AirPods – the most expensive backup headphones I’ve ever bought…

… But utterly worth it.

I have a pair of wireless Bose QC35s which are awesome, they are the headphones I primarily use because the noise cancelling is insane, and for my non-audiophile ears they sound amazing.

But they are big, and not really appropriate for use if I don’t have a bag to put them in. That’s why, until now, I’ve always kept a pair of wired in-ear headphones that I can take out with me when I don’t want to carry around a bag and carry case.

As an example, if I’m going on a night out I want to carry as little as possible on me, but I really need some way of listening to music on the train home (because nobody needs to deal with the last train home without music). In these sorts of situations, audio quality is definitely not at the top of my list, but portability and discreteness are; two things AirPods excel at.

That’s not to say the audio quality on AirPods is bad, although they leak sound just like regular EarPods, they sound great to me and I’ve had absolutely no issue with connection at all.

On top of being insanely portable, sounding great and being easy to set up, when used alongside an Apple Watch it’s a match made in heaven. The lack of track and volume controls totally disappears when you have access to both the Music app and the Now Playing “Glance” (you can add this to the Dock in watchOS 3). Better still, the Now Playing Glance lets you control Spotify, or indeed anything else that shows up in the audio controls section of Control Center on iOS.

AirPods are, currently, an extravagance. As someone who loves gadgets I can find ways to justify the cost to myself, but not everyone can. But they are new, and Apple knows they can make some extra bucks from early adopters (as they have done many times in the past, with the first MacBook Air, Retina MacBook Pro and 12″ MacBook as examples). Wireless is the future, and I long for the day wires are completely abolished from everything, not just computing. The cost of them will come down as competition becomes more fierce and the technology matures, but until then I can firmly say, these are the most expensive backup headphones I’ve ever bought, but they are truly, utterly worth it.

Where Does Apple Watch Fit In?

After getting my grubby fingers all over an Apple Watch since the 24th April I’ve had a fair bit of time to use it, both for personal use and for development of MacID.

During that time I’ve been asked time and time again:

What does it do? Is it worth it?

The answers I give to that are “everything” and “yes”, but I think what people really want to know when they ask is, “what is it good for?”.

To answer that, lets have a look at where Apple’s other products fit in to our lives. (This, of course, is circumstantial and just a generalisation).

The Mac, nowadays, is ultimately for creating content. OS X is still the parent of all other Apple products, and it’s still usually the easiest way of doing multiple things at once when you’re working on a project. The iPad tries to be a content creator, but in reality it still fails in many aspects. Sure, it’s good for a quick edit of a Pages document, but if you want to create a website, code an app, do some detailed design work, or write an essay, you still need to use a proper operating system with much more accurate input.

iOS on the other hand, is amazing for consuming content and communication. Twitter, Instagram, messaging, iBooks, listening to Music; these are all far superior on iOS. Again, you can do all of this on your Mac now, but engagement is much higher on mobile devices for this sort of content.

So, what about Apple Watch? I personally think Apple Watch will excel with utility apps. Apps which allow you to unlock your Mac or hotel room, board a plane, check your car’s current charge, book a cab, control your TV, or check off a shopping list. These all take seconds of your time for each interaction, and are perfect for the small form factor.

Once developers stop seeing Apple Watch as something they have to get their current apps onto, and start understanding where it will excel, Apple Watch (and other wearables) will start to become integral in our lives just like laptops and smartphones.