When Apple pulled back the curtain on its first-generation AirPods back in 2016, the world was doubtful of the wireless future the tech giant was pushing. But within a few months, AirPods seemed to appear everywhere, and now in 2021, wireless earbuds/headphones are standard and most smartphones don’t even include a 3.5mm headphone jack anymore.
To carry that mantra forward, Apple has revamped its base-level Airpods with a few new features to help keep up with the growing competition. The new AirPods look a little more like the AirPods Pro with shorter stems and a smaller overall size.
On the music and phone call side of things, Apple has improved both the speakers and the microphones so you should hear less wind noise when on calls and more dynamic notes when listening to music.
Notably, the AirPods also eliminate the touch-sensitive zones and replace them with stems that users can squeeze to play/pause audio, similar to the AirPods Pro. This is the same implementation that OnePlus uses with the OnePlus Buds Pro, and it works well there, so I’m excited to see it come to more earbuds.
While these buds might look almost identical to the AirPods Pro, they’re notably missing the small silicon ear tips and instead look more like a traditional AirPod. While this helps keep the classic Apple EarPod feel, it doesn’t work great with sound isolation, so you’ll still be able to hear some background noise while wearing these.
To counteract this, Apple added an Adaptive EQ feature to make sure the sound pumped out of the earbuds matches what the artist intended no matter the fit.
Apple is also pushing dynamic head tracking with the new AirPods, making them work with the 3D audio effect the AirPods Max and AirPods Pro feature. One feature that sounds like a welcome improvement is a new skin sensor that detects when the AirPods are in your ears and pauses music accordingly.
Finally, Apple says that with the AirPods’ new MagSafe compatible charging case, users will expect 30 hours of total battery life. On their own, the buds can last for six hours. The AirPods and their case are also IPX4 water-resistant this time around, allowing you to wear them in light rain or while working out.
In Canada, the new 3rd-generation AirPods start at $239 and are available to order now, with shipping starting on October 25th. For context, the AirPods Pro cost $329 and the base-level AirPods have dropped to $179.
During its October event, Apple also announced its long-awaited MacBook Pro refresh that includes a display notch, an SD card slot, the return of MagSafe and more.
For all of our coverage from Apple’s event, follow this link.
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