By Todd Bernhard on Wed, 12/14/2016
After a long delay, Apple is finally taking orders for its high-tech wireless earbuds, dubbed AirPods, to complement the iPhone 7. When Apple removed the dedicated headphone jack, one of the reasons it was supposed to be acceptable was that Apple would sell an advanced set of Bluetooth wireless earbuds that use their special W1 chip. This chip enables both earbuds to communicate with each other and easily pair with the iOS device. In fact, when you pair it with one iOS device, it will pair with your other iOS devices, based on your iCloud account. You can activate Siri just by touching either earbud, which is a nice, but could be distracting if done by accident.
Apple had been running into difficulties getting both earbuds to sync together to play stereo music in real-time, hence the delay. Apparently, they've solved the problem and are now sending out AirPods to folks who had pre-ordered them. If you place an order today, expect to wait a month or longer to get them. However, retail stores may have limited stock. Don't count on them in your stockings this year.
Apple doesn't like to pre-announce products, but sometimes it will when they are entering a new market like the Apple Watch, to siphon off sales of competitors' products. Indeed many wireless earbud makers had to cut prices drastically to compete with what turned out to be an unavailable product. Earin is one example of a Bluetooth earbud maker that dropped its prices; and I think that, in several ways, its product is better. I'm not sure I could get used to the Apple AirPods' dangling extension. It looks too much like something Star Trek's Lieutenant Uhura would wear!