AirPods In Stock Today at Best Buy With Free 2-Day Shipping

Apple's AirPods are in stock today on Best Buy's website, with a free 2-day shipping option placing the wireless headphones to arrive later this week for customers in the United States. Faster one-day alternatives are available for around $20.


Users who purchase on Best Buy's website will also get free in-store setup and advice from Geek Squad.

AirPods have had a six-week shipping estimate on Apple.com since the launch last December, and Apple has yet to give any indication when the headphones might be available sooner for customers.

Disclaimer: MacRumors.com is an affiliate partner with Best Buy and may get paid if you click one of the above links and make a purchase.

Tag: AirPods

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iOS 11 Lets AirPods Users Change Tracks With a Double Tap

Owners of AirPods will soon be able to skip forwards and backwards between tracks with a simple double tap of either earpiece, thanks to an additional setting Apple is providing in iOS 11.

Currently, AirPods users can only change tracks from the buds by invoking Siri with a double tap and vocally commanding the virtual assistant to do so, an action some people find cumbersome or simply embarrassing to have to perform in public.

Unfortunately the only available alternative to iOS 10 users is to take out their iPhone and perform the track change manually by tapping the lock screen.


However, as demonstrated by YouTuber Appsolutely Tech, in iOS 11 it's possible to customize the Bluetooth settings on the AirPods so that a double tap on one earpiece skips to the next track, with the same action on the other earpiece returning to the previous track.

The Next/Previous track options join the existing settings found on the iOS Bluetooth 'info' screen that let users double tap to activate Siri, play/pause the track, or turn off the AirPods.

(Thanks, Jonathan!)

Related Roundup: iOS 11
Tag: AirPods

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Apple Releases New Firmware Update for AirPods

Apple today released a new 3.7.2 firmware update for its AirPods, likely introducing bug fixes and performance improvements to the wireless earbuds.

AirPod firmware updates are installed automatically when the AirPods are connected to the iPhone, so AirPods users should begin seeing the new firmware soon as the update rolls out to everyone.


AirPods owners can check the version number in the Settings app by going to General --> About --> AirPods while the AirPods are connected to the iPhone.

Apple did not provide release notes with the firmware update, so it is not known what problems the new software might address.

Though AirPods were first released back in December of 2016, they continue to be in short supply. Shipping times for the AirPods are still at six weeks from the online Apple Store.

Tag: AirPods

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iPhone 8 Said to Have Enhanced Earpiece With Further Improvements to Stereo Sound and Waterproofing

Apple's so-called "iPhone 8" with an OLED display and wireless charging will also feature an "enhanced receiver" with "further improvements" to stereo sound and waterproofing, according to new research shared this week by JPMorgan analysts, who track the company's supply chain in the Asia-Pacific region.


For those unfamiliar, the receiver is the slim, meshed earpiece cutout above the screen that you hold against your ear during a phone call. Since the iPhone 7, it has doubled as a full-out speaker. With two speakers, Apple says the iPhone 7 delivers two times the audio output of an iPhone 6s with increased dynamic range.

JPMorgan didn't specify what acoustical improvements will be made to the iPhone 8's receiver, but it's reasonable to assume it could have higher peak volume at the very least. The earpiece will also be more waterproof, in line with a previous rumor claiming the iPhone 8 will have even better IP68-rated water resistance.

The research note also made the rather outlandish prediction that AirPods may come as a free accessory with the iPhone 8.

Apple including AirPods with the iPhone 8 isn't something we've heard before, so treat the rumor with a healthy dose of skepticism. But, if the rumor proves to be accurate, AirPods would presumably replace Apple's wired EarPods with Lightning connector that it includes in the box with current iPhone models.

AirPods cost $159 in the United States, considerably more than EarPods, which retail for $29 when purchased separately, and cost Apple barely anything to make, according to estimates by market research firm IHS Markit. It's unclear how much it costs Apple to manufacture a pair of AirPods.

Multiple reports suggest the iPhone 8 will be expensive, with the base model costing at least as much as a maxed out iPhone 7 Plus. Given that many iPhone 8 configurations will likely exceed $1,000 in the United States, perhaps Apple will still be able to achieve a reasonable enough profit margin to include AirPods in the box.

Other iPhone 8 features expected by JPMorgan have all been rumored previously, including a stainless steel and glass design, faster processor, larger battery, wireless charging, and 3D sensing module for facial recognition. JPMorgan estimates the device will be $75 to $80 more expensive to manufacture.

This research note comes from a group of JPMorgan analysts in the Asia-Pacific region, including Gokul Hariharan. Not listed is Rod Hall, who covers Apple for JPMorgan in the United States. Hall is the analyst who believes there's a highly likely chance Apple will preview the iPhone 8 at WWDC in June.

"iPhone 8" is a tentative name for Apple's significantly redesigned, high-end smartphone rumored to launch in 2017. It has also been referred to as the iPhone X, iPhone Pro, and iPhone Edition.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tags: AirPods, JPMorgan

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Apple’s AirPods Achieve 98% Satisfaction Rate in User Study

Apple customers who have purchased the AirPods are largely satisfied with the wire-free earbuds, according to a new survey conducted by Experian and Creative Strategies.

Of 942 AirPods owners polled, 82 percent said they were "very satisfied," while another 16 percent said they were "satisfied," for an overall customer satisfaction score of 98 percent.


At 98 percent satisfaction, Creative Strategies says the AirPods set the record for the highest level of satisfaction for a new product from Apple. For comparison's sake, the iPhone had a 92 percent customer satisfaction rate in 2007, the iPad had a 92 percent customer satisfaction rate in 2010, and the Apple Watch had a 97 percent customer satisfaction rate in 2015.

Customers were also asked whether or not they would recommend the AirPods to others, and AirPods owners largely said yes, earning the AirPods a Net Promoter Score (explained below) of 75.
We used a standard benchmark question called a Net Promoter Score, which ranks a consumer's willingness to recommend the product to others. This ranking is on a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being extremely likely to recommend and 0 being not likely at all to recommend. It was this number that surprised me. Apple's Net Promoter Score for AirPods came back as 75. To put that into context, the iPhone's NPS number is 72. Product and NPS specialists will tell you anything above 50 is excellent and anything above 70 is world class.
When asked to explain the ranking they gave, customers used words like magic, fit, sound quality, convenient, love, good sound, and battery life, and cited benefits like the simple pairing process, and the convenience of a wireless experience. Negatives included issues with fit and connectivity.


In a series of general sentiment questions, 82 percent of survey respondents strongly or somewhat agreed that AirPods are their favorite recent Apple product, while 62 percent said they consume more audio with the AirPods. 82.5 percent wanted more control over content, like turning the volume up or changing a song, and 84 percent said that using one AirPod makes sense in certain situations.

Apple's AirPods, priced at $159, first went on sale in October, but are still hard to track down even today. Current shipping estimates suggest orders placed today will not arrive for six weeks, while in-store pickup estimates offer June 20 as the earliest possible pickup date.

Tag: AirPods

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New Patent Describes Waterproof AirPods Case That Could Double as iPhone or Apple Watch Charger

A new patent filed by Apple last year, and published recently by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, details a future iteration of the AirPods charging case that could simultaneously recharge the wireless headphones as well as an iPhone or Apple Watch. In the patent, Apple has visualized an AirPods case that, when placed flat on a surface, could turn into an Apple Watch charging pad thanks to a "wireless power transmitting component" (via Patently Apple).

This would allow the AirPods case to double as a portable charging battery, providing power to both the AirPods internally and a separate device externally. The patent depicts multiple ways for the case to detect if an external device is ready to receive transmitted power, including an optical sensor, a mass sensor, or a mechanical interlock or button. When any of these methods are activated, the case would begin charging the external device, which also could include MacBooks.

Image via Patently Apple
"Such devices can include, for example, portable music players (e.g., MP3 devices and Apple's iPod devices), portable video players (e.g., portable DVD players), cellular telephones (e.g., smart telephones such as Apple's iPhone devices), video cameras, digital still cameras, projection systems (e.g., holographic projection systems), gaming systems, PDAs, as well as tablet (e.g., Apple's iPad devices), laptop (e.g. MacBooks) or other mobile computers. Some of these devices can be configured to provide audio, video or other data or sensory output."
Additionally, a future version of the AirPods case could have an entirely waterproof design, providing even further protection to the AirPods when they're placed within the charging case for long periods of time. Apple's patent depicts ways that the AirPods charging case could have simple water resistance, or could include a full waterproof seal that would be able to survive submersion up to 100 feet for 30 minutes.
Apple notes that In various embodiments the liquid-tight seal shall be rated between 3 (spraying water) and 6 (powerful water jets) while in some embodiments the liquid-tight seal shall be rated between 4 (splashing water) and 7 (immersion up to 1 meter). In various embodiments the liquid-tight seal shall be rated between 5 (water jets) and 8 (immersion beyond 1 meter) while in some embodiments liquid-tight shall mean the seal will protect the electronic device against liquid ingress up to 100 feet for 30 minutes.
Wireless charging has been rumored for this year's upcoming iPhone 8, which is said to most likely use Apple's in-house wireless charging methods -- like the Apple Watch's inductive charging -- and not an extended-range solution. If the company integrated an inductive charging pad right onto the AirPods case, it would be an interesting mobile solution for users to juice up their Apple Watch or iPhone, but the amount of power that the AirPods charging case could hold remains unclear.


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How to Use iOS 10.3’s New Find My AirPods Feature

iOS 10.3 introduces "Find My AirPods," a new feature designed to make it easier to keep track of Apple's recently released wireless earphones.

Find My AirPods has its limitations because it's not able to work when the AirPods aren't connected to an iOS device via Bluetooth, but the feature can help you locate AirPods lost nearby and it gives clues as to where your AirPods might be found if they're lost out of the range of the iPhone.

It's worth noting that Find My AirPods only works for the AirPods themselves -- it can't locate a lost AirPods Case, nor does it work when the AirPods are disconnected from the iPhone and stored in the case.

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How to Access Find My AirPods


Find My AirPods is located within the "Find My iPhone" app on iOS devices and iCloud.com. If the AirPods are out of the case and connected to the iPhone, they'll show up on the Find My iPhone map just like an iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, or Mac.
Continue reading How to Use iOS 10.3’s New Find My AirPods Feature

AirPods and Apple Watch Called ‘Underpriced’ to Bring New Users Into Apple Ecosystem

Apple is underpricing AirPods and the Apple Watch in an effort to bring new users into its ecosystem, according to Neil Cybart of Above Avalon. The analyst said this pricing strategy was "unimaginable" ten years ago, when Apple was often accused of pricing products artificially high, aka "Apple Tax."


AirPods cost $159 in the United States, which Cybart said is "surprisingly low" compared to competing truly wireless headphones:
It is very difficult to find a pair of wireless headphones priced lower than AirPods. In the run-up to Apple unveiling AirPods this past September, the wireless headphone market consisted of the following players:

- Kanoa: $300
- Bragi Dash: $299
- Erato Apollo 7: $289
- Skybuds: $279
- Earin: $249
- Motorola VerveOnes+: $249
- Samsung Gear IconX: $199
- Bragi Headphone: $149
Cybart believes a strong case could have been made for Apple to price its AirPods at $249, or even $299, but by selling them for $159, he thinks Apple has "removed all available oxygen from the wireless headphone space" and forced competitors to cut pricing in an attempt to better compete.

Earin's wireless headphones now start at $199, for example, while Motorola's VerveOnes+ are on sale for $189.99. Even at those discounted prices, however, AirPods are still cheaper at $159.

AirPods are estimated to ship in six weeks on Apple's online store, and it has been that way since the day after they launched in December.

Cybart said a similar pricing dynamic is found with the Apple Watch, which now starts at $269 for Series 1 models:
At $269, Apple Watch Series 1 is one of lowest-priced smartwatches worth buying in the marketplace. Attractive pricing was one key factor driving record Apple Watch sales this past holiday quarter. In fact, even the Apple Watch Series 2, at $349, is one of the lowest-priced smartwatches in its class:

- Fossil Fenix 5: $599
- Garmin Forerunner 630: $399
- Michael Kors Access: $350
- Samsung Gear S3: $349
- Fossil Q Founder: $275
Cybart believes the pricing of the Apple Watch demonstrates how Apple is looking to capture not only the premium segment of the wearables market, but rather the entire market. While an entry-level Apple Watch costs $269, for example, a ceramic Apple Watch Edition costs upwards of $1,249.

His research note theorizes that Apple could be more effective now at mass producing products at a lower cost, while offering price points that appeal to a wider variety of users. Higher-priced Apple Watch SKUs likely offset the lower margins of Apple Watch Series 1 models as well, he said.

He even thinks that an Apple Watch for $199 is "inevitable," although there might be less wiggle room for products such as iPads.

Overall, Cybart thinks Apple is in essence "redefining luxury" by offering lower prices while, at the same time, becoming more of a luxury brand. He expects it to be difficult for other consumer tech companies to compete with that strategy.

Of course, many Apple products are still unquestionably expensive. The latest 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar starts at $2,399, while an iPhone can cost upwards of $969. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is priced from $799, and a handful of Apple Watch models run over $1,000. All prices are based on U.S. dollars.

Full Article: The Curious State of Apple Product Pricing on Above Avalon

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3
Tag: AirPods
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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ColorWare is Now Selling Apple’s AirPods in 58 Colors if You’re Willing to Pay $289

ColorWare, a company that custom paints Apple products, today announced that it is now accepting orders for Apple's AirPods, which can be purchased from the site in range of different colors.

For $289, a $130 premium over the $159 price of the AirPods, ColorWare will paint them in one of 58 different shades, from solids to metallics in every color of the rainbow. A deep glossy black is also an option, giving customers who have been wanting a "Jet Black" set of AirPods a way to get it.


Each AirPod can be painted in a different shade, and for an extra $30, ColorWare will also paint the AirPod Charging Case. Along with a custom color, users can also choose a matte or gloss finish, for a set of AirPods that are totally unique.


To paint various products, ColorWare fully disassembles them and carefully custom paints each individual component. On its Twitter account, ColorWare says developing a process for the AirPods was "FAR from easy."


The total price for a fully customized set of AirPods plus case is $319, which is about double the price of a plain white set of AirPods purchased from Apple. In addition to shelling out quite a bit of money for a custom set, those who order AirPods from ColorWare will also need to wait for approximately six weeks for their order to arrive. ColorWare often lets customers send in their own devices to be painted, but this isn't currently an option with the AirPods.


Because $319 is a lot of money to shell out for an accessory, ColorWare does offer paint samples so users can test colors out before placing an order. Each set of three paint samples costs $15.

All ColorWare work is guaranteed for 12 months, and 24 months with the purchase of an additional warranty. Returns are available for the first 30 days but are subject to a 25 percent restocking fee.

ColorWare paints a range of devices, from iMacs and MacBooks to Apple accessories like the Magic Keyboard and the Magic Mouse 2. The company also paints other accessories, like game consoles and headphones (including Beats), plus it offers a range of skins for products like the MacBook and iPhone.


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Apple Quietly Updates AirPods Firmware to Version 3.5.1

Apple today quietly put out a firmware update for the AirPods, bumping the Bluetooth headphones from version 3.3.1 to 3.5.1, as spotted by a user on Reddit. The update to AirPods is automatic for any AirPods in their Charging Case and connected to a nearby iOS device. After making sure the AirPods are connected, users can check their current firmware version by going to the Settings app on iPhone > General > About > AirPods.

airpods_firmware_3_5_1
It's not clear what the 3.5.1 update covers due to its silent release and a lack of specific patch notes, but the AirPods have faced a number of complaints over the past few weeks that the new firmware version could potentially be addressing. Mainly, there have been a number of user complaints regarding battery drain issues with the AirPods and the Charging Case, as well as dropped Bluetooth connections when on phone calls on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus devices.

AirPods launched in December to largely positive reviews from users praising their ease of connectivity with iOS devices, thanks to the W1 chip, as well as their sound quality. Since the launch, the AirPods have been hard to come by both online and in Apple retail stores, with current shipping estimates on Apple.com sitting at the six week mark, arriving mid-March if users order today.

Tag: AirPods

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