Amazon could challenge Apple's AirPods with its own wireless earbuds

midian182

Posts: 6,672   +59
Staff member

Bloomberg reports that the earbuds are being developed at Amazon’s Lab126 hardware division, which was responsible for the company’s Kindle, Echo, and Fire Phone devices. The team is also working on a home robot code-named Vesta.

As one might imagine, Amazon’s earbuds are expected to be similar to the AirPods, though the company hopes its product will have better audio quality—an area where Apple’s devices fail to excel. As is the case with its Echo smart speakers, users can active Amazon’s virtual assistant by saying “Alexa,” much like the “Hey Siri” functionality built into the latest version of the AirPods.

Thanks to the Alexa integration, users will be able to order goods, access music, weather, and other information on the go, just by using their voice. The earbuds won’t have built-in LTE, though, which means they’ll need to be linked to a smartphone if you want to use Alexa. That will entail Amazon working with Google and Apple, which could cause issues.

Other details about Amazon’s earbuds are sparse, but the report says they’ll come with a storage case that can also be used for recharging, will offer gesture controls for functions such as taking calls and moving between songs, and will sit inside the ear rather than using clips. No word on price but expect them to be cheaper than Apple’s $159 - $199 AirPods.

We could see Amazon’s earbuds unveiled at a hardware event in September. It remains to be seen whether they can challenge Apple’s dominance in this space or become another Fire Phone.

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Fearghast

Posts: 330   +236
Better audio than Airpods is not really a feature to brag about. Almost any TWS on market sounds better than Airpods, it's nothing rare or exciting.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,739   +5,148
No one with an iPhone is going to want to buy anything other than Earpods if they go for a headphone with this design. Not only because it ties into their iPhone's ecosystem but because they'd want the original.

You know what's funny: where are all the Apple haters and naysayers who were talking about how stupid this was and how Earpods would never work because people would lose them???

And now: everyone is trying to copy Apple.

Again.
 

gusticles41

Posts: 503   +602
You know what's funny: where are all the Apple haters and naysayers who were talking about how stupid this was and how Earpods would never work because people would lose them???

And now: everyone is trying to copy Apple.

Again.

The stupid part is how unreasonable a single replacement earbud is, or a replacement battery. $69 for one pod. $49 for EACH battery.

I would burn through 8 pairs of cheap bluetooth buds before ever considering these goofy looking things. And wireless earbuds existed before Apple so daringly came out with these.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,739   +5,148
The stupid part is how unreasonable a single replacement earbud is, or a replacement battery. $69 for one pod. $49 for EACH battery.

I would burn through 8 pairs of cheap bluetooth buds before ever considering these goofy looking things. And wireless earbuds existed before Apple so daringly came out with these.


If it was so bad, the market wouldn't be there for it.

The free market is ALWAYS right.
 

gusticles41

Posts: 503   +602
If it was so bad, the market wouldn't be there for it.

The free market is ALWAYS right.

There's a very distinct difference between consumers who understand how many options are actually out there, and the majority of Apple users who think they're locked in an ecosystem.

It's the exclusivity Apple markets that nets them an insane amount of business from people who don't know better. Then when it comes time to fix your tech, oh sorry - You can't do it yourself. You can't take it to a 3rd party or we'll deny any future repairs. And we don't allow any vendors to sell genuine replacement parts. Soooo come give us more money on top of this thing you already paid a ridiculous premium for.

More on topic - I'm most curious about the price point Amazon is going for with these.
 

GregonMaui

Posts: 236   +89
Better audio than Airpods is not really a feature to brag about. Almost any TWS on market sounds better than Airpods, it's nothing rare or exciting.

you seem to be an outlier amongst the professional reviews. "In the category of truly wireless earbuds, the AirPods are the best I’ve yet heard. " https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/19/17138258/apple-airpods-audiophile-review-wireless-headphones. for example.

No one expects them to be an audiophile quality set of wireless buds for $159, But they do seem to pull their own weight.
 

GregonMaui

Posts: 236   +89
"More on topic - I'm most curious about the price point Amazon is going for with these". Amazon has such a stellar track record with audio quality. If you believe that you haven't been listening.

"Apple markets that nets them an insane amount of business from people who don't know better." It sounds like you are denigrating people simply because they make choices you don't. Apple makes great products that work together in amazing ways stuffed into small packets. You are of course free to make other choices which you deem better for you.

Yes, many wireless earphones are disposables where you can't change the batteries, must be something to do with cramming them into a tiny package. I hear the Samsungs have replaceable batteries, but the reviews so far are that they are a horror show.
 

gusticles41

Posts: 503   +602
It sounds like you are denigrating people simply because they make choices you don't. Apple makes great products that work together in amazing ways stuffed into small packets. You are of course free to make other choices which you deem better for you.

I deploy, support, and repair a pool of 100 iphones, so I'm not speaking out of my backside when forming this opinion. I've dealt with many repairs under warranty, out of warranty, and at my desk with a tool kit. I will always agree - Everything Apple integrates seamlessly together. The price you pay is repairability.

It's no secret that Apple's come under fire for inconveniencing consumers and extorting them for more money because of their repair practices.

I'm not the guy telling everyone to buy an Android phone. Just strongly disagreeing with their post-purchase practices.
 

Fearghast

Posts: 330   +236
Better audio than Airpods is not really a feature to brag about. Almost any TWS on market sounds better than Airpods, it's nothing rare or exciting.

you seem to be an outlier amongst the professional reviews. "In the category of truly wireless earbuds, the AirPods are the best I’ve yet heard. " https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/19/17138258/apple-airpods-audiophile-review-wireless-headphones. for example.

No one expects them to be an audiophile quality set of wireless buds for $159, But they do seem to pull their own weight.
My point is a TWS you can get for 20$ (maybe even 16$ if I am not misstaken) sounds better and has a better signal stability.
TBH I have never read a Verge article when it come to sound.
I had Airpods myself for testing and a short review, let's say I wasn't impressed at all (the opposite even).
Headphones are something like mechanical watches, you need expertise to get them right.
 

GregonMaui

Posts: 236   +89
My point is a TWS you can get for 20$ (maybe even 16$ if I am not misstaken) sounds better and has a better signal stability.
TBH I have never read a Verge article when it come to sound.
I had Airpods myself for testing and a short review, let's say I wasn't impressed at all (the opposite even).
Headphones are something like mechanical watches, you need expertise to get them right.

You are so the outlier.

Were you trying them on an Android phone? That would be less than ideal because Android doesn't support AAC (I think, but I know the google home speakers support AAC). The W1 and T1 chip support a phenomenal range for bluetooth reception. You do know that Apple bought Beats, they kinda do have some expertise there.

Well, not saying you're wrong, but they are the most popular, so many other people are more satisfied with them then you were.
 

GregonMaui

Posts: 236   +89
[QUOTE="gusticles41, post: 1738822, member: 387547"
It's no secret that Apple's come under fire for inconveniencing consumers and extorting them for more money because of their repair practices.[/QUOTE]

Maybe you consider other products like the surface pro to be repairable? (too much glue, iFixit trashed them for repairability.). A sign of the times for lighter and thinner.

Your point is well made, but supposes some evil intent that is just not there. Apple uses a lot of custom designed parts and assembly is quite critical. I do not think replacing a battery in a phone for $69 is extortion when that includes removing the screen (You really trust this to a mall kiosk repair guy?). The point people forget to mention is that you can get your phones repaired by a non-certified third party, but you do have trouble with counterfeit and substandard parts (the iPhone screen for example is custom-built, not generic off-the-shelf) going in and assembly by unqualified persons without the right tools (if you did have the skills and the tools, why not be authorized?).

If you do use substandard repair, the device may not be covered (but weirdly sometimes is) by Apple's Warranty (but if you are going to an unauthorized repair place, it must be out of warranty to begin with, right?).

For clarification, the complaints are not generally about Apple's repair policies, they are about Apple's designs not being suitably repairable - period. Soldered RAM and SSDs with no access ports, non user-replaceable batteries, screens with embedded wiring that cannot be replaced, etc, etc, etc. No third party access is going to solve that.

Of course, then you add security into the equation. If you allow anyone to remove certain parts and replace them with, well - whatever, there goes the Secure Enclave, password protection, and your privacy in general. If you want access to the SSD, just remove it and put it in another device, oops!.

And don't misconstrue my points to make me pro-Apple. Their SSD, RAM, and CPU upgrade prices are way too high. I know they try to hit that sweet spot where something like 97% of customers don't upgrade a PC/Mac anyway, but still - having the option is comforting. With thunderbolt 3 being so fast you don't lose any performance by using an external SSD, so that is a bit moot. RAM? Come on, Man!
 

Fearghast

Posts: 330   +236
You are so the outlier.

Were you trying them on an Android phone? That would be less than ideal because Android doesn't support AAC (I think, but I know the google home speakers support AAC). The W1 and T1 chip support a phenomenal range for bluetooth reception. You do know that Apple bought Beats, they kinda do have some expertise there.

Well, not saying you're wrong, but they are the most popular, so many other people are more satisfied with them then you were.
You know ... a lot of Android devices supports all of the BT codecs. AAC is not made by Apple.
W1 chip is a BT 4.2 chip, when you will try new model with T1 you will be amazed how much better the signal stability and range is. Like incredibly better, at least +25% to range and chance to block signal with an obstacle -75%.
But that is not a magic W1 or a T1 chip, it's a regular Qualcomm BT chip copy - that is not a con! I just mean it's just literaly nothing special.

BTW I own many deviced, one of them was iPad Pro. Was is not really all that true, because I hated it and gave it to my parrent, so it's sorta avilable on weekends. I mostly just update it and observe what new iOS update broke again.
 

GregonMaui

Posts: 236   +89
You know ... a lot of Android devices supports all of the BT codecs. AAC is not made by Apple.
W1 chip is a BT 4.2 chip, when you will try new model with T1 you will be amazed how much better the signal stability and range is. Like incredibly better, at least +25% to range and chance to block signal with an obstacle -75%.
But that is not a magic W1 or a T1 chip, it's a regular Qualcomm BT chip copy - that is not a con! I just mean it's just literaly nothing special.

BTW I own many deviced, one of them was iPad Pro. Was is not really all that true, because I hated it and gave it to my parrent, so it's sorta avilable on weekends. I mostly just update it and observe what new iOS update broke again.

"W1 chip is a BT 4.2 chip, when you will try new model with T1 (I believe you meant H1) you will be amazed how much better the signal stability and range is". No no no. " The W1 chip enables painless pairing". yah, it really is a step above. Push on button, paired, done! "W1 headphones also tout significantly longer battery life and wireless range, built on Class 1 Bluetooth standards. The Beats Solo3 can play music for more than 40 hours without needing a charge, at distances up to 150 feet." https://9to5mac.com/guides/w1/. For example, I can use my powerbeats3 with Apple Music and walk throughout the house with no loss of connection or dropouts. if I connect to my LG SmartTV, I get clear reception, but in a much more limited area, where it often drops out around 30 ft.

"AAC is not made by Apple". True, perhaps I misspoke. If you are using Spotify on Android, for example, the music must be converted (if you are connecting using AAC and not SBC which you will notice a bad quality sound due to the SBC codec, the audio must be converted to AAC, which Android purportedly does poorly. https://www.soundguys.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-bluetooth-headphones-aac-20296/) so again, you are not comparing the headphones, but a lot of intermediary stuff. On the other hand, if you are using Apple Music streaming to the W1 or H1 chips, there is very little encode/decode, aka no introduced sound quality issues.

So what I should have said, you can't judge the sound quality of the headphones unless you are reviewing it in the proper environment. If the environment does work for you, go in another direction.
 

Fearghast

Posts: 330   +236
"W1 chip is a BT 4.2 chip, when you will try new model with T1 (I believe you meant H1) you will be amazed how much better the signal stability and range is". No no no. " The W1 chip enables painless pairing". yah, it really is a step above. Push on button, paired, done! "W1 headphones also tout significantly longer battery life and wireless range, built on Class 1 Bluetooth standards. The Beats Solo3 can play music for more than 40 hours without needing a charge, at distances up to 150 feet." https://9to5mac.com/guides/w1/. For example, I can use my powerbeats3 with Apple Music and walk throughout the house with no loss of connection or dropouts. if I connect to my LG SmartTV, I get clear reception, but in a much more limited area, where it often drops out around 30 ft.

"AAC is not made by Apple". True, perhaps I misspoke. If you are using Spotify on Android, for example, the music must be converted (if you are connecting using AAC and not SBC which you will notice a bad quality sound due to the SBC codec, the audio must be converted to AAC, which Android purportedly does poorly. https://www.soundguys.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-bluetooth-headphones-aac-20296/) so again, you are not comparing the headphones, but a lot of intermediary stuff. On the other hand, if you are using Apple Music streaming to the W1 or H1 chips, there is very little encode/decode, aka no introduced sound quality issues.

So what I should have said, you can't judge the sound quality of the headphones unless you are reviewing it in the proper environment. If the environment does work for you, go in another direction.
That is really interestin article, I will have to read it when I get home.
I mean the AAC one, the W1 does not really mention something we disqused here I feel.
THX mate, interesting stuff.

Edit: Even that guy Val in comment section got a really interesting point.
I will have to research this topic more than I thought.
 
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