When Apple axed the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, that created a problem for many customers. The company offered three solutions: 1) Lightning-connected earbuds ("EarPods," included in the box), 2) an adapter to convert regular headphones to Lightning (also in the box), and 3) wireless AirPods, earbuds that pair seamlessly and automatically with iPhone. More than three months after Apple's latest phones launched, the third answer is finally an option.
The US$159 AirPods are wireless earbuds that distill the setup and pairing process to practically nothing (assuming you exclusively use Apple devices, of course). After a one-tap/one-time setup, the earbuds will supposedly connect immediately to all of your available Apple devices as soon as you put them in your ears.
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The AirPods are touch-sensitive, letting you double-tap either one to enable Siri.
Apple quotes 24 hours of battery life for the earbuds. They use the AAC codec for audio streaming, which should, at least in theory, make audio sound better than standard Bluetooth.
While their initial pairing process will require a few extra taps, there are plenty of other wireless headphone options that will work with the iPhone 7, including Bose QC30, Bose QC35, Sennheiser Momentum wireless, Sony MDR-1000X and Bowers & Wilkins P7 wireless.
The AirPods are available now from Apple's online store for $159. The estimated shipping date for US customers, at the time of publication, is Wednesday, Dec. 21.
Product page: AppleView gallery - 2 images