Review: Apple's new AirPods are a first-class update to an already superb product

13

Comments

  • Reply 41 of 73
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    mammal said:
    Did you test a new set of airpods 1 against the new AirPods 2? Cause some earwax x 2 years can have some effect when comparing some old ones against some new, fresh ones. 
    Yes. 

    However, even our old ones we keep clean. There are procedures for that.
    I would like to hear what those procedures are... 
    I got a set for my grandson who grows ear wax like crazy.   I don't know if it hurts them -- or what can hurt them -- but looks gross.
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208729

    A (dry and not used for anything else but similar procedures) toothbrush works very well. 
    Thank you for that.
    As an aside, I wonder if that is the reason we keep hearing about "sweat ruining the AirPods"?   I don't know how any sweat glands there are in our ears (not many if any!) -- but I bet a lot of people use water or alcohol to clean their AirPods.
  • Reply 42 of 73
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member

    It feels wrong, just very wrong, to replace a $159 pair of headphones after at most two and a half years. 
    Clearly no runners in the office. Runnings shoes used frequently need replacement 3-6 months, and are $110-170. Strangely we don't here runners complaining about it, and shoes aren't even recyclable with the vendor.
    Shoes are designed to ablate on the road. AirPods and headphones are not. Different use paradigm.
    I'll disagree.  I think comparing running shoes and AirPods is a good analogy. 
    Running shoes and AirPods both wear out (fairly quickly) with use.   While AI is estimating a 2 year or so lifespan, they are really talking about usage rather than time -- just as running shoes wear in "3-4 months" with heavy use.   And, to compound it, running puts additional demands on both because who wants to run a 4 hour marathon in worn out shoes or with AirPods that only last 2-3 hours?

    Added:  By the way, running shoes usually do not wear out (ablate) the sole as much as the cushioning and support break down.  (A mattress might be a good analogy -- the top is fine but the cushioning and support break down.)   Many runners continue to use their running shoes for casual wear after they are too worn for the demands of running.



    edited March 2019 pscooter63StrangeDays
  • Reply 43 of 73
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member

    It feels wrong, just very wrong, to replace a $159 pair of headphones after at most two and a half years. 
    Clearly no runners in the office. Runnings shoes used frequently need replacement 3-6 months, and are $110-170. Strangely we don't here runners complaining about it, and shoes aren't even recyclable with the vendor.

    https://investinganswers.com/financial-dictionary/economics/durable-goods-2323

    Durable goods are a category of consumer products that do not need to be purchased frequently because they are made to last for a long time (usually lasting for three years or more). They are also called consumer durables or durables.

    Consumer goods are many times separated into two categories: durables and non-durables. Durables have an extended product life and are not typically worn out or consumed quickly when you use them. Since they're made to last, durable goods are often times more expensive than non-durable goods that have to be purchased repeatedly over a short period of time.

    A washing machine is an example of a durable good -- it takes many years and a number uses to completely expend its functionality. The laundry detergent used in the washing machine, on the other hand, is a non-durable good -- when the bottle is empty, the detergent must be repurchased.

    Other examples of durable goods include automobiles, appliances, furniture, jewelry, consumer electronics and sporting goods.

    So yeah, most people expect a $150 device to work well for at least 3-5 years.  Or to put it another way, I'm sure you'd agree that having AirPods AND running shoes that didn't wear out as fast would (or be as expensive to refurbish) would be a good thing.  Oh well.  Maybe next year Apple will demonstrate their AirPod recycling robot.

    Management of Expectations is critical!
    It doesn't matter how good you do or how good your product is.  If the customer expects it to last 3-5 years and it only lasts 2 they will think it is junk.

    Ya gotta manage those expectations!
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 44 of 73
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,542administrator
    How can they "sound" better if nothing has changed internally? Same drivers, same configuration or the sound chambers. Same shell casing? I call B.S. on this and feel the author wanted them to sound better, thus they do. They sound adequate but not for critical music listening. For the average consumer who really has no clue about high-end sound quality, these are okay, I have a pair of the original AirPods 1, and I use them when I don't really worry to much about music. I use them mainly for podcasts and the vocal sounds are okay. I would recommend them, but still the claim that they sound better is bogus.
    See the comment immediately above yours, posted four hours earlier.

    We don't know why they sound differently yet. Something's changed, as the frequency response has changed. We're still working on it.
    GeorgeBMacfastasleep
  • Reply 45 of 73
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,542administrator

    It feels wrong, just very wrong, to replace a $159 pair of headphones after at most two and a half years. 
    Clearly no runners in the office. Runnings shoes used frequently need replacement 3-6 months, and are $110-170. Strangely we don't here runners complaining about it, and shoes aren't even recyclable with the vendor.
    Shoes are designed to ablate on the road. AirPods and headphones are not. Different use paradigm.
    I'll disagree.  I think comparing running shoes and AirPods is a good analogy. 
    Running shoes and AirPods both wear out (fairly quickly) with use.   While AI is estimating a 2 year or so lifespan, they are really talking about usage rather than time -- just as running shoes wear in "3-4 months" with heavy use.   And, to compound it, running puts additional demands on both because who wants to run a 4 hour marathon in worn out shoes or with AirPods that only last 2-3 hours?

    Added:  By the way, running shoes usually do not wear out (ablate) the sole as much as the cushioning and support break down.  (A mattress might be a good analogy -- the top is fine but the cushioning and support break down.)   *Many runners continue to use their running shoes for casual wear after they are too worn for the demands of running.*



    TIL. Mine are generally destroyed on the sole, and I get rid of them at that point.
    edited March 2019
  • Reply 46 of 73
    tipoo said:
    Seems like everyone who got Airpods 1 at launch is now saying battery life is decimated. It makes sense for a small battery, but it seems that they didn't even manage the iPhones lower 500 cycle rating, let alone their 1000 cycles for most other products. 

    Would be nice to see published specs for how long these tiny batteries are rated to last, and if the gen 2 are any improved there. 
    I'm not sure your conclusion is correct.  Because of the small battery the "cycle" is just a few hours.  So you can go through 10-15 cycles in a week or easily 500 cycles in a year.
  • Reply 47 of 73
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,794member
    How can they "sound" better if nothing has changed internally? Same drivers, same configuration or the sound chambers. Same shell casing? I call B.S. on this and feel the author wanted them to sound better, thus they do. They sound adequate but not for critical music listening. For the average consumer who really has no clue about high-end sound quality, these are okay, I have a pair of the original AirPods 1, and I use them when I don't really worry to much about music. I use them mainly for podcasts and the vocal sounds are okay. I would recommend them, but still the claim that they sound better is bogus.

    entropys said:
    How can they "sound" better if nothing has changed internally? Same drivers, same configuration or the sound chambers. Same shell casing? I call B.S. on this and feel the author wanted them to sound better, thus they do. They sound adequate but not for critical music listening. For the average consumer who really has no clue about high-end sound quality, these are okay, I have a pair of the original AirPods 1, and I use them when I don't really worry to much about music. I use them mainly for podcasts and the vocal sounds are okay. I would recommend them, but still the claim that they sound better is bogus.
    It has a different chip and thus firmware I would presume, and who knows if they made tweaks to the drivers? Seems like that may be the case.
    That does make sense. Why Apple create new audio architecture chip and not improve audio. It is possible that the improvement jump is smaller than most people quickly differentiate.
  • Reply 48 of 73
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,529member
    tipoo said:
    Seems like everyone who got Airpods 1 at launch is now saying battery life is decimated. It makes sense for a small battery, but it seems that they didn't even manage the iPhones lower 500 cycle rating, let alone their 1000 cycles for most other products. 

    Would be nice to see published specs for how long these tiny batteries are rated to last, and if the gen 2 are any improved there. 
    I'm not sure your conclusion is correct.  Because of the small battery the "cycle" is just a few hours.  So you can go through 10-15 cycles in a week or easily 500 cycles in a year.
    I could be wrong, but my understanding of battery cycle count is that it is proportional to the remaining battery chargeable capacity, not simply the number of times you charge your battery to 100%. Say you use your device for 2 hours and doing so discharges the battery in your device to 75%, thus depleting 25% of the battery's maximum charge capacity. It would therefore take 4 of these 25% usage/discharge cycles to equal one battery cycle count.

    The caveat here is that the remaining maximum chargeable capacity of the battery degrades over time and with usage. We're all familiar with this from having the iPhone Battery Health feature. This means that as the battery wears out the same 2-hour device usage depletes a greater proportion of the remaining maximum battery capacity. The same usage is still depleting the same number of units of the available battery capacity, but the older and wearing-out battery simply has less total capacity so your usage consumes a greater proportion of what is now a smaller maximum capacity so the number of cycle counts tick off more quickly as the battery loses capacity. At some point the maximum available battery capacity cannot support your 2-hour usage pattern and you have to live with less usage or pony up some cash to replace the battery or the device. It's like the gas tank in your car shrinks over time and with use, and eventually shrinks to nothing. 

     I welcome a battery expert to weigh-in on my assumptions.
    edited March 2019 watto_cobra
  • Reply 49 of 73
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,794member
    Airpod 2 is incremental improvements over AirPod 1. That is good enough reason to buy AirPod 2.
  • Reply 50 of 73
    dewme said:
    tipoo said:
    Seems like everyone who got Airpods 1 at launch is now saying battery life is decimated. It makes sense for a small battery, but it seems that they didn't even manage the iPhones lower 500 cycle rating, let alone their 1000 cycles for most other products. 

    Would be nice to see published specs for how long these tiny batteries are rated to last, and if the gen 2 are any improved there. 
    I'm not sure your conclusion is correct.  Because of the small battery the "cycle" is just a few hours.  So you can go through 10-15 cycles in a week or easily 500 cycles in a year.
    I could be wrong, but my understanding of battery cycle count is that it is proportional to the remaining battery chargeable capacity, not simply the number of times you charge your battery to 100%. Say you use your device for 2 hours and doing so discharges the battery in your device to 75%, thus depleting 25% of the battery's maximum charge capacity. It would therefore take 4 of these 25% usage/discharge cycles to equal one battery cycle count.

    The caveat here is that the remaining maximum chargeable capacity of the battery degrades over time and with usage. We're all familiar with this from having the iPhone Battery Health feature. This means that as the battery wears out the same 2-hour device usage depletes a greater proportion of the remaining maximum battery capacity. The same usage is still depleting the same number of units of the available battery capacity, but the older and wearing-out battery simply has less total capacity so your usage consumes a greater proportion of what is now a smaller maximum capacity so the number of cycle counts tick off more quickly as the battery loses capacity. At some point the maximum available battery capacity cannot support your 2-hour usage pattern and you have to live with less usage or pony up some cash to replace the battery or the device. It's like the gas tank in your car shrinks over time and with use, and eventually shrinks to nothing. 

     I welcome a battery expert to weigh-in on my assumptions.
    I think Apple agrees with you:

    https://www.apple.com/batteries/why-lithium-ion/

    Charge your Apple lithium-ion battery whenever you want. There’s no need to let it discharge 100% before recharging. Apple lithium-ion batteries work in charge cycles. You complete one charge cycle when you’ve used (discharged) an amount that equals 100% of your battery’s capacity — but not necessarily all from one charge. For instance, you might use 75% of your battery’s capacity one day, then recharge it fully overnight. If you use 25% the next day, you will have discharged a total of 100%, and the two days will add up to one charge cycle. It could take several days to complete a cycle. The capacity of any type of battery will diminish after a certain amount of recharging. With lithium-ion batteries, the capacity diminishes slightly with each complete charge cycle. Apple lithium-ion batteries are designed to hold at least 80% of their original capacity for a high number of charge cycles, which varies depending on the product.
    But my general point is valid:  given that the full capacity of AirPods (when new) only gives 3-5 hours of use, it's perfectly reasonable that someone could go through 500 cycles in 2 years.  And as you point out, the "size of the gas tank" is getting smaller and smaller so each cycle is a tiny bit shorter than the one before.  

    It would be interesting to compare the performance of sets of AirPods that were purchased 2 years ago but used very differently.  How many hours of listening time do you get from the ones that sat in a drawer for 2 years versus used a few times a week versus used every day?

    pscooter63StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 51 of 73
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,072member
    dewme said:
    tipoo said:
    Seems like everyone who got Airpods 1 at launch is now saying battery life is decimated. It makes sense for a small battery, but it seems that they didn't even manage the iPhones lower 500 cycle rating, let alone their 1000 cycles for most other products. 

    Would be nice to see published specs for how long these tiny batteries are rated to last, and if the gen 2 are any improved there. 
    I'm not sure your conclusion is correct.  Because of the small battery the "cycle" is just a few hours.  So you can go through 10-15 cycles in a week or easily 500 cycles in a year.
    I could be wrong, but my understanding of battery cycle count is that it is proportional to the remaining battery chargeable capacity, not simply the number of times you charge your battery to 100%. Say you use your device for 2 hours and doing so discharges the battery in your device to 75%, thus depleting 25% of the battery's maximum charge capacity. It would therefore take 4 of these 25% usage/discharge cycles to equal one battery cycle count.

    The caveat here is that the remaining maximum chargeable capacity of the battery degrades over time and with usage. We're all familiar with this from having the iPhone Battery Health feature. This means that as the battery wears out the same 2-hour device usage depletes a greater proportion of the remaining maximum battery capacity. The same usage is still depleting the same number of units of the available battery capacity, but the older and wearing-out battery simply has less total capacity so your usage consumes a greater proportion of what is now a smaller maximum capacity so the number of cycle counts tick off more quickly as the battery loses capacity. At some point the maximum available battery capacity cannot support your 2-hour usage pattern and you have to live with less usage or pony up some cash to replace the battery or the device. It's like the gas tank in your car shrinks over time and with use, and eventually shrinks to nothing. 

     I welcome a battery expert to weigh-in on my assumptions.
    I think Apple agrees with you:

    https://www.apple.com/batteries/why-lithium-ion/

    Charge your Apple lithium-ion battery whenever you want. There’s no need to let it discharge 100% before recharging. Apple lithium-ion batteries work in charge cycles. You complete one charge cycle when you’ve used (discharged) an amount that equals 100% of your battery’s capacity — but not necessarily all from one charge. For instance, you might use 75% of your battery’s capacity one day, then recharge it fully overnight. If you use 25% the next day, you will have discharged a total of 100%, and the two days will add up to one charge cycle. It could take several days to complete a cycle. The capacity of any type of battery will diminish after a certain amount of recharging. With lithium-ion batteries, the capacity diminishes slightly with each complete charge cycle. Apple lithium-ion batteries are designed to hold at least 80% of their original capacity for a high number of charge cycles, which varies depending on the product.
    But my general point is valid:  given that the full capacity of AirPods (when new) only gives 3-5 hours of use, it's perfectly reasonable that someone could go through 500 cycles in 2 years.  And as you point out, the "size of the gas tank" is getting smaller and smaller so each cycle is a tiny bit shorter than the one before.  

    It would be interesting to compare the performance of sets of AirPods that were purchased 2 years ago but used very differently.  How many hours of listening time do you get from the ones that sat in a drawer for 2 years versus used a few times a week versus used every day?

    Despite the thought that Li batteries can be charged at any point, I still have achieved excellent battery longevity by only charging devices, including AirPods when the battery has between 10% and 15% remaining and then only charge to 100%.
    edited March 2019 watto_cobra
  • Reply 52 of 73
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,529member
    I suspect that battery cycle count is a synthetic metric with several contributing factors. It’s more like a heuristic than a directly observable quantity. One the bigger factors that I assume skews the cycle count quite a lot is the discharge rate, or how quickly the battery is depleted a certain percentage. I wonder if Apple factors that into the count?  The current battery technology is quite amazing but there is still a long way to go. Battery technology doesn’t get the attention that a new A series processor does, but it’s still one of the biggest constraints for all portable products. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 53 of 73
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,251member
    Was hoping for a redesign that allows them to be more deeply/firmly seated in my ears. They don’t fall out, but a great difference in fidelity/volume when I press them in slightly tighter. Even a silicone skin might help. 
    Almost every bud works like that IMO. The deeper you cram something into your ear, the louder it gets.
  • Reply 54 of 73
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,251member

    It feels wrong, just very wrong, to replace a $159 pair of headphones after at most two and a half years. 
    Clearly no runners in the office. Runnings shoes used frequently need replacement 3-6 months, and are $110-170. Strangely we don't here runners complaining about it, and shoes aren't even recyclable with the vendor.
    Shoes are designed to ablate on the road. AirPods and headphones are not. Different use paradigm.
    Running shoes aren't worn down by the road, they get compressed and are no longer suitable for your joint health while pounding pavement.

    Regardless -- obviously shoes are not headphones. That doesn't matter one lick. The analogy is -- consumable wearables. Running shoes are consumable, they get used up. These headphones are likewise consumable and get used up. But they lasts 5-10 times longer than running shoes, and cost near the same. And can be recycled. 


    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 55 of 73
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,251member


    It feels wrong, just very wrong, to replace a $159 pair of headphones after at most two and a half years. 
    Clearly no runners in the office. Runnings shoes used frequently need replacement 3-6 months, and are $110-170. Strangely we don't here runners complaining about it, and shoes aren't even recyclable with the vendor.

    https://investinganswers.com/financial-dictionary/economics/durable-goods-2323

    Durable goods are a category of consumer products that do not need to be purchased frequently because they are made to last for a long time (usually lasting for three years or more). They are also called consumer durables or durables.

    Consumer goods are many times separated into two categories: durables and non-durables. Durables have an extended product life and are not typically worn out or consumed quickly when you use them. Since they're made to last, durable goods are often times more expensive than non-durable goods that have to be purchased repeatedly over a short period of time.

    A washing machine is an example of a durable good -- it takes many years and a number uses to completely expend its functionality. The laundry detergent used in the washing machine, on the other hand, is a non-durable good -- when the bottle is empty, the detergent must be repurchased.

    Other examples of durable goods include automobiles, appliances, furniture, jewelry, consumer electronics and sporting goods.

    So yeah, most people expect a $150 device to work well for at least 3-5 years.  Or to put it another way, I'm sure you'd agree that having AirPods AND running shoes that didn't wear out as fast would (or be as expensive to refurbish) would be a good thing.  Oh well.  Maybe next year Apple will demonstrate their AirPod recycling robot.

    You're claiming ALL headphones are durable goods (3-5 years), and others could make that same claim about shoes. But some shoes (running shoes in particular) are not, and only last 3-6 months. And some headphones (AirPods in particular) are now in the same boat.

    You claiming ALL consumer electronics should be durable goods doesn't make it so.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 56 of 73
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,251member

    It feels wrong, just very wrong, to replace a $159 pair of headphones after at most two and a half years. 
    Clearly no runners in the office. Runnings shoes used frequently need replacement 3-6 months, and are $110-170. Strangely we don't here runners complaining about it, and shoes aren't even recyclable with the vendor.
    Shoes are designed to ablate on the road. AirPods and headphones are not. Different use paradigm.
    I'll disagree.  I think comparing running shoes and AirPods is a good analogy. 
    Running shoes and AirPods both wear out (fairly quickly) with use.   While AI is estimating a 2 year or so lifespan, they are really talking about usage rather than time -- just as running shoes wear in "3-4 months" with heavy use.   And, to compound it, running puts additional demands on both because who wants to run a 4 hour marathon in worn out shoes or with AirPods that only last 2-3 hours?

    Added:  By the way, running shoes usually do not wear out (ablate) the sole as much as the cushioning and support break down.  (A mattress might be a good analogy -- the top is fine but the cushioning and support break down.)   *Many runners continue to use their running shoes for casual wear after they are too worn for the demands of running.*



    TIL. Mine are generally destroyed on the sole, and I get rid of them at that point.
    I'm going to hazard that you are referring to casual jogging shoes, and that you aren't a runner (think daily, training for marathons, etc). If you used running shoes to the point of wearing thru the sole, the support would be toast and you'd be in a world of hurt. No, running shoes used by runners who run daily, get replaced 3-6 months. This is just fact.
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 57 of 73
    Okay, but I waiting for AirPods 3.
  • Reply 58 of 73
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member

    It feels wrong, just very wrong, to replace a $159 pair of headphones after at most two and a half years. 
    Clearly no runners in the office. Runnings shoes used frequently need replacement 3-6 months, and are $110-170. Strangely we don't here runners complaining about it, and shoes aren't even recyclable with the vendor.
    Shoes are designed to ablate on the road. AirPods and headphones are not. Different use paradigm.
    I'll disagree.  I think comparing running shoes and AirPods is a good analogy. 
    Running shoes and AirPods both wear out (fairly quickly) with use.   While AI is estimating a 2 year or so lifespan, they are really talking about usage rather than time -- just as running shoes wear in "3-4 months" with heavy use.   And, to compound it, running puts additional demands on both because who wants to run a 4 hour marathon in worn out shoes or with AirPods that only last 2-3 hours?

    Added:  By the way, running shoes usually do not wear out (ablate) the sole as much as the cushioning and support break down.  (A mattress might be a good analogy -- the top is fine but the cushioning and support break down.)   *Many runners continue to use their running shoes for casual wear after they are too worn for the demands of running.*



    TIL. Mine are generally destroyed on the sole, and I get rid of them at that point.
    I'm going to hazard that you are referring to casual jogging shoes, and that you aren't a runner (think daily, training for marathons, etc). If you used running shoes to the point of wearing thru the sole, the support would be toast and you'd be in a world of hurt. No, running shoes used by runners who run daily, get replaced 3-6 months. This is just fact.
    Or, I maintain 3 different pairs and rotate through them.   Usually that's 2 pair of Kinvara's (one older and one newer) for speed and one pair of Ride's for distance or recovery runs.   The Kinvara's are only good for about 150-200 miles before they start breaking down.   The Rides will give me double that.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 59 of 73
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,041member
    Comparing AirPods 2 to my old, largely unused pair*, my new AirPods sound bassier but with reduced highs. My old AirPods definitely sound better to me. People may have different reactions to the new pods based on preferences or unit-to-unit variability.)

    btw: AirPod battery life may go to hell rather quickly because people tend to use them only briefly before returning them to the charging case. Frequent charge/discharge cycling likely shortens the life even of lithium batteries.

    *I much prefer the clarity, convenience**, security*** and battery life of the BeatsX over the AirPods. Hence my AirPods receive little use.

    **Just dangle the BeatsX around neck when not in use... e.g., no need to pull AirPods out of pocket and fumble to get them out of case when wanting to make/take a phone call.

    ***I'm not going to lose the BeatsX. AirPods do not fix so securely. In fact one regularly needs to be repositioned or will fall out if I talk or eat for any length of time.
    edited March 2019
  • Reply 60 of 73
    petiegpetieg Posts: 24member
    I've used brush-picks to clean them... 
    watto_cobra
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