Apple announced their AirPods a couple weeks ago during their iPhone / Apple Watch event, and the launch of these new headphones comes along with more controversy than normal, even in the context of past polarizing product releases from the company.
The main reason around the controversy is that the AirPods are being closely associated with the removal of the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Something is changing / going away, so people are having the knee-jerk reaction of being mad about it. It doesn't seem like there's any going back from here, though -- Apple won't be able to re-introduce the headphone jack for next year's presumably enormous release of the 10th anniversary iPhone, and two straight generations without a headphone jack for the most popular smartphone in the world is probably enough to kill that little thing for good. In 2-3 years, the frustrations around the loss of the headphone jack will likely be forgotten, and in 5-7 years, we'll be laughing at the days we walked around with our head attached to our pants pocket.
All of this is not the point of my article here, though. On their own merits, Apple's AirPods are extremely impressive (on paper) compared to existing and upcoming competition. "On paper" is the only way to make comparisons to the competition so far, seeing as how these things haven't been released yet. But if you search for early reviews of the new headphones, you'll find that most early reviewers are finding them to be more than acceptable in terms of sound quality as well.
Taking a quick look at Apple's competitors reveals a fairly straightforward conclusion that the AirPods offer some of the best performance specs on the market, at a $169 price that is objectively low compared to similar products. To make this comparison, a few points have to be assumed:Read More