Apple is famous for their technologies that seem to stay one step ahead of the game, and they didn’t falter on that with their introduction of wireless earbuds they dubbed, “Airpods”. These completely wireless earbuds connect to your phone via Bluetooth and users can listen to their favorite music or podcast hands-free.
When the iPhone 7 was released in 2016, customers were shocked to see that the phone no longer had a standard audio jack. Apple explained this change by saying, “More people are moving towards wireless headphone technologies, the audio jack is simply outdated.” What customers didn’t know was that was Apple’s way of setting the stage for their newest product, “Airpods”. The original Airpods were released in mid-December of 2016, but the product didn’t take off like the company had hoped. This could have been due to the increased rate that Apple was introducing new products like their next generation of the Apple watch, a new iPad, a couple different Macbook Pro models, and a first-time record of 3 different iPhone models. The introduction of the Airpods was simply washed out by the well-known and popular Apple gadgets. It was poor timing for Apple.
Despite the announcement of the Airpods at an Apple Special Event in September of 2016, the product didn’t take off as the developers had hoped. But, with a few (mainly cosmetic) changes, Apple released the second generation of “Airpods” in late 2018, and the desired public reaction was achieved. Long-time Apple fans and newcomers were thoroughly impressed with the quality of sound, battery life, and function of the fully wireless earbuds.
So… what exactly is different about the second generation Airpods? Well, not much was changed from generation to generation, and users were left wanting more.
It appears as though the majority of the differences are cosmetic, with a few upgrades to the functionality of the Airpods.
Apple beefed up the hardware within the buds, replacing the previous W1 chip with an H1 chip, so customers have faster connection speeds, perfect for those looking to utilize the Airpods’ unique ability of switching between multiple devices. Batteries last longer because while the overall battery life is unchanged, the iPhone battery is no longer being drained as quickly because the pods are not tethered to the iPhone. The second generation of Airpods is available in two versions, one able to charge completely wirelessly via Qi-technology, and the other in a standard case which holds 24 hours of juice for your Airpods. The wireless case is available with the Airpods 2 for an additional $40, but don’t worry, the wireless case is also compatible with the first generation. Customers can purchase the wireless case separately for $79.
Apple also made a few modifications to the floss container-like case for their release of the Airpods 2. Now users no longer have to swipe down on their notifications or open the lid of the case to check the status of their Airpods’ battery. There is a new indicator light located on the outside of the charging case that allows users to check their battery without opening their phone or having to fiddle with their case.
As far as sound quality goes, there were no announcements by Apple about bettering the quality of the first generation. The first generation Airpods already maintained Apple’s reputation of surround-like sound production, so this wasn’t a cause for worry for customers. And concerning design, the second generation is virtually identical to the first edition of the silver and white earbuds. Apple isn’t offering any color selections as of now, but we hope to see that in the future.
The biggest advancements can be found in the special abilities of the Airpods. As previously stated, users will notice a decrease in latency of connection and be able to switch between devices at a faster speed, but the uniqueness of the Airpods doesn’t end there. Customers can now operate 100% hands-free using the buds, toggling the digital assistant by now saying “Hey Siri” instead of double-tapping the buds. This is a handy new tool that makes the Airpods 2 a little more unique.
All in all, the Airpods definitely shook the ground in the wireless headset technology race with all of their unique features. Though this isn’t a brand new revelation in the tech industry, Airpods and Airpods 2 set some pretty decent competition for other big-brand competitors.