AirPods are now available online and will hit shelves in a few days, just in time for the last days of the holiday shopping season, the tech giant said last 13 December.
The US$ 159 wireless AirPods were delayed in late October, after Apple said it needed more time before the device would be ready to ship. After their hotly anticipated September release, reviewers complained the AirPods "look odd" and had occasional glitches.
The accessories — which claim to be more power efficient than Bluetooth devices, thanks to a special communications chip — are a crucial selling point for Apple's flagship device, the iPhone 7, which lacks a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack.
"It makes no sense to tether ourselves with cables to our mobile devices," Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said at the company's September product launch in San Francisco.
With the AirPods missing some of the year's biggest shopping days, the stakes are high. Apple CEO Tim Cook has promised investors that the company is returning to growth after reporting three straight quarters of lower year-over-year sales.
Here's Apple’s overview from the company’s website:
"Wireless. Effortless. Magical.
AirPods will forever change the way you use headphones. Whenever you pull your AirPods out of the charging case, they instantly turn on and connect to your iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, or Mac.(1) Audio automatically plays as soon as you put them in your ears and pauses when you take them out. To adjust the volume, change the song, make a call, or even get directions, just double-tap to activate Siri.
Driven by the custom Apple W1 chip, AirPods use optical sensors and a motion accelerometer to detect when they’re in your ears. Whether you’re using both AirPods or just one, the W1 chip automatically routes the audio and engages the microphone. And when you’re on a call or talking to Siri, an additional accelerometer works with beamforming microphones to filter out background noise and focus on the sound of your voice. Because the ultralow-power W1 chip manages battery life so well, AirPods deliver an industry-leading 5 hours of listening time on one charge.(2) And they’re made to keep up with you, thanks to a charging case that holds multiple additional charges for more than 24 hours of listening time.(3) Need a quick charge? Just 15 minutes in the case gives you 3 hours of listening time.(4)"