I am currently working with a handful of headphones at 9to5Toys, and during my extensive testing with various headphones, I've understood more and more that I want Apple over-ear headphones. Here's why …
The magic of the W1 Chip
AirPods is by far the headphones I've been using for the longest time, and there's a good reason for that.
I'm not a big fan of AirPod's audio signature. But their functionality reduces the sound quality. They pause automatically when you remove one from the ear, the microphones switch automatically to give the best quality when they ring, they take up very easily with a case, and the integration with iOS is icing on the cake.
While Some may argue that they do not fit in the ears, AirPods fit into me, and since they are ear plugs, they are super comfortable for long periods.
With other competitors on the market, you can get better audio signature, but are lacking in other departments such as mating administration. Some headphones allow you to connect with two devices at once, but apparently fall apart when trying to figure out which device you are actively using, or when a phone call enters two devices (eg, iPhone and iPad), the headphones are heard completely as they cannot figure out which device should be active.
Of course, W1 solves all of this by always making the headphones present on all your iCloud enabled devices. Pairing for non-Apple devices is super easy by pressing the button on the back of the AirPods for a few seconds. If you need to connect to the device again, simply enter your Bluetooth settings, locate AirPods, and press to connect. With other headphone manufacturers, you often have to go back to pairing mode or disconnect your current device to switch devices.
Ugh. Where do I start? Bluetooth headset software is everywhere.
Let's start with manufacturers that don't offer any customization via an app. It's 2019, users are clamoring for options. Not offering any kind of customization with Bluetooth headphones is ridiculous at this time.
Headphone applications are generally categorized as "great when they work." The problem is that they usually don't work. AirPods? You connect them, enter the Bluetooth settings on an iPhone or iPad, and the "app" always works as long as you are paired. Other apps often fail to connect to your headphones, even if they are always connected.
Let's not talk about firmware updates either, because these apparently do not exist. Hope you get support for multiple devices on your Sony 1000XM3? Probably not. Want a way to always turn off "Hi Cortana" on the Surface Headphones to improve battery life? Unlikely. Want an equalizer on Bose QC35s? Nope.
Headphone manufacturers mainly release headphones, push one or two minor updates and call it a day, including for their apps.
Apple has proven with HomePod that it can create a device with exceptional sound quality. Like how it handles calibration with its displays, I'm sure Apple can create a set of over-the-ear headphones with better sound than the average. My colleague Ben Lovejoy also pointed this out when HomePod launched last year.
AirPods was simply a development of the existing EarPods, and it was before the era of really good sound quality from Apple. The company has now proven with the latest generation of iPhones, iPads, Macs and HomePod that it can create devices with exceptional sound quality.
This section is a little shaken when it comes to competitors who all have different ears and the definition of "good sound quality" will vary between users.
Apple has also proven that it can build great hardware. See not only the W1 chip, but also the T Series chips on the Mac, the A / M series on iOS devices, the S series for Apple Watch, and one can conclude that a new series of chips can be made for Apple's over headphones.
Although the company used the same A8 chip found in HomePod, the processor may always handle – on Hey Siri, and noise canceling capabilities. As with the amount of power found in Apple's A-series chips, it should blow the competition out of the water and continue to improve with time with continuous software updates.
Apple could use the same noise interruption techniques found in HomePod and its other products when using handsfree Siri, to enable the active noise abatement software. Heaven is the limit here.
Apple has shown that it has the drive to get the best audio experience across the product line. From something as small as Apple Watch, to one always plugged in as HomePod, sound from Apple has in recent years been really good.
According to a report by ] Bloomberg A few months ago, Apple is set to release a set of over-earphones in 2019, along with an update to AirPods. I'm very excited to see what Apple has on the cards for the upcoming over-the-ear headphones. One thing is certain: I would be incredibly disappointed if Apple chose to use Lightning instead of USB-C for charging.
The logical next question is pricing. How Much Do You Pay For Apple Headphones? Please let us know in the comments below!
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