AirPods are wireless Bluetooth earbuds made by Apple Inc. They feature new user interactions; for example, removing an AirPod from one's ear causes playback to pause and vice versa, and double tapping them can either activate Siri, or play or pause playback. AirPods are compatible with devices running iOS 10, and it automatically syncs through iCloud so that the user can switch to devices running macOS Sierra or watchOS. They can also play audio from any device that support Bluetooth 4.0 or higher, Android devices can use the double tap gesture to control playback.
AirPods were introduced on September 7, 2016, alongside the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2. Apple originally planned to release the AirPods in late October, but the company delayed the release date. On December 13, 2016, Apple released the AirPods to be ordered online. They were available at Apple Stores, Apple Authorized Resellers, and select carriers on December 20.
Since the release of iOS 10.3, users are able to locate missing AirPods by triggering a ringing noise through the "Find My iPhone" app.
Apple incorporates their own custom designed chip – the W1 – into AirPods, which will help optimize the battery use and process the Bluetooth connection as well as audio.
Each AirPod weighs 0.14 oz (4 g), and its charging case weighs 1.34 oz (38 g). It holds a charge for about five hours, and the charging case can charge it for up to 24 hours of usage. During a teardown, each AirPod earbud was found to contain a 93 milliwatt hour battery in its stem, while the charging case was found to contain a 1.52 watt hour battery.
AirPods also contain upgradeable firmware, although it is unknown whether the charging case is capable of receiving firmware updates. Since launch, Apple has upgraded the AirPod firmware from 3.3.1 to 3.7.2.
One criticism of AirPods is their high price; however, at launch they were actually priced less than most "true wireless" earbuds on the market (e.g. the Samsung Icon X and Bragi Dash) and remain competitively priced with similar products from major brands. Another criticism is the perceived ability to fall out of one's ear; however, testing by Business Insider has shown that it is quite unlikely for this to happen during normal use for most ear types.
Another prominent criticism was an issue that caused the charging case battery to deplete at a rapid rate despite the AirPods not being used. Users were reporting upwards of 30% idle discharge per day. Apple then upgraded the AirPods' firmware to 3.5.1, available to all users, which addressed connectivity and battery drain issues.