It is common knowledge that there has been a certain craze going around over the last decade for a variety of digital products, let it be smartphones, smartwatches or wireless headphones, a.k.a. airpods. In today's digital world, it is extremely rare to find someone who does not own a smartphone or a pair of wireless earbuds. And needless to say, Apple AirPods are the range of wireless earbuds which are most in demand in today's market. Apple Airpods 1 along with Airpods 2 once dominated this market in terms of popularity.
Apple AirPods 1 and 2 are the first and second generation of Apple AirPods. Though they may sound similar concerning their names, both Airpods 1 and AirPods 2 have several distinct features which make them unique and different. Let us take a look into the differences between Airpods 1 and Airpods 2 to understand which one is better.
Airpods 1 vs Airpods 2
To begin, let us try to look into the correct definition of an airpod. Apple AirPods are defined as wireless bluetooth earbuds specifically designed by Apple Inc. to work with your iPad and iPhone. AirPods 1, the first generation of Apple AirPods, was introduced by Apple for the first time on September 7, 2016, and became widely popular in the years to come. Its popularity and demand even exceeded many of Apple's other digital products. This prompted the tech giant to come up with a second generation of Apple Airpods, or Airpods 2, as they are widely known, on March 20, 2019. It was followed by Airpods 3 which was launched on October 26, 2021.
The main difference between Airpods 1 and AirPods 2 is that the latter is an improved, more advanced version of the former. While the first generation Airpods had a custom-designed W1 chip processor, Airpods 2 came with an improved H1 chip which performs better in areas like connectivity, Siri support, etc. The W1 chip delivered seamless pairing with devices and boasted a good battery life. The much improved H1 chip, on the other hand, provides faster connectivity and lower latency among many other features. We will look at these features in detail going ahead. Let us try to list the differences between Airpods 1 and 2 in a tabular form for better understanding.
Difference Between Airpods 1 and AirPods 2 in Tabular Form
|Parameters of comparison||AirPods 1||AirPods 2|
|Battery life (talking)||2 hours||3 hours|
|Battery life (music)||5 hours||5 hours|
|Siri connection||Double tap to activate||Voice-activated or double tap|
|Wireless charging||Requires purchase of additional wireless charging case||Comes with a wireless charging case|
|iOS requirements||iOS 10 or later||iOS 12.2 or later.|
|Apple TV support||Yes||Yes|
|macOS requirements||macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 or later||macOS Mojave 10.14.4 or later|
What is Airpods 1?
AirPods 1 are the first generation Apple AirPods, which were released by the company on December 13, 2016. The prominent features of Airpods 1 included a built-in microphone which was capable of filtering out background noise, commencing phone calls and even interactions with Siri. The design of the AirPods was similar to that of the standard Apple wired Earpods, except that it was wireless and had a thicker arm to fit both the battery and microphone inside it.
The Airpods 1 had Apple W1 SoC processor which claimed to optimize battery usage and enable effortless Bluetooth connection between the AirPods and other devices. One of the main advantages of the AirPods 1 was its ability to connect easily with its home device, even by just opening its charging case. The Airpods weighed 0.14 ounces each and the charging case weighed 1.34 ounces. The model number of the Airpods 1 was A1523 or A1722.
Features of AirPods 1
The AirPods 1 was configured with support for Siri and it could be activated by simply tapping once on the outside of either of the AirPods. This feature enabled the user to use Siri faster. Siri helped the user with tasks like accepting calls, setting alarms, calling specific contacts on the phone, etc.
Another of its prominent features was its battery life. Apple claims that the AirPods 1 can provide you with 5 hours of battery life and this has been tested and found to be true. Though this is a main advantage, the absence of wireless charging for the Airpods case is a major setback. The charging case could only be charged through its Lightning port. It is to be noted that the AirPods 1 earbuds are compatible with the AirPods 2 wireless charging case since both models of earbuds are similar in size.
The Airpods also have inner accelerometers and sensors which can readily understand when the user has inserted or removed the Airpods. The ability helps them to pause or restart any sound form playing at the time of insertion or removal. The accelerators and sensors include dual optical sensors, motion and speech-detecting accelerometers, etc.
The Airpods 1 also provided its users with rich, high-quality audio and voice. They also had the feature of active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic. The Airpods 1 appear to be compatible with all devices featuring support for Bluetooth 4.0 and above with all devices supporting including Android Phones.
Airpods 1 was discontinued by Apple when it launched the second generation of AirPods in 2019.
Now that we have been able to understand the features and qualities of AirPods 1, let us focus our attention on the features of Airpods 2.
What is Airpods 2?
AirPods 2 is the second generation of AirPods which was launched on March 20, 2019. Airpods 2 is powered by the Apple H1 headphone chip processor. The H1 chip ensures a faster and more stable connection to your devices. The official website of Apple claims that Airpods 2 is ” up to 2x faster when switching between active devices and a 1.5x faster connection time for phone calls”. They can be set up with a simple one-tap and afterwards, they'll be automatically connected. The model number of AirPods 2 is A2032 or A2031.
Features of AirPods 2
The AirPods 2 are similar in size and design to its predecessor, AirPods 1. Each of the AirPods weighs around 4 grams( around 0.14 ounces each) and the charging case weighs around 38.2 grams on its own. The design of the new version is pretty much the same as the old AirPods and they are also similar in size. They also come with a wireless charging case which you can leave on a charging pad for charging.
The new model is voice-activated for Siri and thus helps the user to call on Siri without double tapping the AirPods. Apple's AirPods can last longer on a single charge since the model has integrated the best into the iOS and macOS ecosystems.
The AirPods also have certain distinct features like being able to attend calls by putting them in your ear. The incoming call will be automatically connected when you put the AirPods in your ear, given that the ‘Automatic ear detection’ is turned on. It also allows you to share audio with another airpod for iOS 13 and above. For this, you need to open your friend's Airpods next to your iPhone or iPad and select ‘ Temporarily share audio’. This comes in handy when you are watching a movie together with your friend or partner. Like AirPods 1, AirPods 2 also has in-built accelerometers and sensors which can immediately sense when an airpod is inserted or removed from your earhole. This feature allows the airpod to play music as soon as you insert the airpod or to pause it when you take it off.
Airpods also have this cool feature of letting you know who is calling without looking at the phone. All you need to do is select the ‘Headphones only or Headphones and Car’ option on your announce call settings and Siri will read out the name of the person who is calling you. The same feature allows Siri to announce your messages for you.
Another main feature of AirPods 2 is that you have complete freedom to choose whether you want to use just one airpod or both. This feature is extremely helpful when you want to listen to music or attend a call, while also being extremely attentive to your surroundings. Using just one airpod also helps to extend the battery life and allows you to use the second airpod when the first one runs out of power.
Main Differences Between Airpods 1 and Airpods 2 in Points
Let us now try to summarise what makes Airpods 1 different from Airpods 2 and list the key differences between them.
- The Airpods 2 has a more advanced H1 chip processor while the Airpods 1 has a W1 chip processor.
- The H1 chipset in Airpods 2 ensures faster connectivity than the old W1 chipset in Airpods 1 and has 2x faster switching between devices.
- Airpods 2 has 50% more talk time than Airpods 1.
- Airpods 2 has 30% lower latency for gaming when compared to AirPods 1.
- Airpods 2 can connect to phone calls faster than the original Airpods 1.
- In Airpods1, Siri could only be activated by double-tapping the airpod. But in the newer version, there is voice activation for Siri. Therefore, Siri can be turned on either by calling on Siri or by double tapping the airpod.
- AirPods 2 has a wireless charging case while the AirPods 1 has a wired charging case which can only be charged through its Lightning port.
- The first generation AirPods were compatible with phones running iOS 10 or above, Apple watches using watchOS 3 and above, and Macs running at least mac OS Sierra(10.12). But in the case of Airpods 2, you require at least iOS 13 or iPad in order to access all these features.
- The model number of Airpods 1 is A1523 or A1722 while the model number of Airpods 2 is A2032 or A2031.
After discussing the features, advantages and disadvantages of both the first and second generation of Apple AirPods, it is time to come to a conclusion regarding the dilemma of which airpod is better between AirPods 1 and 2. After careful analysis, one can certainly say that AirPods 2 has more advanced and useful features which make them stand out. Features like voice-activated Siri, faster connectivity and lower latency give a significant advantage to AirPods in the race to being a great AirPod. AirPod 2 also has a more advanced H1 chip processor, unlike the W1 chip processor in Airpods 1. But one has to note the fact that although the second generation of AirPods has more advanced features, they can only be accessed in iOS 13 or iPadOS. AirPods 1 only required iOS 10 or above, watchOS 3 and mac OS Sierra to access its features.
This makes us think that like in other cases, the OG version of the AirPods is always the best as it is the base upon which all the other models have been developed. If the AirPods1 did not exist or did not become as popular among the people, then the later versions might not have been created. It is the demand for the first-generation AirPods which gave rise to AirPods 2 and the latter versions.
If one asks you to compare AirPods 1 and 2 to find out which one is better, you can certainly say that AirPods 2 has more advanced features than AirPods 1. But it is also important to mention that the latter version has its disadvantages too just like the former version. To conclude, one can say that both AirPods 1 and AirPods 2 have their advantages and disadvantages and that they become the best when they meet the specific needs of the user.