CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA — Maybe it’s not the show stopping event it was in the ‘00’s when Steve Jobs was at the helm, but when Apple launches a new product people tend to pay attention. Apple’s latest launch of several new product upgrades, including the new iPhone 7, was announced at 10 am PDT on September 7.

In addition to a new dual lens camera and a freshly designed home button, the big news surrounding the launch of the new iPhone 7 was not an addition, but a subtraction of sorts.

As expected by many, the new iPhone 7 has lost its head phone jack. The loss of the headphone jack, according to Apple, is to make space for other cool features and to make the phone thinner.

 

For those who don’t want to upgrade to the new Apple wireless AirPods, the lightning port, which has been used in the last several Apple smartphones for charging, will enable you to continue to use those wired headphones via an adapter that fits into the lightning port.

 

AirPods Officially Unveiled

 

apple airpods headphoneWireless earphones seem to be the latest craze among technophiles, and the AirPods are no exception. The wireless AirPods have their own charging station and use Apple’s proprietary W1 chip technology which reportedly delivers higher sound quality than previous Apple earphones. 

The new W1 chip technology from Apple will also be found in the new line of Beats headphones, a company Apple acquired two years ago for $3 billion.

 

According to media reports, AirPods are expected to carve out a big share of the high-end headphone market and potentially pave the way for new smart home and smart car accessories.

 

Also, the AirPods are thought to be competing with other recently launched wireless earphone products, including the Bragi DashSamsung IconX, which launched earlier this year, along with the soon-to-be released Elite Sport from Jabra.

Another new feature of the iPhone 7 that will pique the interest of hearing care professionals is that the new product is said to “put out twice the volume of the iPhone 6S.” 

 

 

Details Emerge; Reactions Mixed So Far

 

According to the company, the AirPods can go approximately five hours on a single charge, with an additional 24 hours of additional charging capacity using the mobile carrying case. Apple says that as little as 15 minutes of charge time equals 3 hours of battery life. Integrated accelerometers and infrared sensors recognize when the AirPod is in your ear and also helps detect when you’re speaking, which then “enables a pair of beam-forming microphones to focus on the sound of your voice”.  

airpod in hand

Apple’s personal assistant “Siri” can be accessed with a double tap to the AirPods, which allows you to to then “select and control your music, adjust volumes and check your battery life with voice commands.” The highly-touted, all new, proprietary W1 chip in the AirPods is described as using ultralow-power Bluetooth, and helps keep the two earbuds in sync with each other. 

The AirPods don’t require the iPhone 7, but in order for it to work with your iPhone you have to be running the latest version of software on your phone (iOS 10). The price is currently listed at $159/pair. 

 

“If they’re as easy to pair with your phone and have as rock-solid a connection as Apple is saying they have, they’re going to be game-changers. The fact is, once you go totally wireless, it’s hard to go back to wires, and with Apple’s backing behind this new type of headphone — and a $159 price tag that’s not too outrageous — you may soon be looking at a lot people wearing the same white earbuds but with no wires between them.”  Scott Stein, CNET

 

Social Media Has Field Day

 

Regardless of how “game-changing” these new wireless earbuds might be, not everyone is feeling the love.

People came out in droves on social media to comment about concerns of how easy the AirPods would be to lose. Tech bloggers and Apple fans the world over have mocked the company for promoting the new devices, due to how easy they might fall out with vigorous activity. The concerns were even profiled shortly after the unveiling in a USA Today article

Here’s a small selection of social media commentary from Twitter following the announcement of the AirPods:

 

apple airpod twitter1

headphone jack airpod

What we can’t predict is how this will impact the future of the hearable industry, but it certainly could be a game- changer.

Whether or not tech bloggers and everyday users will begin to warm to the new AirPods still remains to be seen. 

 

More Images from September 7th Announcement:

 

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apple headphone adapter jack

 

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Visit Apple to learn more about the all-new AirPods 

4 Responses to Look, Ma, No Cords! Apple launches iPhone 7 and Wireless AirPods

  1. Abram Bailey says:

    Good write up Brian. What do you mean exactly about the doubled output volume from the iPhone 7? Is that comparing earpods to airpods?

  2. Julie Olson says:

    I understand the concept of eliminating the wires, but what about those of us who use our iPhones well with neckloops that work with the telecoils in our hearing aids? Yes, I know there are intermediary devices that clip to our clothing that make it wireless, but not without added technology that is quite pricey. That is further complicated by the reality that some of us do not use the brand of hearing aid that syncs with those intermediarly devices. As a Cochlear N6 cochlear implant recipient who does well bimodally with an expensive Widex hearing aid that does not sync with the add on devices, I’m surprised that this issue isn’t included in the article. It’s very frustrating for many of us to try to get all the right devices on hand at the right time, due to cost. The standard neckloop is a lifesaver. Sounds like it won’t be with the iPhone 7.

    • Editors says:

      Hi Juli,

      As highlighted in the first part of the article, there will be a lightning plug adapter to convert to older headphone jack style plug.

      However, your sentiment is shared by numerous people that have made similar comments online.

    • HHTM says:

      Hopefully using the lighting plug adapter will allow your devices to function similarly with your accessories, as it currently does with a standard headphone jack on earlier models. You might want to check out the post at the Better Hearing Consumer: IPhone 7: A Mixed Bag For People With Hearing Loss