I doubt if there is one particular earphone that is more popular than the Apple AirPods. In the US for instance, you would see everyone from Silicon Valley CEOs to construction workers wearing them all the time. A recent trip to HongKong exposed me to different ripoffs of the wireless earphones at different price ranges, again showing how it has become an aspirational product even for those who can’t really afford it.
But when it comes to a product this popular, upgrades are tricky. But Apple has finally gone ahead and upgraded the AirPods, two years after the wireless earphones were first launched.
Hold the new AirPod 2 in your hand and you will not think this is a brand new product. In fact, it took me a while to figure out that there was actually one physical change in the product. There is a small LED that blinks in the front of the AirPod’s charging case now. Earlier, this was inside when you opened the flap to reveal the earphones.
This is not a simple change of location. AirPods 2 now come with the option of a wireless charging case which can charge with any Qi standard compatible dock. So with the LED up front, you can see if the device is charging as soon as you keep it on the charging surface.
The earphone itself is the same as before. And like with the earlier AirPods constantly gives me then feeling they are going to pop off, even if they have not done so even once in the two years I’ve used them. Now I know my fears are unfounded and rest assured that there are accessories to hold the twain in place in case this fear becomes more real.
The AirPods stand out for their sheer convenience. And the latest version carries forward this legacy well. Fresh out of the box and the AirPods connected to my iPhone without any sort of help. It was just the nearest Apple device. It also switched to the iPad and Apple Watch as I shifted my preference. It is that simple, it just connects.
AirPods 2 are powered by Apple’s new H1 processor. This means the latency, which I hardly noticed in the earlier version, is even lesser now, especially while playing games. They also switch from device to device faster.
But what the new chip really adds to the mix is the earphones’ ability to respond to Hey Siri command. So it is also listening to you all the time, waiting for the wake word. And this bit worked seamlessly for me. Apple claims the AirPods now also know when you are talking and performs differently, cutting out ambient noise for instance.
The audio quality seems to have improved. But it is hard to be more specific because the first edition of the AirPods were already quite good. There seems to be an incremental change for the better, as the music seen to be cleared and more spaced out when it comes to channels. But with Sennheiser and Bose coming into this space in the recent months, there is certainly competition for Apple when it comes to sheer audio quality.
But then the primary reason to pick up the AirPods, new or old, is the convenience they offer. There are no wireless earphones that work so seamlessly with your Apple devices, offer great audio quality and can last a full day on battery. To that mix you now add the added convenience of wireless charging and a voice assistant. That is the AirPods 2.
For Apple users this has to be a must-have in their kitty, others too will find then convenience appealing.
Apple AirPods 2 price in India: Rs 14,900 ~ Rs 18,900 (With wireless charging case)