eXtensions - Wednesday 21 December 2016
Apple AirPods in Bangkok (Extended Version): Worth Waiting For (Bangkok Post, Life)
By Graham K. Rogers
There was an update to the question of the delayed AirPods on Tuesday evening, when iFixit released its extensive teardown of the product. Near the end, they tackle the charging case and what they find inside leads them to the question, " Could issues with the AirPod case be what delayed release?" Their report has some useful technical insights.
When the AirPods were released last Tuesday, delivery was shown as before Christmas. Within two hours several people reported on Twitter that their orders were on the way. Later that evening it was reported that delivery estimates had already slipped to 29 December. It is now 6 weeks. Within 12 hours one pair was being offered on eBay for $1590
Pairing in Paragon and Charging in the Condo
I also feel self-conscious about apparently speaking to myself in a Bangkok mall. It is just as easy to take the iPhone out of my pocket, but then within a couple of days I start getting used to it. The double-tap can be changed to Play/Pause or to Off, but as there is more potential with Siri, I am ging to stick with that (her?) for the time being.
Siri did have trouble with my own collection and the conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler. I did that manually and the music sounded spectacular. Later, watching a series on iFlix, the quieter background sounds could be heard quite clearly with full stereo effects. A Skype call to my mother was reasonable: I could hear her and she could hear me (a major accomplishment).
The AirPods feel secure and fit into my ears even better than the AirBuds I usually have. Horace Dediu - the well-known commentator on Apple statistics - wrote that they had remained in the ear while he had been running, but he dislodged one when removing a sweater (upward movement). Putting the sweater on was not a problem.
On Twitter, Ben Bajarin, a sometimes strong critic of Apple, tried quite hard to dislodge them several times, writing later that he had played tennis and the AirPods stayed in. He added that this is "Likely not recommend by Apple but still!" A later article from Benjamin Mayo reported on a Marathon runner who tested the AirPods on a 10 KM run. In windy conditions, the Airpods stayed in his ears throughout the jogging and sprinting in windy conditions. I tried of course, but could not shake them loose, they fit so snugly; and even during a motorcycle taxi through Thonburi sois they never felt even slightly loose.
I also ran them all day on Monday and the battery lasted just over 5 hours without me using the case to recharge. I was able to repeat this on Tuesday, but noticed a sound like a soft double-click just before power was lost in the right AirPod. Like Monday, the left one continued playing for a while, so perhaps this is a failsafe. With the case, it would be possible to charge one, then the other, so a user would still have the ability to hear output. I am not sure if that is a smart little detail, or just luck.
A little more impressive was a test reported by Benjamin Mayo (9to5 Mac). Not that the AirPods are supposed to be waterproof, but after dropping them in the case three times from a height of 10ft (about 3m), someone put them through a full 30-minute wash and rinse cycle - detergent and all - but they still worked after that. How many times have we left things in our pockets? . . .
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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