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From the Department of ‘Other Than That, How Did You Enjoy the Play, Mrs. Lincoln?’

Wirecutter headphone editor Laura Dragan, in The New York Times’s “Ask the Wirecutter” column:

Why aren’t the new Apple cordless earbuds on the list?

Ah, the AirPods. The current working term for those kinds of headphones is “true wireless.” Aside from not having a cord to tangle and being decent at taking phone calls, the AirPods didn’t improve much over the corded EarPods. The sound quality is the same (which is to say, meh, with no bass). Plus the battery life is less than a full day at work, so you had better remember to charge them at lunch time. And this for $130 more than a replacement pair of EarPods? I don’t think they’re fully cooked yet.

“Aside from not having a cord to tangle” is a bizarre thing to say about AirPods. Not having a cord to tangle is the entire reason they exist. The fact that Apple now thinks wireless headphones are ready for mass market use is the primary reason the iPhone 7 doesn’t have a headphone jack.

The sound quality is not the same as with Apple’s wired earbuds — almost everyone seems to agree it’s better. And the battery life can easily get you through a full work day with a few trips to the charging case. I totally get why many people — audiophiles in particular — would still prefer wired headphones, but AirPods are fully “cooked”.

Even weirder, in Dragan’s own report on The Wirecutter, she ranked AirPods as the “best for iOS and phone calls”. I don’t see how that previous advice possibly squares with the headline on this column, “How to Decide Which Headphones to Buy (Hint: Not Apple’s AirPods)”.

My best guess here is that the problem isn’t with Dragan, but rather with the Times selectively editing her comments and choosing an explosive but entirely misleading headline for the purpose of clickbait. Shameful.

(Via Neil Cybart on Twitter.)

Thursday, 23 February 2017