They are being heralded as Apple's best surprise product of 2016 – AirPods. They are being heralded as Apple's ugliest product of 2016 – Airpods. So which is it? Are Airpods great? Yes. Are they ugly? No.
Airpods are virtually identical to to their wired cousins, Apple's EarPods, but for one major factor. Airpods have, rather obviously, no wires. When I first saw them, they looked awkward. After pondering as to why they looked rather odd, the answer became obvious. I'm simply not accustomed to seeing earphones without wires. The answer is really that simple.
I can't stand wires and I detest charging cables. Apple's EarBuds, for all their environmentally friendly materials, tangle quickly and easily, driving me nuts. Apple's AirPods, removing all wires completely, is a leap over what is currently offered today. But with that jarring look, will they catch on?
With a little help from Pixelmator, I attempt to demonstrate how tuned our brains are to seeing wires as "normal" and unwired earphones as "not normal." After studying the AirPods design for a few weeks now, testing them, and taking a few more glances at them, they no longer strike me as odd. Rather, it is that annoying and arcane looking corded EarPod product that looks so VCR.
If Christmas pans out well (in terms of my own selfish wishes), in a few short days I'll be wearing a new pair of these wireless gems into my gym, easily and perfectly synced with my Series 2 Apple Watch. I know I'm going to get some looks and a few questions, but I can live with it. In another 3 - 6 months AirPods and other wireless earphones will be commonplace. If only Lieutenant Uhura had such an elegant looking earpiece.
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