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The original Apple AirPods are pretty damn good. Theyâ€™re comfy, have great sound quality, and stay in most peopleâ€™s ears. But theyâ€™reÂ lacking in a couple key areas like long battery life andÂ tap functionality.
Not anymore. The new AirPodsÂ offer everything from extended talk time to tap controlÂ to Siri, making them an even more coveted piece of everyday carry. Â
My favorite featuresÂ areÂ the longer battery life (thanks in part to the power efficiency of the new Apple H1Â headphone chip) and ability to quick charge when needed. Apple says youâ€™ll get up to an hour more of talk time, which is nice when youâ€™re on your third conference call of the day and donâ€™t have to worry about your AirPods crapping out midsentence. Also neat:Â fifteenÂ minutes of charge time in the case gets you three more hours of music.Â
I bike to work every day and used to hate switching songs on my original AirPods via Siri because she couldnâ€™t hear me over the wind. With the new version, I can double-tapÂ my rightÂ AirPod to skip to the next songÂ and double-tapÂ my left AirPod to skip back. No more suffering through bad music.
Utilizing some algorithm magic, Apple also found a way to cut down wind noise when youâ€™re riding and talkingÂ or just walking somewhere on a windy day. Can I speed down the bike path and have a wind-free conversation? Absolutely not. But I can pedal at a decent pace and not annoy the person Iâ€™m talking to, which is a win in my book.
Just like your iPhone, you can now say, â€śHey, Siri,â€ťÂ and the digital assistant pops right up. Siri is not perfect by any means, but itâ€™s convenient to be on my bike and ask Siri about everything from the weather to my schedule without having to take my hands off the bars.
If you have the new Apple Watch Series 4, the AirPod integration is superconvenient. You can control the headphone volume via the watch dial, answer a call and send it to the AirPods, and dictate and verify a text. If you have the Series 4 watch with cellular, you can make calls via your AirPods but without your phone. I dig this perk on the weekends when I want to ride 70 miles andÂ need the option to call a bail-out rideÂ but donâ€™t want to carry my phone.
Other new additions include the ability to wirelessly charge the AirPodsÂ and faster connectivity to your phone, which can make a difference when youâ€™re trying to answer a call and insertÂ your headphones at the same time.
Iâ€™ve been watching people put the new AirPods to good use in all kinds of ways, including Jared Zissu, the founder of Flylords, an online fly-fishing publication. Zissu is constantly on the road and has his AirPods in constantly. Things like the new battery life and reduced noise have allowed him to do more business, but theyâ€™ve also helped him chill outÂ when the time comes. He usually fishes without the AirPods, but sometimes, in rivers where a fish might bite only once every three hours, a good playlist and his AirPods come in handy.
â€śThe sounds of nature are usually best, but sometimes a playlist and my AirPods can really help me get into the zone,â€ť he says.