You can use another iOS 10 device, a Mac, or, heaven forbid, non-Apple devices too.
When Apple introduced its AirPods on Wednesday, the company went on and on about the new Apple-made chip on the inside, but said little about the technology that delivers the sound to the wireless earbuds from the iPhone.
It turns out Apple isn’t using some Bluetooth-like wireless technology, as rumors suggested, but rather Bluetooth itself.
The company has added some special software sauce to enable the earbuds to automatically pair with a phone and stay connected. It then takes things a step further and also registers the earbuds over iCloud with iPads, Apple Watches and Macs. (All need to be running the latest operating system.)
Apple has also crammed two microphones inside, as well as accelerometers to detect when the earphones are in. If both are in and you pull one out, the music or movie you are listening to pauses. Pop it back in and the audio resumes.
The new Apple W1 chip plays an important role, reducing the amount of power used by the device.
All that technology doesn’t come cheap though. A pair of the pricey pods will cost $159 when they go on sale in late October.
But at their heart, these are Bluetooth devices, so it will be interesting to see if Apple has managed to make them sound better than typical wireless headphones.
Because they are Bluetooth, you can also connect the AirPods to non-Apple devices, though then they will work like typical Bluetooth devices, requiring manual pairing, etc.