Apple CEO Tim Cook toured the New York Stock Exchange with his nephew this morning, where he took a few moments to do a quick interview with CNBC.
Cook said he couldn’t comment on business when asked, but he told the interviewer that Apple has had a “great” holiday season. “It’s been a great holiday,” he said.
When questioned about Apple’s recently released AirPods and the lack of available stock, Cook called the AirPods a “runaway success.” “We’re making them just as fast as we can,” he said.
Introduced in mid-December, the first AirPods began shipping out to customers during the week of December 19th, the first day retail stores began carrying the accessory.
AirPods have proven to be popular with Apple users, and supplies have been constrained since launch. Retail stores and third-party retailers are receiving regular shipments, but many customers have not yet been able to purchase AirPods. Online orders placed today won’t ship out for six weeks.
Reviews of AirPods have been largely positive, with customers praising the sound quality, battery life, ease of connectivity, and better than expected Bluetooth range, but some users have been having battery trouble with their Charging Case.
The AirPods have officially begun arriving to customers in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and the first batch of users have started to share their opinions on Apple’s new wireless headphones. When they were originally announced, many users cited concerns over the look of the protruding AirPods, their sound quality, and their battery life, among other points.
Now, most users who have the AirPods in hand are having largely positive reactions online, with one Redditor summing it up by stating the headphones “are better than expected.” Users are ruling in favor of the lightweight headphones, noting the wide Bluetooth range of their connection with an iPhone, the snappy recharge time, and the simple connection to Apple devices via the W1 chip.
The AirPods have a strong, consistent Bluetooth signal with a connected iPhone, according to Reddit user Portatort, who said “so far I’ve been able to leave my phone plugged in in the kitchen and roam the whole house while getting clean Bluetooth audio the entire time.” The layout of a house will likely alter Bluetooth performance on a user basis, but it appears Apple’s wireless headphones have a reliably strong connection that facilitates wandering away from your iPhone.
Charge Time and Battery
Users are responding well to the AirPods charge time, with many noting that Apple’s claim of recharging the headphones with 3 hours of playback in about 15 minutes is accurate. Redditor ChrisMorrisOrg said he charged his AirPods from 30 percent to 100 percent in just under 20 minutes. MacRumors poster Moxxham noted that the AirPods themselves come fully charged out of the box, but the case itself was at around 60 percent.
The iPhone battery widget also has a detailed integration with AirPods, updating whenever the AirPods are in your ear or in the charging case. In the below image, the left screenshot shows the iPhone battery widget with each AirPod in the case and charging, and the right screenshot shows one AirPod removed from the case while the other remains inside.
Another MacRumors reader, hobspain, figured out a way to keep using the AirPods even when the headphones need to be charged. While taking a call, hobspain was notified of dwindling battery in one of the AirPods, so they placed the single bud in the charging case while keeping the conversation going with the other bud remaining in their ear. They eventually swapped buds so the other could charge, all without ending the call.
PS: one nice touch: in a very long conversation when the battery of one of the Airpods was gone (after two sound notifications), I could keep one charging while using the reamining battery from the other. After 10 minutes, I could do the opposite with plenty of battery in the semicharged one. Call was never dropped and the other end didn’t notice about these changes. Neat.
Overall, users appear to be satisfied both with the individual battery life of the AirPods, and in the backup battery — 24 hours of it — included in a fully charged case.
The current consensus on AirPods sound quality falls into the “better than standard Apple EarPods” camp, but not by a wide margin. ChrisMorrisOrg noticed that low volume audio houses some ambient noise issues in the background, but any normal, mid-range playback will be a normal listening experience for everyday users who aren’t audiophiles.
Having used AirPods for a few hours today, I can say the audio quality is better than standard Apple EarPods, however, you do have a little bit of that ambient/white noise lingering around that you get with any Bluetooth earphones/headphones at low volume. Once you pass about the second notch on the volume, this disappears.
MacRumors reader Boardiesboi mentioned a slightly better sound experience than EarPods as well: “They do sound a bit clearer and better than the standard EarPods. I’m no audiophile but I’m very happy with the sound quality.” Even users on the receiving end of FaceTime calls are reporting sound quality “indistinguishable” from the iPhone’s speaker, “and better than using the EarPods’ mic.”
Have been using them with Facetime Audio for maybe 3 hours (until the initial charge of 65% they came with was gone). At the other end they could not identify I was using a headset or Airpods. This was in two different conversations. So I would say the quality of the microphones is indistinguishable from the one on the Phones and better than using the earpod’s mic. I did speak in a quiet environment so can’t asses about external noise, but the Airpods don’t have active noise cancelation per se.
Some have reported potentially disruptive popping and crackling noises with the AirPods, although one user eventually discovered that nearby Bluetooth devices were the culprit for the dip in sound quality on the AirPods.
HOWEVER they have a major flaw. In my case (and 1 other person on twitter I saw so far), the connection (with my iPhone 7) very often gets lost for a split second, with crackling and popping sounds. This is extremely annoying. I’m not sure if it’s my unit, a batch of units, or a generic issue with them all. I’ll continue using them in different settings and see how they go. If it continues I’ll ask for a replacement set. If it’s a wide spread issue, I guess there will be a #PoppingGate of sorts
Ok it seems that my iPhone was too close to my wireless Logitech mouse (on my right), causing interference with the AirPods. I moved my iPhone to the left of me, and have had no disconnections at all for over 20 minutes now
There also appears to be a learning curve with tapping to activate Siri on the AirPods. Redditor Portatort mentioned that “double tap for Siri might require some getting used to. Most double taps don’t seem to activate it. But I might not be tapping correctly.”
There are many other topics of discussion swirling around the AirPods today, including the usefulness of automatic music pausing when the AirPods are taken out of an ear. Other factors of Apple’s new wireless headphones will undoubtedly vary on a case-by-case basis, including personal opinions on how the AirPods look when worn, and whether or not they stay firmly in-ear while running. Most reports on the latter subject — including some head shaking user test videos on Twitter — do suggest that the AirPods will make a reliable exercise companion.
People griped when Apple launched the iPhone 7 without an earphone jack and asked the world to get excited about AirPods, the company’s cordless earphones designed for the brave new “wireless future.”
Apparently, cutting the cord hasn’t been so easy for Apple, either.
The AirPods, skewered on social media within seconds of being introduced at Apple’s product launch in September, remain in a holding pattern because of audio glitches — and could miss the crucial 2016 holiday shopping season entirely.
The AirPods, which look like the regular earbuds that come with iPhones and iPods except without a cord, were scheduled to sell in October. But according to an unnamed source quoted in a Wall Street Journal article, Apple is having problems getting sound to hit the twin earpieces at the same time.
Most wireless earphones and earbuds receive a Bluetooth signal in one earpiece and then transmit it to the other. Apple, however, designed AirPods for each earpiece to receive independent signals from iPhones, iPods, iPads and Macs, the report said.
The source also said Apple wants to resolve how to respond to customers when an AirPod battery dies or when a user loses one earpiece.
The possibility of an AirPod popping out of a user’s ear became a huge source of criticism on social media, especially with Apple setting the price for the wireless earphones at $159 on its website (which now lists the product as “currently unavailable.”)
The best parody of the AirPods was on the Conan show on TBS, which made a spoof commercial of silhouetted dancers moving to music on a mobile device, with the white AirPods the only visible detail. This was a re-creation of a popular ad Apple made for the iPod in the early 2000s, but in the Conan version, the AirPods fall out of the ears of the dancers.
The Conan video, below, has racked up more than 1.6 million views on YouTube.
Many customers are anxiously anticipating the release of Apple’s wireless AirPods, originally slated to launch in October but later delayed. Fortunately, the wait may soon be over.
MacRumors has been forwarded an email in which Apple CEO Tim Cook, responding to a customer, allegedly said he anticipates AirPods to begin shipping “over the next few weeks.”
Customer’s comment: “Give us a release date. I really bought in to the wireless vision you painted. Now I’m stuck waiting with my EarPods but can’t charge my 7 at the same time which I need to do at work. Let us know if it’s a month or 6 months, because then I’ll just buy some other wireless headphones.”
Tim Cook’s response: “Thanks for your note. Sorry for the delay—we are finalizing them and I anticipate we will begin to ship over the next few weeks.”
MacRumors has verified the email’s full headers appear to originate from Apple’s corporate servers, while Apple executives are known to respond to customers on occasion, but as a boilerplate disclaimer, it should be noted these emails can of course be faked. Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Apple has so far only said it needed “a little more time” before AirPods are ready for customers, while conflicting rumors have pointed towards release dates between Decemberand January, offering little clarity. AirPods remain listed as both “coming soon” and “currently unavailable” on different sections of Apple’s website.
Inspired by Apple’s new Jet Black color for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, designer Martin Hajek recently created a few mockups of what the company’s all-new wireless AirPods could look like if the accessories had a similar dark color option.
In his blog post, Hajek said he “modeled these earphones and rendered them in brand-new iPhone gloss black,” making them visually identical to the new, shiny finish of the iPhone 7 in Jet Black.
Hajek even visualized the AirPods charging case in Jet Black. When inside of the case, the AirPods can get up to 24 hours of battery life, according to Apple. On their own, the Bluetooth headphones have up to 5 hours of music playback on a full charge.
Although most hardware announced at Apple’s September 7 event is debuting later this week, on September 16, the AirPods still have an unspecified launch in “late October.” If you want to check out more of Hajek’s renderings of the Jet Black AirPods, visit the designer’s website.
Far from the “boring” launch predicted by haters and relentless Apple rumormongers, Wednesday’s iPhone 7 event delivered plenty of big surprises.
Along with our first legitimate looks at the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and the new Apple Watch Series 2, we got a promising peek inside Apple’s increasingly powerful and polished ecosystem. Here’s what you need to know about Apple’s iPhone 7 event.
iPhone 7 is a beautiful monster
We’ll be getting not one but two new black iPhones, including a Jet Black model that looks like it would perfectly match Darth Vader’s headgear (who cares if it might launch “Scuffgate“?). And while those and the silver, gold and rose gold iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus might look similar to last year’s models, the similarities stop there.
A newly customizable Home button gains loads of additional functionality. Rough-housers will appreciate new water- and dust-resistant features, while shutterbugs will love the powerful new camera (especially the dueling 12MP lenses on the iPhone 7 Plus).
The Retina HD display is 25 percent sharper, while the new stereo speakers crank up two times louder with increased dynamic range. iPhone 7 models will come with EarPods as well as an audio-to-Lightning dongle (hey, it’s ugly but it’s free) to make up for the missing headphone jack.
But the really big improvement is the new Apple-designed A10 Fusion chip, which Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, called a “rocket ship.” Look for gigantic performance improvements (it’s 40 percent faster than the A9 inside the iPhone 6s) as well as better battery life.
Preorders start at 12:01 a.m. Pacific this Friday, Sept. 9, with iPhone 7 starting at $649 and iPhone 7 Plus starting at $769. Shipping starts ship Sept. 16.
Apple Watch goes deep and wide
Updates and expansions to Apple’s wearable computer line go far beyond the slimmer/better device (and the watchOS 3 improvements) the world expected. The “completely reengineered” Apple Watch Series 2 comes with a second-gen Apple-designed SiP that packs a “crazy amount of performance,” according to Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.
The new display is twice as bright. Built-in GPS offers new potential to apps for running and hiking. And the whole thing is built into a “swim-proof” case that’s water-resistant to 50 meters, with speakers that eject water after a dunking.
A partnership with Nike is yielding a running-centric Apple Watch Nike+, while an $1,149 Hermès model will fill the fashion niche. And there’s even a ceramic Edition model that will start at $1,249.
As with iPhone 7, preorders for new Apple Watch models start at 12:01 a.m. Pacific this Friday, Sept. 9. Apple Watch Series 1 models, largely similar to the original Apple wearable but with a new dual-core processor, start at $269. The further upgraded Apple Watch Series 2 starts at $369.
Apple does care about games
Mario is coming to the iPhone for the first time, thanks to a surprise partnership with Nintendo. The new game, called Super Mario Run, sparked immediate enthusiasm among casual gamers everywhere.
Apple also sewed up another big deal, this time with Niantic Labs. That’s right, Pokémon Go is coming to Apple Watch (even if the formerly white-hot game is already fading a bit from the public eye).
Apple’s future is wireless
Calling its controversial move to kill the headphone jack “courageous,” Schiller sang the praises of Apple’s new AirPods, which will ship in late October for $159. “Our team at Apple has worked so hard to create something new that delivers on the opportunity of how good a wireless experience can be,” he said.
Schiller promised to deliver us from the “joys” of Bluetooth with the AirPods, which he called a “technical tour de force” based on Apple’s new W1 chip. The tiny earbuds deliver five hours of listening, connect seamlessly to Apple devices, and switch automatically between them depending on what you’re listening to. They also come in a wireless charging case that gives you 24 hours of listening, all in a form factor smaller than the EarPods cases we’re all so used to seeing.
New Beats headphones will also use the W1 chip.
The leaks never stop, but they are never enough
We probably knew more about the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch than ever before about an upcoming Apple product. And the leaks didn’t stop: Amazon and even Apple itself leaked info confirming the new phone’s name just before and during Wednesday’s iPhone 7 event.
We were expecting the inevitable performance boosts — and the death of the headphone jack, and even a glossy black iPhone with a better camera — but the number of truly surprising revelations seemed shocking. Perhaps even more so to a bunch of Apple rumor hounds like us here at Cult of Mac.
A ceramic Apple Watch? Super Mario Run on iOS and Pokémon Go on Apple Watch? Real-time collaboration in iWork? A gigantic post-show price cut on iPad Pro? It’s good to know Apple can still surprise us (in a good way).
Apple is at the top of its game
The iPhone 7 keynote came at a critical juncture for Apple. iPhone sales continue to slide. Apple is embroiled in a fierce and expensive European tax battle. And a series of modest, slow-building successes like the Apple Watch and Apple Music haven’t done much to quell the post-Steve Jobs chatter about an innovation drought in Cupertino.
But Wednesday’s exceptionally strong presentation of the latest, greatest Apple hardware and software should give pause to Cupertino skeptics.
Throughout the iPhone 7 event, Cook and the other Apple execs looked relaxed, focused and poised to usher us into the shiny future we’ve all been anticipating. Just for a moment, the Irish tax nightmare, Touch IC Disease and other Apple problems disappeared in a wave of cheery execs, bubbly celebrities, slick and compelling videos, and the lineup of sleek new products.
“We’re just at the beginning of a truly wireless future we’ve been working toward for many years,” said the disembodied voice of Apple design chief Jony Ive during one of his probably patented industrial design porn videos.
While Schiller called Apple “courageous,” there’s another word that springs to mind: confident.
For Apple, the future looks more than just wireless. It looks simple, and elegant, and packed with the kind of legitimate innovation — sometimes incremental, sometimes mind-blowing — that can make our lives better almost without us even noticing.
It’s truly a good time to be swimming in the Apple ecosystem (especially once you get that new waterproof Apple Watch). And just wait until tomorrow …