For months, tech insiders and Apple fanboys (and fangirls) have been eagerly awaiting Apple's next big announcements regarding their upcoming iPhone 7, and were finally satisfied yesterday when Tim Cook dropped a few bombshells at their San Francisco launch event. While there were a multitude of announcements and unveilings, we will keep our focus here on the new iPhone's, shall we say...design change.
As we covered back in February, rumors have been swirling around for ages regarding the possibility that Apple might remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from the upcoming iPhone 7. We didn't want to believe it, but it happened anyway. When the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus become available on September 16, they will be sans headphone jack, and in its place will be Apple's proprietary Lightning jack.
As we also mentioned in our February article, it was also announced that Beats (which is now owned by Apple) will be unleashing several updated versions of their core lineup -- the Powerbeats3 ($200) and Solo3 Wireless ($300) -- as well the new BeatsX ($150).
Now that we know that the 3.5mm headphone jack has been removed and replaced with the Lightning Jack, just how the heck are we supposed to listen to music on our new iPhone? Allow Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Apple to discuss Apple's newest invention -- the Apple AirPods wireless in-ear headphones:
Just look at those things! We have seen a lot of earbuds in our day, but these are perhaps the first pair we have ever encountered that feature a tube-shaped protrusion jutting out of the ear like that (see the below photo for how the AirPods will actually look in your ear). Let us be among the first to say-- odd and unattractive. From a design standpoint, the new AirPods appear to be a massive failure. Made out of hard plastic with no replaceable eartips, either the AirPods will fit for you or they won't, don't assume that you'll be able to custom fit them to your ear, you won't.
Beyond the peculiarness of their shape, they do not appear that they will offer a tight enough fit to allow them to be used in a gym/exercise situation, and they are not being advertised as such (it would have been nice though). Honestly, with half of the pod sticking out of your ear, they look like a stiff breeze will be able to dislodge them (depending on the size and shape of your ear). Though, considering how easy it is going to be to lose the individual pods (since they are tiny and have no wires whatsoever to keep them together), bringing them on a jog or to the gym might not be the best idea anyway.
Though, what the AirPods may lack in design, they seem to make up for with functionality. According to Apple, the AirPods will feature the "new ultra-low power Apple W1 chip, which enables AirPods to deliver high-quality audio and industry-leading battery life in a completely wireless design." Phil Schiller explains further, “AirPods are simple and magical to use, with no switches or buttons, automatically connecting to all your Apple devices simply and seamlessly, and letting you access Siri with just a double tap."
Additional features also include, "dual optical sensors and accelerometers in each AirPod that work with the W1 chip to detect when AirPods are in your ear, so they only play when you are ready to listen. Simply remove them to automatically pause the music, or just remove one to have a conversation and automatically resume when you put it back. Access Siri with a double tap to your AirPods to select and control your music, change the volume, check your battery life or perform any other Siri task. An additional accelerometer in each AirPod detects when you’re speaking, enabling a pair of beam-forming microphones to focus on the sound of your voice, filtering out external noise to make your voice sound clearer than ever before."
The new wireless AirPods, including charging case, will be available for $159 from apple.com and Apple Stores beginning in late October.
The answer is yes, as long as you use the lightning to 3.5mm adapter dongle that will be included in the box with your iPhone 7. If you happen to lose the adapter (which is very small), then you are in real trouble!