Monday , January 18 2021

the momentum of X1 chip technology

That's impossible talking about AirPods without sharing personal experience with them. The presentation of the original model in the introductory part of September 2016 presented us with a product that looked like something of a science fiction movie, so much so that when I wrote its analysis, I put exactly the same title.

When the keynote encountered, I had the opportunity to test in the demonstration area that Apple made available to the press in Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (Apple Park will officially open a year later). That room was great, but there were many media people with lots of ambient noise. I told the person from Apple that he is doing a demonstration I would like to try, but that I understand that I do not value them well with that noise. He just replied: "Try them … Seriously."

They had no noise cancelation, but honestly, I was impressed the power of sound and how well he distinguished himself during the crowd's crowd. I also remember that it seemed very strange to me headset as a traditional iPod without cable, and the speed at which music began to play when communicating with the iPhone interface.

The true magic of AirPods was connectivity and sound quality: in AirPods 2 the feeling was improved

A few months later, I already had unit for analysis at home, and I remember that I tried them for the first time with Catch & Release, by Matt Simons. When I put them, I do not know if I'm taken magic the song, the sense of freedom to put these fully wireless headphones or sound quality for the first time … simply I closed my eyes and I really enjoyed the music. The product disappeared, and then I realized that this product would be an absolute success for the company.

Design turned into an icon

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Today we think of AirPods as a clear success story and one of the best new Apple products of recent years – I certainly think so. But when they reach the public, no one doubts that they are "very rare"Surely it happened to you, but it was worn when nobody knew them and attracted a lot of looks and a strange question: the form was recognized but it looked like a joke.

AirPod's design finally became an icon, because in her day it was an iPod or iPhone

When sales began to catapult and became popular, the sense of getting something "strange" in the ear is normalized. Today, almost three years after the launch of the first model, it is common to see it on the street, in the subway, and even in a presentation journalist who uses them for their live connections. In fact, they became an icon when talking about wireless headphones, as in his day, he did iPod or iPhone – and that's a lot of talk about a product that was not easy in its first generation.

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In fact, I'm always interested in how one product so much penetrated into devices outside the Apple ecosystem. If we use the brand's products, we had synchronization with the W1 chip from the original AirPods, the use of iCloud to connect them to one of our devices right away … However, people even with Android they buy and admire the ease of use and comfort, connecting them via Bluetooth. I recommend the same way even if you do not have an iPhone: they are authentic Trojan horse for the brand – again like the iPod at the time – that you can focus on other brand products that you have never paid attention to.

AirPods 2, the changes are not visible, but they are noticeable

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On a quick look, it's very difficult to distinguish AirPods 2 (we will call them for comfort) on some AirPods 1, at the outer design level. Perhaps one of the most important parts of the wireless headset is autonomy. The originals had understandable values ​​in the volume of each handset and in this new model they have improved:

AirPods 1

AirPods 2

Case autonomy

24 hours audio playback and up to 11 hours of talk time

24 hours audio playback and up to 18 hours of talk time

Autonomy with headphones

Up to 5 hours audio playback and up to 2 hours of talk time

Up to 5 hours of audio playback and up to 3 hours of talk time

Fast-start autonomy

15 minutes in case give 3 hours audio playback or more than 1 hour talk

15 minutes in the case gives 3 hours of audio playback or more than 2 hours of talk time

From this enhancement of autonomy, we draw the following conclusions that we are already advancing when we talk about the great novelty of these AirPods 2: H1 chip which governs everything. Well, instead of "chips", because we have one in every cell phone. This management is achieved in this generation:

  • 7 hours more a talk with the battery and a 100% charge case. More than 50%
  • 1 hour more talking on headphones. The additional 50%
  • 1 hour more on a talk with a quick charge of 15 minutes. Additional 100%

That's a significant improvement that we will improve our use in everyday life, especially while we change phone calls by listening to music without having to insert the headphones. This is the first significant change, but, of course, there are many more than they seem.

The design of AirPods 2 is practically identical of the previous generation, except for the hinges of the mailbox (it is now more matte and less metallic) and LED indicator that in case of charging base the wireless is now outside. And even this, with the original design, is a big internal change that will make it easier to load the device.

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AirPods 2, left. AirPods 1, right

On Wireless charging of AirPods 2 It is compatible with any charger that uses the Qi standard on the market, as it happens with the iPhone, starting with the iPhone X. It is not necessary to use the missing Apple AirPower – I have seen some comments thinking it's only compatible with it – the same base with the one we load the phone will help us to load the case (in about three hours, since the load is at 5V). This is sincere especially convenient if we already use these bases at home or in the office.

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We can buy these AirPods 2 with this wireless charging system for 229 €, or with one with a single cable fee of 50 € less, 179 €. The differences between the two models are only the charging system, functionality and other features are identical, since the main hardware resides in each handset. There is also an option to buy a wireless charging case for only € 89, and is also compatible with the original AirPods. In my opinion, wherever possible, it would be necessary to count on the wireless charging model, because in the future we will see many more charging options of this type (even in furniture or cars that have already been included) using the same Qi standard who have AirPods.

Chip H1 is the beginning of something important

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It's inconceivable if we are talking only about an outer design, but the interior of these new AirPods 2 has changed almost completely. Not only can you adjust the wireless charge in your case, but also keep in every phone something that will be the beginning of something very important for the family of Apple's wireless headphones: H1 chip. This chip is the main responsible for already having "Hey, Siri "in this new generation, retaining the same design … as Apple told us in the opening part of last September 2018 in this video (when this new model was not yet official):

The true star in AirPods 2 is the H1 chip, designed by Apple exclusively to manage the performance of wireless headphones

H1 is the first chip designed exclusively by Apple for managing wireless headphones (H comes from "headphones", headphones in English) and this is especially important because it is responsible for controlling everyone subsystems of the hardware that contains the energy consumption. Accelerometer, proximity sensors, volume … on H1 orchestrates the flow of energy between them maintaining the storage of the battery, therefore in the same space of the previous generation we now have more capacity. The combination of Apple's hardware + software is no doubt this.

He is also responsible sample on the reserved way the microphones on the headphones listening to Hey, Siri, without that impact as you see in the battery. Nor do we need no configuration for this: AirPods 2 will use the initialized data to configure Siri on iPhone to stay alert to our orders.

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As a technology, Apple put so much interest in this, how to create this chip specifically for this suggests that the brand will strongly advocate the development of these benefits in the future. There is also a moderate sound enhancement, undoubtedly enhanced with H1, especially in powerful bass and sharper highs. We still do not have the complete sound cancelation – perhaps because of the "outer" headphone design – but in voice calls I noticed that H1 also improves noise separation external voice of the call.

Daily with AirPods 2

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Low latency and improved connection with our devices is one of the most prominent improvements in AirPods 2

With this new generation, the AirPods 2 has improved even further in a circular product with a very good price – there is more to see the price difference with part of its competition, which is an important leap for internal redesign. Another much improved point is low latency – the response time between the iPhone and headphones is negligible – and link speed with devices. Practically one second, and we're connected, from our main device, or in any of the ones we have in our cloud to iCloud.

The constant question is also whether AirPods can be used for sports. I use the sport originals from the first month, even if I'm going to run or to train with them in the gym. It depends on the shape of the ear canal to prevent their fall or not. In my case, I've never fallen.

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If you need additional support, you can find many cheap adapters that will more strongly hold AirPods in our ear. On sound quality when playing sports is for me something I can not do without my exercises: my advice, when I go home, pass cotton impregnated with little alcohol to clean them, not with water. In this way, I kept them meaningless for nearly three years.

In my opinion these AirPods should be almost safe for purchase although we do not have Apple's product to link it. If we are ecosystem users, they are necessary: we will have the advantage of using Apple Watch as a visual interface for them, or Siri to increase or decrease the volume (that Apple should think with some kind of touch of software at some point).

Everything that will get those transits into the subway, air traffic or those moments where we do not want to hear anything else, They disappear and only have good music, or the voice we want to hear from the other side. Finally, this it's no longer science fiction, although we still see it.

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