Apple has just unveiled a new generation of the iPhone, and while the iPhone 7 looks quite good in “piano black,” the changes that this new model brings are not that spectacular. In fact, the iPhone 7 is most notable for a feature that is missing: the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Instead of a classic, wired pair of earphones, Apple introduced AirPods, wireless earbuds with an estimated five hours of battery life, built-in microphones, and some software magic that lets it talk to the iPhone and avoid that pairing non-sense you have to go through with other wireless headphones.

Related: Apple Airpods review

We initially thought that the AirPods feature some sort of proprietary wireless technology that Apple described as “Bluetooth-like.” There’s a precedent for that: while iPhones feature NFC, it’s a modified and heavily-locked down form of NFC that only works where Apple wants it to work, namely Apple Pay.


As it turns out, that special Bluetooth-like tech is actually just plain Bluetooth. As a result, the Apple AirPods will work with just about any device that supports Bluetooth, including your Android smartphone or tablet. So should you run out and buy the new AirPods as soon as they become available? Probably not, here’s why:

  • First: the AirPods are quite expensive at $159. To be fair, they are $40 cheaper than Samsung’s wireless earbuds, the Gear IconX, but those also have 4GB of built-in storage and a bunch of fitness features.
  • Second: you won’t get all their features on non-Apple devices – in particular, you will have to pair them and connect them like any Bluetooth headphone.
  • Third: you will need an iPhone 7 to get that advertised 5-hour battery life – on non-optimized devices battery life will probably be lower.
  • Fourth: Apple’s wired earphones are widely considered to be unimpressive, and, judging from the reports from journalists who got to test the AirPods at the Apple event yesterday, the wireless version sounds just about the same.

If you’re interested in alternatives, we have a great list of the best Bluetooth earbuds. They all have wires between the buds, but on the flip side, you’re far less likely to misplace or lose them. What do you think of Apple’s new AirPods? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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