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Bluetooth headphones from Apple: technology, information & factsApple AirPods: Everything you need to know about wireless Apple headphones for iPhone & Co.

The AirPods (our detailed review) and the iPhone 7 see themselves as Apple's next steps into a wireless future and make wired headphones look backward. According to a survey that Apple carried out among owners of wireless headphones, around 98% of users are satisfied with the devices. Based on the design of the original Apple EarPods, the two white headphones are placed in a charging case, which simultaneously supplies power and serves as a storage location. You shouldn't lose the headphones because they can be expensive.

AirPods are full of technology

Both the wireless headphones and the charging case are full of technology. The Apple AirPods connect to iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV 4 via Bluetooth 4.2. This works almost automatically thanks to the W1 chip. The two earphones each have a microphone so that they can also make phone calls, and each has a battery that, according to Apple, promises "over 5 hours" of listening to music. The battery in the charging case supplies the wireless headphones with power for an additional 24 hours of battery life and has an NFC module. The case is charged via a Lightning connector. The AirPods are also equipped with a number of optical sensors to recognize whether they are currently being used and to recognize inputs for starting Siri or controlling music playback. A classic remote control, as with the EarPods, is no longer available. When the AirPods are removed from the case, they automatically connect to the iPhone. If one of the headphones is removed from the ear, the playback of the music or the video is paused; if both are removed, it stops.

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AirPods shine because of their simple pairing

Pairing the AirPods with different devices is easy, especially with iOS. After unpacking, simply hold it right next to an iPhone, open the charging case and, thanks to NFC, the dialog for connecting the Bluetooth headphones appears on the iPhone as if by magic. The wireless headphones are automatically linked via the iCloud to other devices on which your own Apple ID is entered, so you no longer need to set up the wireless headphones there. Even under macOS, the connection is possible with just one click via the Bluetooth menu in the menu bar. With other operating systems, such as Android, the Apple AirPods can be used like classic wireless headphones with smartphones. Simply press the Bluetooth pairing button on the charging case and connect the devices manually.

Compatibility: These devices are supported

As already described, the wireless headphones from Apple are basically compatible with many devices and also with Android, but the in-ears are particularly impressive in connection with Apple products. The simple coupling and the cross-device setup, as well as the control by double tap work from iOS 10, macOS Sierra and watchOS 3. The headphones can be connected from an iPhone 5, iPad Air, iPad mini 2, all iPad Pro models and the iPod touch the 6th generation.

Product notice

Apple Airpods (previous model)

So it is about wearing comfort and sound of the AirPods

The AirPods are not only similar to the Apple EarPods in design, wearing comfort and sound can hardly be distinguished. For real sound purists who attach great importance to good sound, classic on-ear headphones are more suitable. But do the AirPods hold well in the ears even during exercise, for example, or do the in-ears slip out if too much movement? There is no general answer to this. However, the majority of users fit the Bluetooth headphones without any problems and they sit firmly and comfortably in their ears. As a rule of thumb, if the EarPods fit you, you won't have any problems with the AirPods when exercising. The headphones shouldn't slip out of the case either, here they are held in place magnetically and the lid doesn't open easily, for example in the pocket. This is to prevent you from losing your Apple headphones. If you are still looking for it, you can display the last known location in the “Find my iPhone” app and have it play a tone.

AirPods: control without a remote control

With the cable, the remote control of the Apple EarPods has also been omitted from the AirPods. Nevertheless, the volume of the music can also be controlled wirelessly or calls can be received via the iPhone. Unfortunately, under iOS 10, many of these functions are only possible via Siri or directly on the Apple Watch or iPhone. Even simple changes in the volume are not easily possible and can be annoying in some situations. Currently, you can either activate Siri, stop playback or select the next music track by double-tapping one of the headphones. Apple seems to have some understanding and with the release of iOS 11 in the fall, will enable further control options.

New functions for the headphones come with iOS 11

The new operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch was introduced in June and is likely to be released in September. For the AirPods, this means new control options via the Bluetooth settings. A double tap on the headphones now allows you to start Siri, pause playback or select the next / previous track. A different function can be assigned to each of the wireless headphones. The volume still has to be set either directly on the device or via Siri.

New case for wireless charging is coming in December

At the keynote about the iPhone X, Apple also presented a new charging case for the AirPods. This should work with the new AirPower charging pad and thus be able to charge the AirPods wirelessly in addition to the Apple Watch Series 3 and the iPhone 8 or X. The only difference between the new case and its predecessor is a charge status LED on the front. The accessory charging case will likely be available in December for $ 69.

Apple AirPods price and availability

Apple sells the AirPods for 179 euros and is enjoying great demand. The only color available is white; specialized suppliers also offer an unofficial version in black for a significant surcharge. Other shops sometimes offer the headphones a little cheaper. After the publication there were delivery problems for months, buyers sometimes had to wait 6-8 weeks for the new Bluetooth headphones. Why the production of Apple headphones could not keep up with demand for so long is unclear. At the beginning of August 2017, Apple boss Tim Cook promised to increase production capacities and the delivery time has actually decreased and continues to decrease. Apple does not offer repairs, but replaces individual AirPods for a fee of 75 euros, and a new case costs 75 euros.