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Welp, Apple’s done it again. Trying to change everything by ditching a port. That little hole you’re used to plugging your headphones into? Gone! No more 3.5 mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7 OR 7 Plus. But you’ve probably heard about that by now. That’s probably why you’re here. In case you haven’t, what Apple is steering us toward is the lightning port. That’s what their in-box headphones will be using. And for those of us with nice headphones that we like (Phil Schiller was like, for people still using THE OLD technology, and I was all, hold the fuck on, not everyone can be on the bleeding edge immediately, slow your roll), there’s gonna be an adaptor in the box too. What they really want, though, is to move headphones into a new wireless age. And they said it like no one else has ever thought of wireless headphones! Their proposal, AirPods:
Get ready for everyone to lose one or both of these almost instantly. But also they look pretty cool. BUT ALSO why are they pretending they’re the first to come up with wireless headphones? Here are some other wireless headphones that probably have better sound than AirPods, which are still Apple headphones even if they are really really (ugh, fine) REALLY cool.
Bowers and Wilkins P5 Wireless
My fiancée has a wired pair of these and I steal them literally whenever I can. The sound on them is excellent and I can’t hear the children playing in my hall while I’m listening to sweet, sweet podcasts while doing my dishes. I also can’t hear Madmen, which is what my fiancée is probably watching. These don’t come cheap, though—$300 brand new or $240 refurb, and they’re on-ear, meaning they sit on top of your ear. Some people don’t care for that because they feel like their ears are getting smooshed. But honestly, really comfy. When I worked for a large technology company whose name I can’t mention, I recommended B&W to everyone who ever laid their hands on Beats (no, no, what are you doing, look at your life, look at your choices). If you’re a bit more budgeted, comme moi, though, my fave budget option is—
I have a pair of EVEN CHEAPER wired LSTN headphones and I’m so impressed by them. They’re super comfortable, the sound quality is great and I get a lot of compliments on how great the wood looks. So it’s no surprise that I’m salivating over the over-ear, zebra wood Troubadours, which cost $179. According to one reviewer who’s tried them, they’re very light, so if you’re like me and spend an overwhelming majority of your day in headphones, these might be for you. If you’re not into things on or over your ears, but would rather things IN your ears (à la AirPods), maybe try—
JBL Everest Elite 100
The cool bit about these is that they’re noise cancelling and tiny! The other cool bit about these is the app you can use to program exactly how much noise you want cancelled. Perfect for those who want to run with headphones, or just want to wear them while standing on a subway platform during any summer month when the temperature below ground feels like Hades (headphone sweat is real). These go for $200. Looking for a super budget option? Here’s—
Jabra Move Wireless
These on-ear headphones are $68.50! That is their main selling point, but in my experience, Jabra does pretty well with sound quality too. Perfect for those on a tighter budget who still want to get with the times because their preferred port is so OLD ugh. A word about price—I can find cheaper wireless headphones. I know they’re out there. But there comes a point where I can’t recommend them anymore because they’ll sound like a tin can attached to a string, and I like you better than that. And lastly, a pair of speciality headphones, we’ve got—
Night time audiobook listeners, the future can be yours as well! These headphones are made for sleeping—they’re contained in a soft fleece headband. Wireless really is the way to go here, because once the wires on my headphones pulled tight around my face while I was sleeping and I had a dream that I had stitches in my face that were ripping out and that shit sticks with you. This is the one time where I’m like, yeah, fuck that headphone jack. If you, too, are swayed by my anecdote about dream-facial-stitches, these are $100.
You might be able to tell from my near constant sarcasm that I don’t think everyone should up and spring for wireless headphones if you don’t feel strongly about it. In fact, when I upgrade my phone, I’ll be using the adaptor and holding onto my preferred pair of headphones. But I am a person who uses my technology until the wheels fall off. I have these headphones because my last pair literally fell apart on my head. I’m upgrading my iPhone because my battery is, like, DEFINITELY consumed. And honestly? Probably the future is wireless, and progress is good and this is probably progress. These headphones are good options! But I am glad they didn’t leave people who love their current pair of headphones behind.
So what about you—are you upgrading? Switching? Staying the hell away from Apple? What are your Apple announcement feelings? Let’s do talk about it in the comments!