he first time I saw an Apple AirPod commercial, I
watched as a hip, young, agile audiophile danced his
way across the screen. I couldn't help but think that
My first concern was whether they would fit, since the sim-
ilarly shaped EarPods that came with my iPhone often popped
out of my ears. Thankfully, I’ve had almost no problem with
my AirPods since I purchased them. I suspect the weight of
the EarPod cord and the slightly different AirPod contour make
Simple and Easy to Use
After a simple one-tap setup with my iPhone, my Bluetooth
AirPods are now always connected. Except for minor hiccups,
the AirPods just work. I put the AirPods in my ears, and they
connect to my iPhone. I take an AirPod out of my ear, and the
audio automatically pauses. Assisted by the iPad control center, I can easily switch and listen to audio on my iPad.
By default, double tapping on an AirPod activates Siri. I
don’t like talking to Siri in public. Further, I find Siri frustrating,
as it often doesn’t understand me. I soon changed the double-tap setting to start and pause audio instead. When I do want
to speak to Siri, or make a phone call, I use the microphones
in the stems instead.
I often use only one AirPod for audiobooks and podcasts,
double tapping to start and pause listening. I use both AirPods
for music, and while I'm not an audiophile, they sound great
to me. They also do a great job at filtering out background
Room for Improvement
I find that the AirPods' lack of controls is their biggest draw-
back. The only way to adjust AirPod volume is to ask Siri and
wait, or to do it manually on the phone. I am surprised Apple
didn’t engineer additional control options. For example, Apple
might have let me lower and increase volume by stroking up
and down on an AirPod stem. Touch and hold an AirPod could
have activated Siri. Special left and right tapping could take
the audio backward and forward. I’m also not 100 percent
happy with how the AirPods look. The two-inch white stems
poking out of my ear seem dorky, but I suspect I’ll get used to
the sight of them over time.
The AirPods come in a small, white, battery-charging case,
which easily fits in my pocket. The included Lightning cable is
used to charge the AirPods and case, providing 24 hours of
listening. Depending on how often I use my AirPods, they can
drain the battery case fairly quickly, so I end up charging the
case three or four times a week.
One of the biggest concerns people have when considering
a pair of AirPods is either losing them or damaging them. Af-
ter using the AirPods for a few weeks, I am not so concerned
about that. They fit well in my ear, even when I’m bending
over or walking fast, so I don’t worry about them falling out
and getting broken. And starting with iOS 10. 3, Find My
iPhone can help you find a charged AirPod so long as it’s in
Bluetooth range of an iCloud-connected iOS device. If the Air-
Pods are discharged or enclosed in their case, Find My iPhone
reveals the last location the AirPods and your iOS device were
If Apple’s EarPods fit your ears well and you’re OK with putting down $159, then I absolutely recommend the AirPods.
Are Apple AirPods Worth the Buy?
Illustration by Mikaila Maidment, mikailamaidment.com
Hal, along with his wife Rita, founded i Phone Life’s original publishing company, Thaddeus Computing, in 1985. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out Hal’s
new book at meditatingentrepreneur.com.