged during strenuous activity, such as running.

While the technology behind AirPods is clearly good, my big concern is that the small gadgets could be easily lost. Losing headphones is a part of life for many smartphone users (including this one), which makes the $159 AirPods price tag feel expensive.

AirPods, which work with Apple devices running iOS 10, watchOS 3 or macOS Sierra, will be available in late October.

Apple also showcased its latest iPhones at the New York event. The new solid state home button on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus certainly felt much more durable than previous iPhone home buttons. The devices’ stereo speakers could also be good news for users that like to watch movies and videos on their phones.

I was also impressed by the new dual camera technology on the iPhone 7 Plus, which offers sharp zoom images via its 2x optical and 10x digital zoom.

Pricing for the iPhone 7 starts at $649 and pricing for the iPhone 7 Plus starts at $769. The phones will be available Sept. 16, with pre-ordering starting Friday.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers