Author’s Note: I haven't read any reviews, hot-takes, or commentary on Apple’s AirPods since I received mine on the 19th of December (2016-12-19 for you programmer types), so what follows is what I’ve been chewing over for the past few weeks.
These are the headphones I have always wanted.
When they were announced, I knew—I just knew—that these would be the only headphones I would wear for the foreseeable future. I have had Bluetooth headphones in the past and even considered purchasing a pair of Bragi wireless earbuds for a good while, but I could never bring myself to pull the trigger. When these were announced, I put all other alternatives out of my mind entirely. My immediate reaction was probably just “towing the party line,” I can admit to that. However, this is one of the few moments of my insignificant history where my optimism has borne out.
The AirPods cross a crucial nexus point for me in terms of their sound, fit and weight. The free in-the-box EarPods have always fit fine and I've consigned myself to the idea that most headphones sound “good enough” for my ears. These, however, are not in the same league as any of those. No, these headphones are something else entirely.
Subconsciously, I think they have melded into my skull. I often forget they are in my ears and have repeatedly stripped them off when changing. They feel like they are attached directly to the conscious part of my mind. Perhaps it's just me, but I imagine that all audio just floats down into my world. I cannot count the number of times I have made a panicked shoulder check for someone speaking to me at my desk because I've forgotten they were in my ears and playing. The fact that they can “sneak up” on me gives me at all is a delightful part of the AirPods’ charm.
It's tough to try and describe a hard-bodied, white and plastic “technology” (in the harsh sense of the term) in warm and sticky language. But these AirPods aren't mere accessories—I have a hard enough time remembering they're not biology—instead, these are the first truly human focused products I have had the pleasure of using in some time.