Confused about Apple’s new EarPods and AirPods? Here’s what you need to understand | Stephen Lam/Getty Images


When Apple presented the iphone 7, it additionally took the wraps off of two new accessories: a redesigned pair that EarPods and also the all-new AirPods. The new headphones alternatives come to us courtesy that the recent of Apple’s controversial design choices: the decision to remove the heritage 3.5mm headphone jack from the bottom of the iphone phone 7 and create headphones that plugin to the Lightning harbor instead.

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The brand-new pair of to apologize EarPods that ships with the iphone 7 functions a Lightning connector. The optional pair of AirPods, i m sorry Apple will sell separately, associate wirelessly come the call via Bluetooth. Additionally, an adapter included with the iphone phone 7 allows you to usage a pair the headphones you’ve already got.

In various other words, if you’re to plan on buying the brand-new iPhone 7, you have actually several selections for just how you’ll hear to music or make calls v a pair that earbuds. You can use wired earbuds that plugin to the Lightning harbor (like the EarPods the come in the box). Or, girlfriend can connect a pair the Bluetooth wireless headphones, choose the company’s newly introduced AirPods. Alternately, you deserve to plug in the had adapter to usage a pair that “normal” wired headphones the the kind that would typically plug in to the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Still confused about what’s going on with EarPods, AirPods, Lightning connectors, and also Bluetooth connections? Ahead, you can record up on every little thing you should know about Apple’s EarPods and AirPods and also why Apple make such huge changes to such a small accessory.

What room Apple EarPods?


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Apple’s new EarPods attach to the iphone phone 7 via the Lightning port, no a classic headphone jack | Stephen Lam/Getty Images


EarPods are the earbuds the Apple has with the acquisition of a brand-new iPhone. V the advent of the iphone 7, the pair that EarPods that’s included in the box will no much longer plug in to a traditional headphone jack. They’ll attach to the Lightning port instead. The Lightning harbor is the exact same one that friend use once you charge your phone, or sync it v iTunes ~ above your computer using a USB cable. The evident drawback with this system, of course, is the you can’t fee the iphone phone 7 or the iphone phone 7 to add while headphones are plugged in come the Lightning port.

The pair of EarPods that comes with the iphone 7 is identical to the pair that comes with the iphone 6s through the exception of the Lightning connector in the place of the 3.5mm plug at the end. The cable is equipped through the very same microphone and also volume controls, which method that this EarPods are just as advantageous for making calls or listening come music. The EarPods that come with the iphone phone 7 have the right to be supplied with any machine that’s equipped through a Lightning port, together far back as the iphone phone 5 and also the fifth-generation iPod Touch. So if you buy a new iPhone 7, you deserve to use the EarPods that come v it on many other apple devices.

As Jared Newman reports because that MacWorld, Phil Schiller mentioned at Apple’s iphone phone 7 even that it’s the Lightning connection on the company’s new EarPods that will enable brand-new features like adaptive noise cancellation and higher-quality audio without an external power source. However, to apologize “didn’t mention any noise-canceling or other fancy features in the new EarPods,” and instead spent an ext time asking about the wireless AirPods the it’s selling separately (more ~ above those shortly).

Why did Apple readjust its EarPods?


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The brand-new iPhone 7 functions only a Lightning port, no headphone jack because that the EarPods to plug into | Stephen Lam/Getty Images


Now that you understand how Apple’s EarPods have actually changed, you might be wondering why they’ve changed. Theory on this vary according to your view of Apple, her confidence in its design choices, and your level of attachments to the headphones you’ve collected over the years. Yet generally, the consensus is the Apple adjusted its EarPods to help phase out the headphone jack and also to push the market toward wireless headphones.

Ian Bogost reports for The Atlantic the the introduction of the new EarPods and AirPods space as much about killing off the headphone jack as they room about how to apologize “sells its regulating ways as futurism.” that explains, “Apple portrays the removal of a century-old standard prefer the analog audio port together the continuous expression the the that company bold and unrelenting nature.” Bogost reports the two of Apple’s other forced obsolescences — the remove of the floppy drive upon the 1998 beginning of the iMac and also the lack of the optical journey from 2008’s MacBook air — “felt likewise aggressive at the time,” but have been greatly forgotten today.

Nonetheless, Bogost points the end that “Apple’s aggressive battle versus the retrograde traction of hardware standards likewise exerts one implicit manage on that users.” Apple’s selections to support or remove details standards amplifies the tendencies currently present in the market. Removed the headphone jack indigenous the iphone 7 can seem hostile, like removing the floppy disk and also the optical disk go in 1998 and 2008. Yet in Boost’s assessment, the bigger snapshot is the “Apple’s influence and also success has seen its design choices colonize contending products and also services, native Android to Windows. The future that those options helped create has end up being our present. 2nd nature. It’s hard to imagine one alternative.”

What room Apple AirPods?


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Apple’s brand-new wireless AirPods connect via Bluetooth, no via the Lightning connector or a headphone jack | josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images


Apple AirPods, as opposed come the EarPods, are the company’s new wireless earbuds. A pair the AirPods prices $159 and also is an optional acquisition (i.e., AirPods don’t come through the iphone 7 and aren’t cost-free with the acquisition of an iphone phone 7). They’re powered by a new ultra low-power chip, dubbed the W1, i beg your pardon operates at a third of the strength of traditional wireless chips and enables the AirPods come deliver “high-quality AAC audio.” The AirPods critical for five hours of listening on a charge, and you can recharge the AirPods in the included charging case, which offers 24 hours of total listening time. You’ll recharge the case, in turn, via a Lightning port.

While apologize didn’t explicitly point out Bluetooth as soon as it announced its brand-new AirPods, or make promises about compatibility through non-Apple Bluetooth devices, the AirPods store page does check that they support Bluetooth. AirPods are equipped through optical sensors and also accelerometers, which job-related with the W1 chip come detect as soon as the AirPods space in your ear or identify when you’re talking. You can use one or both, and they’ll only play once you’re ready to listen. You can remove them indigenous your ears to automatically pause the music, or you can move one to have actually a conversation and your music will automatically resume as soon as you placed it back.

The accelerometer in every AirPod detects once you’re speaking and enables a pair that beam-forming microphones to emphasis on the sound of your voice and also filter out exterior noise. Girlfriend can access Siri v a double tap come the AirPods come select and also control music, adjust the volume, check your battery life, or complete any type of other job with Siri. As soon as you pair your AirPods through your iPhone, they’ll immediately pair with other iOS 10, watchOS 3, or macOS devices signed right into your iCloud account. However as Daring Fireball’s john Gruber reports, “they have the right to most certainly be supplied as consistent old Bluetooth ear buds v an Android an equipment or a Mac to run a pre-Sierra OS or whatever. The pairing switch is top top the case, not the AirPods.”

Do you require AirPods?


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Deciding whether you desire to spend $159 on the AirPods calls for some thinking around whether you favor Bluetooth headphones in the an initial place | Stephen Lam/Getty Images


Considering whether you should plan to purchase a pair the AirPods? climate don’t forget to take it a look at the downsides, too. One the the biggest drawbacks that wireless headphones, no issue how great their reliability or your sound quality, is that you’ll must remember to charge them. (Not only that, yet you’ll likewise need to remember to charge the charging case.) Both the AirPods and the charging situation are little devices that will most likely prove easy to misplace, i beg your pardon is another peril the earbuds that aren’t linked to each other and additionally aren’t perpetually tangled into a knot at the bottom of her backpack.

While it’s valuable that the AirPods have built-in microphones for acquisition calls or talking to Siri, it’s annoying the you need to use them for everything, even controlling the volume or convert tracks. Steve Kovach reports for organization Insider the though the wired EarPods have volume controls, the AirPods have actually no together buttons, and also you’ll have to either take your iPhone out to adjust the track or regulate the volume, or ask Siri to carry out it. That may seem like a step ago if you’re already used to adjusting the volume of her favorite playlist best from her EarPods.

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But lot of of world are enthusiastic around Bluetooth headphones in spite of the border that stroked nerves others. Also if you’re prepared to do the switch to wireless, friend should keep in mind the Apple isn’t the only company making wireless headphones. Together Billy Steele reports for Engadget, many of providers make wireless earbuds that feature task and heart-tracking tools, attributes that aren’t existing in Apple’s AirPods. And also earbuds like Doppler Labs’ right here put girlfriend in regulate of the sound around you, even allowing you to selectively minimize unwanted noise and also amplify speech. The point? also if you’re sold on the idea that wireless headphones, it pays to carry out your research and make certain that Apple’s AirPods space the appropriate pair because that you.