Even at $160, there is no argument that Apple’s AirPods are a popular alternative to wireless headsets. They were almost impossible to get last Christmas due to high demand and last summer when I ordered mine they were on a six-week backorder from Apple and going for more than $200 used on eBay and Amazon storefronts.
Although the wireless buds are meant for Apple devices, they still use the standard Bluetooth protocol, so can be paired with anything running Bluetooth. Thanks to a new dongle called AirFly, now AirPods can be connected to any non-Bluetooth device.
Twelve South, a company specializing in Apple accessories, has launched the AirFly with in-flight entertainment in mind, but the device will work with anything that has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The dongle is slimmer than the AirPods charging case but is slightly longer. It is charged via micro-USB and will run for about eight hours on a charge.
According to Engadget, which got to try AirFly before it launched, there are a couple of drawbacks to using AirPods with the device. For one, the buds do not pair as easily with AirFly as they do with Apple devices, but this holds true when trying to sync them with any non-Apple product. Fortunately, the pairing procedure is straightforward and is explained in the instructions that come with the AirFly.
Another problem is that once you are ready to switch back to your Apple device, you will have to re-pair the AirPods again. This is not too bad since it only takes a click, but continuously switching back and forth could be annoying.
AirFly is not only compatible with AirPods but also works with any Bluetooth headset. Right now it is available from the Twelve South website for $40. However, since the accessory maker has an Amazon storefront, you can expect to see them there soon.