The Guilt and Joy of Buying Apple AirPods
People with something to hide always attempt to cover their tracks.
Murderers will take their victim's body and bury it in the woods.
Adulterers will buy their partners gifts to deflect suspicion, and Donald Trump's supporters claim to be reasonable when quizzed in public.
As for me, I've rummaged through the house to find and destroy all of my old earphones. All in desperation to conceal guilt.
My guilt arises from buying set after set of premium earphones only to store them in a drawer for posterity.
One pair of Sennheisers after another. Sports earphones for running. The list goes on—others I have long forgotten. The laugh is I only have two ears but keep spending as if I've nothing between them.
So why the cupboard clear-out? It was to hide past purchases from my consciousness and make space for shiny new AirPods.
The Lunchtime Shuffle
The lunchtime shuffle is not a new dance, but the way to describe my back and forth trips to the Apple shop. I hovered outside the door, wondering should I or shouldn't I?
Yes, let's get some AirPods. No, wait a minute. I should be saving for a holiday. Besides, I have wired EarPods and Bose noise-cancelling earphones that cost an arm and a leg.
In I went, looked at the AirPod shelf and out I came. Did the same the next day at lunchtime, then again on the way home (and yes, I'm a grown adult).
But no matter how much I tried, deep down inside I knew it was just a matter of time.
On the shelf, nine boxes, then five. By the time I called in, there were three.
I bought them.
Couldn't wait to get home to unbox. Heaven forbid one would do such a thing in public.
It's odd how a white cardboard box with smooth suction when lifting the lid helps to reinforce a premium feel.
Once opened, the box reveals a small white capsule, and once I remove the protective plastic strips, the shiny slipperiness becomes apparent.
AirPod reviews usually instil the fear of losing one of the pieces, but nobody mentions the risk of losing the entire set. Out and about I've found myself conducting periodic body frisks to rest assure myself the tiny capsule is still in a pocket.
The AirPods themselves are slippery too, which can make it a little tricky to remove them.
Slipperiness aside, these are fantastic pieces of tech.
AirPods sync virtually by the power of thought, feel light as a feather, hang in your ears and stay there.
A Guilt-Free Purchase
Having adopted wireless earphones for running (yep, that's another pair), I've come to appreciate the absence of the tangled wire. You'll never understand how liberating it is until you try.
I've no regrets. AirPods are small, neat and work.
They feel very light, not as premium as they should, but the sound quality is perfectly acceptable for everyday listening.
There's just one snag.
If you live your life in the company of other humans, you won't hear a thing without the volume cranked up into the red zone.
I couldn't hear classical music at all walking through the city streets. Buses, cars or people talking drown out the sound. Catching up with Jessica Jones on Netflix in a restaurant was impossible (yes, sad eating alone).
No doubt standard wired EarPods would be the same, but they don't cost £159.
Siri has always had a problem with my Northern Irish accent. "Now" is always interpreted as "Nine" unless I put on my best posh English voice. So I don't use Siri.
Alan - "Hey Siri, lower the volume please".
Siri - "Let me get that for you. I'm sorry, but I cannot find breasts right now".
For volume control, Apple Watch is essential. Otherwise, I'd be reaching for my iPhone every time.
The AirPods are a fantastic add-on to any iOS device in the right circumstances. They do have shortcomings which demote them from being essential. So think carefully and don't listen to the hype.
AirPods: For Home Use Only
You're best keeping AirPods at home, or where the ambient noise is virtually nil. AirPods are ideal for watching programmes on your iPad, meditating with your iPhone and quiet country walks.
Some users report how good AirPods work in the gym.
I have my doubts.
They may not fall out, but unless the gym is empty (void of people and equipment), I can't see how a user would avoid boosting their tinnitus with dangerous volume settings.
Noise-reducing Bose QuietComfort 20i's were my go-to set for commuting, bus journeys, and walking amongst the human race.
But of course, that was history. Now I'm the proud owner of AirPods Pro.
I've no regrets buying the AirPods Pro, nor will you. You can wear them anywhere. The noise cancelling is astounding for small buds. Billie Eilish sounds incredible through AirPods Pro; I'm almost a fan.
If you are trying to choose, save some extra cash and go Pro.
Apple's AirPods Pro overcome every disadvantage of the standard version:
- They are sound isolating.
- The smaller size makes them more discrete.
- You can listen to anything when in noisy environments.
- Battery life is excellent.
- Sound is richer.
As for my first set of AirPods?
I used them strictly for meditating or listening secretly to ASMR on YouTube, until the battery gave up. Now I use the Pros for home use too.