Apple AirPods Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

A pair of Bose QC35 II’s used to be my “go everywhere” noise cancelling headphones. Keywords: “used to be.” I wore them to coffee shops when I needed to get out of the house to write. I wore them on airplanes. I occasionally even wore them in the house when I wanted to watch a movie without disturbing the rest of my family.

But…

I’ve been really impressed with the Apple AirPods Pro. I don’t have any hard data comparing the noise cancelling effectiveness of the two, but the AirPods are so good to my ears — and so small and convenient — that I now leave the Bose headphones at home.

How could a pair of earbuds be as solid as high-end over-the-ear headphones at noise cancelling? Turns out the answer is pretty simple: The fitted earpieces of the AirPods effectively turn them into ear plugs, so that does a fair amount of the work. And Apple knows what they’re doing when it comes to signal processing, design, and microphone placement, so the quality of the sound, the comfort wearing them, and the general usability are all pretty high.

I haven’t flown on a plane yet since I got the AirPods Pro, but I’ve used both the AirPods Pro and Bose headphones around town, trying them out in the same environments — including while holding a screaming two month old baby. (Don’t worry, it was my own screaming two month old baby.) The AirPods Pro actually seemed to do better at the crying baby test than the Bose headphones. What more do you need to know?

Stem Wear

I like the new Apple AirPods Pro. My old AirPods (purchased the day they came out) were getting a little long in the Bluetooth, so the upgrade was an easy decision. The AirPods Pro might be for you, too, if you are…

…in the market for a pair of Bluetooth earbuds and were already planning to spend $200 for the original AirPods with wireless charging case.

…someone who wanted a pair of the original AirPods, but you tried them and they didn’t fit your ear well.

…a music fan who really likes to feel their music’s bass in their eardrums.

…someone who always wanted a pair of AirPods, but were turned off by the look of the long white stems.

Original on the left. Pro on the right.

And they are NOT for you if you recently bought a pair of AirPods but they’re outside of the return window. If that’s you, and you don’t desperately need noise cancelling, then don’t fret not having the Pro model. Be happy with your AirPods knowing you saved some bucks. You’ll have another chance to upgrade when you lose them in two months.

Turn any headphones into bluetooth wireless headphones for $20

There are few things as unpleasant in life as getting a headphone cable snagged on a doorknob. Or the corner of a table. Or the watch of a total stranger passing me on the sidewalk.  Because the cable runs the length of my body, from the earbuds on my head to the phone in my pants pocket, it’s way too easy for it to get caught on just about anything, and it’s a truly jarring experience every time it happens.

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The Apple Watch Sport band conundrum: Why doesn’t Apple want you to pair a white watch with a black band?

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JANUARY 2019 UPDATE: Wow, I first wrote this post in 2015 after having quite a bit of difficulty buying a specific combination of watch/band back when Apple seemingly offered every possible combo available at time of purchase. Every combo except the one I wanted, that is. Three and a half years later, it’s still one of the most popular posts on this site. (Even more popular than my latest Tesla post!) Here’s the thing, though: Apple has now completely changed up how they offer the Apple Watch — fewer options at time of purchase. I suppose this is to help Apple simplify inventory tracking issues. My buying advice: If you really want a specific watch/band combo that isn’t offered as a default option, go to an Apple Store and ask a specialist if they can do a swap at time of purchase for the particular band you want. The way the newest Apple Watches are packaged, the band is in a separate box from the watch itself, so if you get a nice specialist on a good day, she may be able to accommodate your request, so you don’t feel like you have to buy an extra band. (Make sure to pick a band that’s the same price as the one that ships with the watch. Good luck!)

Anyways, now back to 2015 me….

Okay, this post is for the Apple junkies out there.  If all you know about the Apple Watch is that it exists, this post probably isn’t for you.

So much has been said about the Apple Watch, I didn’t think I’d have anything new to offer by the time I got mine.  Well, I was wrong.  Apple offers a wide variety of watch sizes, colors, and band choices. But there’s one combination they really don’t want you buy, and I think I figured out know why.

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While You’re Deleting that Uber App…

Uber’s been under fire lately for their shady practices, and rightly so.  (Well, they’ve actually been under fire for a while, but this week was the tipping point for many people.)  There’s a new movement afoot by Uber users — like John Hodgman — to delete the app from their phones.  I say, while you’re doing that, here’s some other apps to get rid of:

Every two weeks? Really? That's a "better" experience?!

Every two weeks? Really? That’s a “better” experience?!

Facebook.  Forget the fact that they’re selling out user privacy like it’s their business (actually, that IS their business), they just offer a crappy app.  It uses way more data and battery power than it should, making you wonder what else is going on under the hood.  They also intend to update the app, in full, every two weeks.  Sorry, but mobile operating systems don’t change that quickly, necessitating such constant adjustments.  Something’s fishy here.  Get rid of it.  If you must use Facebook, check it from the web.

LinkedIn.  Is the app as buggy and battery draining as Facebook?  No.  In fact, it seems pretty well designed.  I just say delete because it’s LinkedIn and I’m still mad about that time they spammed everyone in my address book.  Stupid, Linkedin.

Crazy Eye.  Yes, this was one of the very first apps you bought in 2008, to impress your nephew so that he’d think you’re the cool uncle.  But it hasn’t been updated since, looks terrible on new phones, and your nephew is now in college. Also, it didn’t work.  Steve is still the cool uncle. Sorry!

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Crazy Eye needs to be deleted ASAP. (Crazy Mouth, though, is still good to keep using. Especially on JDates. Jewish girls love it!)

Kill A Random Person.  Not sure how this even got approved by Apple.  You push a button and a random person someone across the globe dies.  I’d delete it.

The Phone Dialpad.  I’ve had an iPhone since they came out in 2007 and I still have no idea what this app should be used for.

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If anyone knows what this is for, let me know.

The curious case of a curious case: A review of the X-Doria Engage Folio for the iPhone 6

“You have a Costanza.”

That’s what a producer on Grey’s Anatomy said to me several years ago, when the show was in its infancy and I was an assistant in the writers room. I had no idea what he was talking about.

“I have a what?” He pointed to the wallet I was holding, a leather trifold filled beyond capacity. I still didn’t know what he was talking about.

“Seinfeld,” he said, “you know the episode with Costanza’s wallet?” And then it hit me. That was the episode where Costanza’s wallet, overstuffed with receipts, coupons, scraps of paper, and, well, just about everything besides actual money, started affecting his health. Carrying it around — and specifically sitting on it — was giving Costanza tremendous back pain. I looked down at my own overstuffed wallet. Yep. I had a Costanza.

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The Costanza wallet in all its glory.

I became immediately self-conscious about the size of my wallet. I traded my triple fold for a double fold. But that wasn’t enough. Some time later, I traded the double fold wallet for a super-slim one that basically held an ID and a few credit cards, and that’s it. That worked well for a while.

Until I lost the wallet.

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting Apple To Announce A New Product

IMG_1009Congratulations! You’re due for a new Apple product! Any day now, Tim Cook is expected to birth something revolutionary and magical. Or not. You never know with Apple. What pops out of the largest uterus in Cupertino — and when exactly it will pop — might be a mystery, but here are some things to definitely expect when you’re expecting Apple to announce a new product:

1. Anxiety. The responsibility of owning a new Apple product can seem overwhelming. How do I keep it clean? What if I drop it? How do make sure it gets fed enough data? OH MY GOD, I’M NOT READY FOR ALL THIS RESPONSIBILITY!?!?! Fret not, my friend, you are not alone. Every expectant consumer has those same questions and fears. Just take solace in knowing that people a heck of a lot dumber than you are handling the immense responsibility just fine. Oh, and use AppleCare. Despite GOP efforts to repeal AppleCare, it’s still around, and the piece of mind it offers is well-worth the cost.

2. Weird cravings. The closer you get to the due date, the weirder your desires will become. I want an iPhone 6 with a 7inch double-sided touch-screen! No, I want a 12inch MacBook Air with a retina display and a floppy drive! No, I want an iWatch big enough to mount on the wall and watch 4K 3D TV on!! Relax. The weird cravings will pass. In the end, you’ll be happy if it’s just a healthy device that isn’t delivered to the market prematurely.

3. Sudden weight gain. Knowing that Apple’s next iWhatever will almost certainly be slimmer and lighter than any personal device you currently own will suddenly make you feel much heavier in public. This is normal. My advice is to try something that’ll counter the effect, like starting a juice cleanse or adopting a trendy food allergy. (Warning: juice cleanses and trendy food allergies do not actually help people lose weight, but talking about them incessantly will help you lose friends… which is kinda like losing weight.)

4. Morning sickness. This is the sick feeling you will get the morning of the supposed product announcement, when it suddenly dawns on you that you have absolutely no idea what Tim Cook is about unveil. Sure, it could be a cool new phone. But it could also be a blender. In one fateful breath, you will realize that no one on the internet knows anything. You’ll suddenly notice that every “exclusive report” on every website purporting to know what Apple will release is based on the same “anonymous sources” with specious connections to “overseas suppliers.” Same for all the self-proclaimed Wall Street Analysts who cherry-pick from said reports to make whatever “bold prediction” will get them airtime on CNBC. And, of course, when the spurious predictions turn out to be bunk, they shirk responsibility and act like it’s Apple’s fault. (I’m looking at you, Gene Munster, senior analyst at Piper Jaffray, and the Apple-branded HDTV set you’ve been predicting as “imminent” every year since 2009.) Sorry, got off on a tangent there. Where was I? Oh yeah, morning sickness the day of the product announcement. Try to get plenty of rest the night before, avoid greasy foods when you wake up, and take it easy on the coffee. Also: Don’t believe anything you read about Apple in the days leading up to unveiling.

5. Messiness. Once the mucus plug of consumer innovation finally spills its contents, the internet will become a messy, messy place indeed. Best to stay off social media for at least 24 hours, until the backlash and the backlash to the backlash have subsided. All that really matters is the, um… lash? That doesn’t sound right. But let’s go with it for now.

6. Post-partum depression. This will kick in the moment you hold the new little miracle in your hands for the first time, after your credit card has been charged and you’ve parted with a considerable amount of money. Don’t worry, though. The first time someone in public compliments you on your new acquisition, you will feel much better. The sudden sense of technological superiority will jump-start the pleasure center of your brain. (FYI: For this reason, you never want to be the last person in your neighborhood and/or workplace to get a new Apple anything.)

7. A growing distance between you and your Apple-less friends. It’s a sad fact of life: Once you become an Apple household, you simply won’t be spending as much time with your non-Apple-having friends. You will get new friends, though, and they will be much more awesome than your old friends. They are called Apple Geniuses and they are available by appointment only.

8. Transcendence. This is what happens as soon as you realize your life has been irrevocably changed by the little bundle of joy. You will wonder how you lived for so long without it. You will admit you can never go back to life before it. You will get sucked into your new device. Literally. You will be like Johnny Depp in that movie where he died and was brought back to life as a computer program. That movie had a happy ending, right? I don’t know. Didn’t see it. Did you? No? Did anyone see it? Hmm. Well, let’s just pretend it had a happy ending and move on to…

9. Ennui. This is the inevitable sense of boredom that will overcome you. Life’s old pleasures will cease to have impact. New pleasures will emerge, but they will pass quickly. The rush you felt the first time you unlocked your phone with nothing more than your fingerprint will be long gone. All that will remain: A hole in the center of your being, filled with the dispiriting notion that your new Apple product will one day be obsolete. As will you.

10. Wonderment. You will wonder what happened to the whole iDevice-as-a-baby metaphor. You are probably already at this phase right now.

11. Temptation. The longer you possess your no-longer-new Apple product, the more tempting the Samsung commercials will get. You’ll see some new Amazon product getting a ton of press and you’ll picture yourself holding it in your hands. You’ll take a second look at that ad for… Windows? “Wow,” you’ll say, “Windows is actually looking pretty good these days.” But the temptation will give way to…

12. Mutual respect, deep-seated appreciation, and a Hollywood ending. Sure, the novelty of your new Apple product will wear off. Siri’s limitations will become readily apparent. The device’s heft and quirkiness will become more pronounced as it ages. Curiosity will lead you back to Windows or maybe over to Android or one its many variants, but the experience will be painful, oh-so-very-very-painful: Why does this Windows 8 computer have two separate interfaces that DON’T WORK TOGETHER AT ALL? Why can’t this brand new Android phone be updated to the latest Android OS? Why does this Amazon device seem to be designed solely to get me to spend even more money on other stuff? And you’ll find the only thing that will relieve the pain is your once-new-but-now-old Apple product. The one you came this close to selling. You will apologize to it. You will hold it close, caressing it with tenderness. You will promise never to abandon it again.

Well, at least not until the iPhone 7S comes out in 2017. According to the internet, it’s going to be so freakin’ awesome!!!

For the movie rights to this post, please contact @ericbuchman. All I ask for is casting approval, final say on the script, and payment in German bearer bonds.