A swing and a meh: AirPods get disrespected


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When coming up with any list of things that don’t include Apple products, remember that it’s still important to get an Apple product in the headline. For, uh, completeness.

Writing for The New York Times, Damon Darlin talks to Lauren Dragan about “How to Decide Which Headphones to Buy (Hint: Not Apple’s AirPods).” (Tip o’ the antlers to Tibor Csapo.)

GOOD TO KNOW. When doing a thing, always remember why you should not Apple. Very important.

The Times’ choices of main images for this article, a customer trying on headphones at an Apple Store and Tim Cook introducing AirPods, seem a little odd. It’s like talking about an ex and being weirdly specific about all the things you’re happy for them about. “According to her Facebook status and Instagram photos she’s in a long-term relationship with a doctor who works with Doctors Without Borders saving leper children from being fed to lions. That’s so great for her, she deserves every happiness.

(Another suggested pair of headphones does get a small image you can expand.)

Aside from not having a cord to tangle and being decent at taking phone calls, the AirPods didn’t improve much over the corded EarPods.

The Macalope really needs to make a GIF of himself turning to the camera with that Jim from The Office expression because the instances in which he could use such a GIF are multitudinous.

Headphone choices can be rather personal. Not everyone has the same ears. Thank goodness. Can you imagine? That would be madness. “Hey, can I have the ears on Tuesday?” NO, GARY, YOU ALWAYS TAKE THEM TO CONCERTS AND THEY’RE RINGING ALL DAY WEDNESDAY. But, for the Macalope’s ears, AirPods are more comfortable and they stay in better without the weight of the cords. Also, unlike wired headphones, they can’t get tangled in your antlers or anything else.

The sound quality is the same (which is to say, meh, with no bass). Plus the battery life is less than a full day at work, so you had better remember to charge them at lunch time. And this for $130 more than a replacement pair of EarPods? I don’t think they’re fully cooked yet.

The Macalope doesn’t know about your experience but, unless you’re this guy or you really hate your coworkers, you probably don’t put your headphones on the minute you get to work and keep them on until the minute you leave.

Manager: Ted, I’d like to talk to you about the Johnson account…


The Macalope has the same pair of Plantronics that’s one of the headphones Dragan recommends. They claim up to 8 hours of listening time but the Macalope’s never gone more than an hour with them in his ears because, despite being one of the more comfortable Bluetooth headphones not made by Apple that he’s used, they eventually start to hurt. They say you always hurt the one you love, so maybe the Plantronics just love the Macalope more than the AirPods. The Macalope just wants to be friends, Plantronics.

According to Apple, just 15 minutes in the battery case will charge the AirPods for another three hours. But Dragan doesn’t mention that or the AirPods’ numerous advantages, such as the pairing experience, the ease with which you can switch devices, taking one out to pause, how the battery case fits perfectly into that little change pocket on your jeans, etc. Ultimately, no one is obligated to include the AirPods on their list of besties. It just seems odd to the horny one when people “meh” one of Apple’s best products of the last few years without really considering what it has going for it.

It might not seem like it sometimes, but the Macalope doesn’t complain about every negative article about Apple. Recently his ruggedly attractive yet still nimble readers have sent him many articles bemoaning the lack of novelty-sized forks to stick into the iPad that he’s declined to touch. Because, while a great many of them are over-the-top in their foppish rushing back and forth between the fainting couch and the cabinet where the smelling salts are kept, one hand clutching the pearls, there really is something wrong with iPad sales (even if not ownership and use). The Macalope’s contention is that big iPhones mean people don’t tend to need iPads. While that validates the basic feature set of a device with a decent amount of screen real estate and touch capabilities, it doesn’t absolve the iPad as a product.

Apple’s not perfect. Ding them where it makes sense (e.g. iPad sales, no updates to desktop Macs, Eddy Cue’s shirt selection). But the Macalope thinks not including AirPods on a list of wireless headphone suggestions belies most people’s experience with them.

[CORRECTION: An earlier version of this piece misattributed the quotes to Darlin instead of Dragan. The Macalope regrets the error.]

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