Wondering about the evolution of Apple AirPods? Airpods are popular. There’s no doubt about that. They have grown with so many benefits and features. Each model offers something different. Certainly, Apple’s AirPods product line includes some of the bestselling audio gear on the shelves, so studying Apple’s earbud evolution is fascinating.
The development of earphones that are now popular enough to be an industry of their own began as a series of basic white earphones shipped with early iPods and iPhones. How long has it been since Apple AirPods were invented, and how have they grown? Here we will talk about that.
What is Apple AirPods?
With Apple AirPods, you can listen to music wirelessly via Bluetooth with your iPad or iPhone. Due to their Bluetooth functionality, you can also use them with other computers and smartphones; you can even connect AirPods to an Apple TV. Despite Apple’s inclusion of a basic pair of wired earbuds on all iOS devices, consider upgrading to AirPods.
The Evolution of Apple AirPods
AirPods have had a long journey since iPods were first released. Here is the timeline:
- 2001 earbuds were only sold with the first iPods.
- 2007 iPhone stereo headset came out with the first iPhone
- 2008 in-ear headphones were sold separately and were silicone tipped
- 2009 iPhone stereo headset volume buttons were added
- 2012 Airpods sold with the iPhone 5 have a plastic outer shell
- 2016 AirPods are truly wireless with built-in microphone and IR sensors
- 2019 AirPods pro came with active noise cancellation, force sensors, and adaptive EQ
- 2019 AirPods 2nd gen 30% lower latency, double tap for Siri, and more talk time
- 2020 AirPods max over-ear headphones, digital crown, and active noise cancellation
- 2021 AirPods 3rd gen personalized spatial audio, charging case, and up to 30 hours of listening time
- 2022 AirPodsods pro 2nd gen adaptive transparency, touch controls, and 2x stronger ANC
In conjunction with the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2, Apple announced the first generation of AirPods on September 7, 2016. The AirPods were originally scheduled to be released in late October but were delayed. AirPods went on sale online on December 13, 2016.
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December 20, 2016, marked the availability of these devices at Apple Stores, as well as Apple-authorized resellers and select cellular service providers.
The Apple W1 SoC processor in AirPods optimizes battery life, Bluetooth 4.2 compatibility, and audio playback. iOS 10, macOS Sierra, watchOS 3, or later is required to enjoy the advanced connectivity functions of the W1.
In addition, they can be used with any Bluetooth-enabled device, whether it’s an Android device or a Windows laptop. Each AirPod comes with two microphones, one at the base of the stem and one at the ear level. AirPods weigh 0.14 ounces, while the charging case weighs 1.34 ounces.
In general, the AirPods hold a charge for five hours. Three hours of listening time are available after 15 minutes of charging in the case.
With the charging case, you can use the device for up to 24 hours. The disassembly of the AirPods revealed a battery that contains 93 milliwatt hours, compared to 3.81 volts and 1.52 watt-hours in the charging case.
First-generation AirPods have the model numbers A1523 and A1722. Following the release of the second generation of AirPods, the first generation was no longer produced.
March 20, 2019, marked the launch of Apple’s second-generation AirPods. The design of the second generation is similar to that of the first generation, but some features have been updated. Hands-free “Hey Siri” is supported with an H1 processor, while Bluetooth 5 connectivity is also included.
Additionally, Apple claims that its devices will connect faster and last 50% longer. You can purchase the second-generation AirPods with the same charging case as the first-generation, or you can purchase them with a wireless charging case, allowing you to charge the device using a Qi wireless charger.
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You can charge first-generation AirPods with a wireless charging case, which is sold separately. In this case, the charging indicator LED has been moved to the exterior. Initially announced in September 2017, the wireless charging case was launched with the AirPower charging pad, which was canceled due to protracted development.
Despite the launch of the third generation of AirPods in October 2021, the second generation is still available at a price cut, but only in conjunction with the lightning case.
AirPods 3 were announced on October 18, 2021, by Apple. Like the AirPods Pro, they feature shorter stems and are controlled by force touch. This model offers audio support for Dolby Atmos and spatial audio, IPX7 waterproofing, skin recognition, and MagSafe charging capabilities.
There is an increase in battery life. According to Apple, the battery life of AirPods is six hours and the charging case provides up to 30 hours of battery life.
October 18, 2021, is when preorders for the third-generation AirPods began. AirPods were developed in the third generation to enhance the user experience and launched on October 26, 2021, and are $179.00.
A $169 variant from Apple released in September 2022 lacks Qi and MagSafe charging support.
Watch this video: The Evolution of Apple AirPods 2016 – 2021
What Features Are Different From Each Model?
As with most tech, the different models offer varying features that allow users to choose which works best for them. Here’s what you can expect from each model.
AirPods and Apple’s other headphones support Siri reading, letting you hear your messages read by Siri. Before reading your message, Siri plays a sound and announces the sender’s name. You will then be asked if you would like to reply.
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In the case of a long message, Siri will only call out the sender’s name. Alternatively, you can request that she read you the full message. If you would prefer to reply, simply tell Siri.
You can enable this feature in Settings > Notifications > Siri Announcements. This feature is only available if you have AirPods or Powerbeats headphones; if your headphones aren’t compatible, the option will not appear. Your phone will only be read out loud by Siri when it’s locked.
The feature is useful for driving or engaging in another activity while your hands aren’t available. It’s still possible for you to hear and respond to your messages with your AirPods connected to your Apple device.
Apple Watch and AirPods
An Apple Watch is a great device when you cannot or do not wish to use your phone, for example, while running. For users who frequently use Apple Watches without their iPhones, pairing AirPods with Apple Watches can prove useful.
The AirPods are easy to pair with your Apple Watch since they are paired automatically once your iPhone is connected. To use them, take your Apple Watch and swipe up from the bottom to reveal the AirPlay icon, then tap the AirPods icon.
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If you are having trouble pairing your AirPods, press the Setup button on the case of your AirPods, then tap Connect a Device again.
Your AirPods Have a Choice of Microphones
All AirPods have this feature. The buds are equipped with microphones, making it convenient to make calls. The microphones are both on by default when using both AirPods. When one microphone is plugged in, the microphone connected to it becomes the default.
To select a microphone you always want to use, open Settings > go to Bluetooth and choose the icon that looks like an (i) next to the Airpod you want to use. You can then set the microphone by clicking on your preference. Whether you choose right or left, the default microphone will be used, even if that pod is inside the case.
Are There Going to Be More?
AirPods Max, the next generation of wireless headphones, is rumored to be released in 2023. When they come out, they will be an instant hit and will garner a lot of attention like Apple earbuds did 20 years ago!
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Even though AirPods don’t receive yearly updates, firmware updates are regularly released. As a result, there are many amazing features we get to enjoy regularly, including spatial audio and live listening. So remember to install these updates to keep your AirPods up-to-date.
Apple: Has It Run Its Course?
Several pressures are exerting on Apple right now, from competitors seeking to capture the creative market to pressures associated with global trade and assembly. Apple has reinvented and revitalized the brand thanks to the iPod, a device that revolutionized the portable music market.
After that, Apple undoubtedly redefined the market with the iPhone. Is it possible for the company responsible for shaping an entire generation’s media history to catch lightning three times within a quarter century? We’ll have to wait and see. Fans of Apple will keep wearing white headgear until then.
When considering Apple’s truly wireless earbuds, here’s what to know: you can save money with the 2nd generation AirPods, but then you don’t get the extra features that are installed on the AirPods third generation and AirPods Pro.
More fitting options and noise cancellation are available on the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) than on the AirPods 3, along with more case options. However, similar features remain, including sweat-proofing, adaptive equalization, and personalized spatial audio to help you listen to your environment.
They have grown better over time, and it is still fascinating to think about what they will come out with next and what features will come with them. Visit Audio Ambition to learn more.