December 13, 2016 (Online)|
December 20, 2016 (In-store)
They feature new user interactions; for example, removing an AirPod from one's ear causes playback to pause and vice versa, and double tapping them can either activate Siri, or play or pause playback. For full functionality, AirPods require devices running at minimum iOS 10.2, macOS Sierra or watchOS 3. They automatically sync through iCloud so that the user can switch to other supported devices signed in to the same Apple ID. They can also play audio from any device that supports Bluetooth 4.0 or higher, including Android devices (which can use the double tap gesture to control playback).
AirPods were introduced on September 7, 2016 alongside the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2. Apple originally planned to release the AirPods in late October, but the company delayed the release date. On December 13, 2016, Apple released the AirPods to be ordered online. They were available at Apple Stores, Apple Authorized Resellers, and select carriers on December 20.
In the 2017 Apple Special Event, Apple teased an optional wireless charging case, which could be used together with an upcoming wireless charging mat named AirPower. However, AirPower and the wireless charging case for AirPods won’t be released until an unspecified date in 2018.
Each AirPod weighs 0.14 oz (4 g), and its charging case weighs 1.34 oz (38 g). It holds a charge for about five hours, and the charging case can charge it for up to 24 hours of usage. During a teardown, each AirPod was found to contain a 93 milliwatt hour battery in its stem, while the charging case was found to contain a 1.52 watt hour or 398 mAh at 3.81 V battery.
One criticism of AirPods is their high price; however, at launch they were actually priced less than most "true wireless" earbuds on the market (e.g. the Samsung Icon X and Bragi Dash) and remain competitively priced with similar products from other major brands. Another criticism is the perceived tendency to fall out of one's ear; however, testing by Business Insider has shown that it is quite unlikely for this to happen during normal use for most ear types.
Another prominent criticism was an issue that caused the charging case battery to deplete at a rapid rate despite the AirPods not being used. Users were reporting upwards of 30% idle discharge per day. Apple then upgraded the AirPods' firmware to 3.5.1, available to all users, which addressed connectivity and battery drain issues.
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One microphone is on the outside of the casing, below the acoustic port, and one at the bottom of the stem.
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