AirPods are wireless Bluetooth earbuds created by Apple. They were first released on December 13, 2016 and are sold alongside the premium AirPods Pro.

Apple AirPods Wordmark.svg
DeveloperApple Inc.
ManufacturerFoxconn, Luxshare ICT, and GoerTek
Product familyAirPods
TypeWireless earbuds
Release date
  • 1st generation: December 13, 2016 (2016-12-13)
  • 2nd generation: March 20, 2019 (2019-03-20)
Introductory price
  • US$159.00 (1st & 2nd gen.)
  • US$199.00 (2nd gen. with Wireless Charging Case)
Discontinued1st generation: March 20, 2019
System-on-chip used
InputAirPods (each)
Dual beam-forming microphones, dual optical sensors, accelerometer[1]
ConnectivityAirPods (each)
Charging Case
Lightning port[1]
Qi (Wireless Charging Case)
Current firmware6.8.8 G1 (September, 2019) 2C54 G2 (December, 2019)[2]
DimensionsAirPods (each)
0.65 x 0.71 x 1.59 in
(16.5 x 18.0 x 40.5 mm)
Charging Case
1.74 x 0.84 x 2.11 in
(44.3 x 21.3 x 53.5 mm)[1]
MassAirPods (each)
0.14 ounces (4 g)
Charging Case
1.34 ounces (38 g)[1]

In addition to playing audio, AirPods feature a built-in microphone that filters out background noise, which allows taking phone calls and talking to Apple's digital assistant, Siri. Additionally, built-in accelerometers and optical sensors can detect taps (e.g. double-tap to pause audio) and in-ear placement, which enables automatic pausing when they are taken out of the ears.[3]

On March 20, 2019, Apple released the second generation AirPods, which feature the H1 chip, longer talk time, and hands-free "Hey Siri" support. An optional wireless charging case was added in the offerings.

1st generationEdit

AirPods were announced on September 7, 2016 at an Apple Special Event alongside the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2. Apple originally planned to release them in late October,[4] but delayed the release date.[5] On December 13, 2016, Apple began taking orders online. They were available at Apple Stores, Apple Authorized Resellers, and select carriers on December 20.[6][7]

AirPods contain a proprietary Apple W1 SoC which helps optimize battery use and processes the Bluetooth 4.2 connection as well as audio. The additional connectivity functions of the W1 requires devices running iOS 10, macOS Sierra, watchOS 3, or later.[1] They can also function as standard Bluetooth headphones when connected to any device that supports Bluetooth 4.0 or higher, including Windows laptops Android devices.[8][9][10][11] There are two microphones in each AirPod, one at ear level, facing outward, and another at the bottom of the stem.[12][13]

Each AirPod weighs 0.14 oz (4 g), and its charging case weighs 1.34 oz (38 g). AirPods holds a charge of around five hours, while charging them for fifteen minutes in the case gives three hours of listening time. The charging case provides 24 hours of total usage.[14] During a teardown, each AirPod was found to contain a 93 milliwatt hour battery in its stem, while the charging case contains a 1.52 watt hour or 398 mAh at 3.81 V battery.[15]

They were discontinued on March 20, 2019 after the second generation was released.[16]

2nd generationEdit

Apple announced 2nd generation AirPods on March 20, 2019.[17][18] They include an H1 processor which supports hands-free "Hey Siri", Bluetooth 5 connectivity, and Apple claims 50% more talk time and faster device connection times.[19] “Announce Messages with Siri” was added in iOS 13.2, which allows Siri to dictate and reply to text messages.[20]

2nd generation AirPods can be purchased with the same charging case as the 1st generation, or for an additional $40 bundled with the Wireless Charging Case, which can be used with Qi chargers. The Wireless Charging Case can be purchased separately for $79 and is compatible with 1st generation AirPods. It moves the charging indicator LED to the exterior of the case.[21] The Wireless Charging Case was initially announced in September 2017 alongside the AirPower charging mat, but was delayed by AirPower's protracted development and eventual cancellation.[22]


AirPods are compatible with any device that supports Bluetooth 4.0 or higher, including Android devices, although certain features such as automatic switching between devices are only available on Apple devices using iCloud.[9] AirPods have full functionality with the following devices:[23]

2nd generation AirPods are compatible with devices running iOS 12.2 or later, macOS Mojave 10.14.4 or later, and watchOS 5.2 or later.


Apple has a program to service batteries and purchase replacement individual AirPods and charging cases.[24]

AirPods contain upgradeable firmware. Its original firmware was 3.3.1. In February 2017, Apple released 3.5.1,[25] 3.7.2 in May 2017,[26] and then 6.3.2 on March 26, 2019.[27] In July 2019, 6.7.8 was released and 6.8.8 followed in September 2019. The latest firmware is 2C54 (G2). AirPods automatically sync through Apple's iCloud service, allowing users to switch audio sources to other supported devices connected by the same Apple ID.[28]

Reception and criticismEdit

On announcement day, AirPods were compared to Apple's previously existing EarPods (2012–present), with The Verge noting "They look... just like the old EarPods, with the wires cut off."[29] Initially mocked by many for their unfamiliar design (including CNN asking "Would people actually wear these?" in 2016),[30] their popularity grew rapidly over the years and they were voted the most popular "hearable" brand of 2019.[36]

One criticism of AirPods is their high price (about $150); however, at launch they were actually priced less than most "true wireless" earbuds on the market (e.g. the Samsung Gear IconX and Bragi Dash) and remain competitively priced with similar products from other major brands.[37] Another criticism is the perceived tendency to fall out of one's ear; however, testing by Business Insider has shown that it is quite unlikely for this to happen during normal use for most ear types.[38]

Another prominent criticism was a problem that caused the charging case battery to deplete at a rapid rate despite the AirPods not being used. Users were reporting upwards of 30% idle discharge per day.[39] In response, Apple upgraded the AirPods' firmware to version 3.5.1, which addressed connectivity and battery drain problems.[40]

AirPods with the sound all the way up could cause ear damage or severe injuries that could lead to deafness. It is very much known why these incidents take place, most resulted because they weren’t properly thought of when developing.  The human ear can handle around 85 decibels and the Apple AirPods volume ranges from 96 to 110 decibels which is more likely to cause severe ear damage when used for a long period of time[41]. Another issue would be that wireless technology emits Radio emission which can worsen the human EMF(electromotive force) exposure problem[42]. If the antioxidants aren’t being balanced with the free radicals in our body, it could damage the DNA fragmentation which could start the process of cancer[43].

The lithium-ion batteries in AirPods can see significant degradation over time, with two-year-old sets lasting for less than half of the advertised five hours.[44][45] Apple offers "battery service" for $49 per AirPod or case, but this is actually a replacement program as batteries in AirPods cannot be removed.[46]


Analysts estimate Apple sold between 14 million and 16 million AirPods in 2017.[47] In 2018 AirPods were Apple's most popular accessory product, with 35 million units sold.[48][31] 15.9 million units were sold in the first half of 2019.[49] Analysts estimate AirPods make up 60% of the global wireless headphone market.[50] An estimated 5-7% of Apple's revenue from AirPods comes from replacement earbuds and cases.[51]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "AirPods - Technical Specifications". Apple Inc. Archived from the original on August 31, 2018. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  2. ^ Orr, Andrew (January 22, 2018). "iOS: How to Check Your AirPods Firmware Version". The Mac Observer. Archived from the original on August 31, 2018. Retrieved August 31, 2018. The latest AirPods firmware version [as of January 2018] is 3.7.2.
  3. ^ "Everything you need to know about Apple's new AirPods". Business Insider. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  4. ^ "Apple - Press Info - Apple Reinvents the Wireless Headphone with AirPods". Archived from the original on October 7, 2016. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  5. ^ "Apple Delays AirPod Rollout". Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  6. ^ Greg Emmanuel (December 14, 2016). "Review: Apple AirPods Are Pretty F--king Cool". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 14, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  7. ^ "Apple AirPods are now available". December 13, 2016. Archived from the original on December 14, 2016. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  8. ^ Pierce, David (September 7, 2016). "Hands On: Apple's AirPod Wireless Earphones Look Very nice And Work Great". Wired. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Woollaston, Victoria (March 2, 2017). "Apple AirPods review: better than previous iterations, but still a letdown". Wired UK. Archived from the original on August 31, 2018. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  10. ^ "Everything You Need To Know About Apple Wireless Earbuds, The Airpods - Wearable In Ear". Wearable In Ear. September 16, 2016. Archived from the original on January 16, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  11. ^ "Apple's W1 Chip for AirPods Is More Than Just a Bluetooth Controller". NDTV Archived from the original on February 7, 2017. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  12. ^ Walton, Tommy (January 20, 2017). "A New Solution to Volume on AirPods". Medium. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018. Retrieved June 22, 2018. One microphone is on the outside of the casing, below the acoustic port, and one at the bottom of the stem.
  13. ^ "AirPods". Apple Inc. Archived from the original on September 18, 2017. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  14. ^ "AirPods". Apple. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  15. ^ "AirPods Teardown - iFixit". Archived from the original on February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
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  18. ^ "AirPods, the world's most popular wireless headphones, are getting even better". Apple Newsroom. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
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  24. ^ AirPods Service and Repair. Apple.
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  26. ^ "Apple Releases New Firmware Update for AirPods". Archived from the original on July 31, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  27. ^ "New AirPods Sound Quality Debated as Orders Begin to Arrive Around the World".
  28. ^ "Buy AirPods". Apple Inc. Archived from the original on August 31, 2018. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  29. ^ "Apple AirPods hands (and ears) on". The Verge. September 7, 2016. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  30. ^ "Apple AirPods review: Do they actually stay in your ears?". CNN. December 21, 2016. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  31. ^ a b "Apple sold 35 million AirPods in 2018, currently most popular 'hearable' brand". AppleInsider. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  32. ^ "Airpods Popularity Has Grown Since Debut". Linn-Mar Life. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  33. ^ Dahir, Ikran (January 15, 2019). "Apple AirPods Became A Meme And Now They're Sold Out In Many Stores". Buzzfeed News. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  34. ^ "Have we Already Seen The New Apple AirPods, And Didn't Even Realize it?". CNN-News18. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  35. ^ "The internet loled at AirPods when they launched. Who's laughing now?". QZ. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  36. ^ [31][32][33][34][35]
  37. ^ "Google Pixel Buds". Google Store. Archived from the original on October 11, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
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  39. ^ "AirPods users complain of battery drainage issues with the charging case". Digital Trends. December 28, 2016. Archived from the original on February 7, 2017. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  40. ^ Mayo, Benjamin (February 1, 2017). "Apple AirPods silently receive bug fix firmware update to version 3.5.1". 9to5Mac. Archived from the original on February 7, 2017. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
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  42. ^ "Cornell University | Search Pages". Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  43. ^ "Is It Safe to Sleep with AirPods? Educate EMF - Educate EMF". Educate EMF. December 15, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
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  45. ^ Here's why your AirPods battery life is getting worse, and what you can do about it. Apple Insider. 11 March 2019.
  46. ^ Fowler, Geoffrey A. (October 8, 2019). "Perspective | Everyone's AirPods will die. We've got the trick to replacing them". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  47. ^ How Big Can Apple's AirPods Business Become?. Forbes. 12 December 2018.
  48. ^ "Apple's updated AirPods will release in 2019: report". MobileSyrup. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  49. ^ Apple Still Dominates the Hearables Market. The Motley Fool. 10 September 2019.
  50. ^ Apple’s AirPods Business Is Bigger Than You Think. Fortune. 6 August 2019.
  51. ^ "People love AirPods so much they spend more than half a billion a year replacing them". Retrieved October 4, 2019.

External linksEdit