I bought the first-gen AirPods in 2017. I was in Cupertino for WWDC and the Corporate Apple Store had them in stock, so I made what would be my favorite Apple accessory purchase of all-time: my first-gen AirPods.
My AirPods became my faithful companion - accompanying me to grocery stores, doing yard work, the gym, and of course, traveling. I bought a silicon case to clip onto my backpack and I'd take them with me to work to listen to music all day when not on calls.
The audio quality was awesome. The freedom to move around and not be tethered to my phone via an audio cable or lightning headphones jack was incredible. Unfortunately, though, somewhere in 2020 the battery life began to degrade. I was still able to get enough life out of the AirPods that I could spend the 45 minutes mowing my lawn or shopping at the grocery store, but I knew the time to replace would be near. The problem was, I didn't want to buy the AirPods Pro towards what I felt would be the end of the product lifecycle.
AirPods Pro 2
Thankfully, I didn't have to wait too much longer before the AirPods Pro were updated. And, thanks to having a pile of Apple Cash from using my Apple/Goldman Sachs Mastercard to pay for Apple products & services, I was able to buy the new AirPods Pro 2 with the Apple Cash reserves, effectively gratis.
I sized up my ears, fitted the silicon tips, and fired up Apple Music on my iPhone. In short, I was absolutely blown away by the sound quality and the spatial audio. I've found myself pulling out an ear bud just to make sure I'm not accidentially blasting audio from my iPhone or iPad – it's that good.
The Verge has a great review of the AirPods Pro 2 that's really worth your time to read. I'll share a highlight:
It’s never been more obvious that Apple’s audio tuning philosophy is to land on the most pleasing sound profile it can find that provides consistency across genres and audio formats (music, podcasts, movies, etc.). When you’re aiming for such a universal solution, everything ends up sounding pretty good — but nothing I’d consider great or exemplary. The new AirPods Pro reach further into high and low frequencies than their predecessors, but it’s not a dramatic shift. The prior earbuds weren’t skull rattlers with their bass response, and neither are these. But overall clarity is better, and Apple is getting more out of the drivers. I’m still not a big believer in spatial audio, but going through the sometimes tedious personalization process in iOS 16 can make the effect more convincing since Apple is now scanning your ear and playing to its unique acoustic characteristics. I’m glad AirPods now have their own dedicated section in the settings menu: it makes exploring all these settings more intuitive. All the usual bonus features like audio sharing, automatic device switching, and hands-free Siri are also present on the new AirPods Pro.
And, a video:
These are the best headphones I've owned, period.