AirPods: A Review

I, like many people, am constantly using my iPhone. The most common thing that I am doing with my phone is listening to audio. I can be listening to podcasts, audiobooks, or even just music. If you encounter me out and about, there is a 90% chance that I will have headphones in my ears. Headphones are one of the things that I will most likely have on me at all times. This has been the case since around 2005 when I got my first iPod; the iPod Mini.

That is not to say that I did not use headphones before, far from it. I used to listen to cassettes as well as CDs, and I even had a 32MB, yes, 32MB, Diamond Rio MP3 player. Since cassettes, CDs, and the Diamond Rio MP3 player were all around well before smart phones, I had to use wired headphones in order to listen to my music. Given that I am constantly listening to something, a good and comfortable set of headphones is an absolute must for me.

I should go without saying that I have had a slew of different headphones over the years. This does include a couple of bluetooth headphones as well. As with many people, once I find a pair of headphones I like, I will continue to buy them until they are no longer available. Luckily, my headphones of choice are Apple’s EarPods. Even though I have always had a phone that has AppleCare with it, I have not always gotten my headphones replaced under the warranty and instead opted to buy additional pairs.

History

One of the items that almost any Smart Phone needs is a way to listen to audio. All Smart Phones have at least one speaker in order to provide audio feedback. Most Smart Phones include a pair of wired headphones in with the phone. Apple’s iPhone is no exception. Apple has been including headphones with some of their products since 2001 with the introduction of the first iPod. Apple has modified their headphones in the intervening 16 years.

The second set of headphones that had a different shape were the Apple In-Ear Headphones that were introduced in September of 2008. The In-Ear Headphones consisted of three different size inserts that would allow the user to determine the best fit. The In-Ear headphones differ from the Earbuds by being ones that provide a seal inside the ear.

The shape of Apple’s earbuds remained the same from 2001 until September 2012, when they introduced the EarPods. The EarPods were developed by scanning thousands of ears and creating what is a shape that would fit the largest number of ears. It does not fit every year, but they do fit most.

With the release of the iPhone 5, Apple introduced a new connector, the Lightning connector. This connector is the one that is still on the iPhone, as well as the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPod Nano. With the release of the iPhone 7, Apple announced a radical change, the removal of the headphone jack; a staple that had been there since the release of the original iPhone in 2007. Headphones are still included in the box, as they have been since 2007. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus now include EarPods that have a lightning connector instead of the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack.

AirPods

At the same event as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus introduction, Apple also introduced their first Apple-branded wireless headphones, the AirPods. The AirPods have the same shape as the EarPods, just without the wires. This is actually a bit of an understatement, the AirPods are actually much more than just a simple pair of wireless headphones.

Wireless

Traditionally, when one thinks of wireless headphones, they picture a set of headphones that do not connect directly to a device with wires, but still have a wire connecting the two different earbuds. That is not the case with the AirPods. Many headphone manufacturers provide Bluetooth headphones, but they have a wire connecting the two ear pieces together. This is not the case with the AirPods. There is not even a charging cable that connects to the AirPods. The AirPods are truly wireless.

The Wireless aspects to the AirPods are provided by a custom chip that Apple has designed; the W1.

W1 chip

The AirPods incorporate some proprietary hardware, Apple’s W1 chip. The W1 chip, as I explained in my review of the Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones:

The W1 chip is an Apple designed chip that is specifically for being able to quickly pair with any iOS 10 or macOS Sierra device. The W1 chip also enables is the syncing of the pairing information between all of the devices using the same iCloud account.

The synchronization with iCloud is designed to allow your devices to automatically switch, without having to go through the tedious, “un-pair”, “re-pair” dance that is typical of Bluetooth enabled devices.

And this is entirely the case for the AirPods as well. Both the Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones and AirPods use the same W1 chip; as does the Power Beats 3, and the Beats X will as well, when they are released. As mentioned, the W1 chip is more than just a standard Bluetooth chip. The W1 provides some new functionality; particularly the ability to more easily switch between devices.

The W1 Chip does more than just provide easy syncing. The W1 Chip is also able to relay to an iOS device how much battery power is left on each individual AirPod.

The W1 Chip is responsible for the ability to take an AirPod out and have the audio that you are listening to pause. This functionality is not possible if using the AirPods as a traditional set of Bluetooth headphones. However, the double-tapping of Play/Pause does work while using the AirPods as traditional Bluetooth headphones.

The AirPods are still traditional Bluetooth headphones and can be used with devices that are not running iOS 10 or macOS Sierra. As a matter of fact, they can connect to anything that supports Bluetooth. In order to sync with a non-iOS 10 or macOS Sierra device, perform the following steps:

  1. Enable Bluetooth on the device.
  2. Open the lid on the AirPods case.
  3. Press the synchronize button on the back of the case.
  4. On your device tap on the AirPods.
  5. The AirPods should connect to your device.

The Case

One of the things that is most needed for any pair of wireless headphones is the ability to charge. How would you charge a pair of wireless headphones? With the AirPods, they are charged within their own case. The AirPods case provides more than just charging. It is also the mechanism for synchronizing the AirPods with your device.

The synchronizing of the AirPods with your device. The pairing process is simple.

  1. Place the case within a few inches of the device
  2. Open the lid of the case.
  3. Wait a few seconds, a popup will appear. The AirPods are now paired

The pairing is really that simple. The pairing information for the AirPods is synchronized to all iOS 10 and macOS Sierra devices that are attached to the original paired device.

There is one thing to note, the case itself is not enough to be able to check the charge of the AirPods. At least one AirPod must be in the case for the charge of the battery case to be visible. This is true whether the AirPods are connected to an iOS device or a macOS device.

The AirPods case has a few magnets inside of it. Two of them are to pull the individual AirPods into the case to allow for charging of the AirPods. The second magnet is on the front of the case and is used to close the case, and doubly secure the AirPods inside of it. When you snap shut the case, it makes a satisfying click.

Battery Life

Besides being the pairing mechanism, the case is also how you recharge the AirPods. The headphones have up to five hours of charge. The headphones can be used independently. Once the AirPods reach 10% of battery power left, they will chime to indicate that they are low on power. When they are low on power, you can put the headphones in their case for fifteen minutes. When this is done, the AirPods will get another three hours of charge time.

During my usage, I was able to get about four and half hours of listening time out of the AirPods before needing to recharge. Since I keep the charging case with me at all times, it is not an issue to be able to quickly charge them up.

The total time need to fully charge the AirPods is approximately an hour. The case is capable of charging the AirPods for a full 24-hours of listening time on a single charge of the case. If the AirPods are inside the case when charging the case, the AirPods will also be charged at the same time.

At any point, you can check the charge of your AirPods. On your iOS device, simply use the battery widget to see the current charge. On a device running macOS, you go to the Bluetooth settings in System Preferences, or the menu bar if you have Bluetooth in the menu bar, and the charge should be visible.

Alternatively, if you have an Apple Watch, you can also check the battery levels of the AirPods with your Apple Watch. If you have the Battery complication and if the AirPods are connected to a paired iPhone, you can tap on the Battery complication and the AirPod battery life should be shown.

Switching Devices

In order to switch devices with the AirPods, you simply go to the Bluetooth menu, and select the AirPods, they should connect. During all of my usage, there were a few times that the AirPods did switch between devices. This includes going between an iPhone 7 Plus, 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 2016 MacBook Pro, and 2011 iMac. The only time that the AirPods did not switch was trying to connect to my Apple Watch Series 2.

It should be noted that you do not have to pair the AirPods to other iOS and macOS Sierra devices, provided all of the devices are on the same iCloud account. Once they are paired, the AirPods should be available on your devices.

Controls

One of the aspects of the AirPods is that they have no wires. The lack of wires means that you have limited control. There is actually only one function; double-tapping on one of the individual AirPods. With an iOS 10-enabled device, you can set what action the double-tap gesture performs. To select which action the gesture initiates perform the following:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap on to Bluetooth.
  3. Click the information button next to the paired set of AirPods to open the settings.

Here you have a few options that you can set.
You can set the name, the double-tap gesture, enable or disable the automatic ear detection, and you can set some microphone options.

For the double-tap gesture you have three options:

  • Siri
  • Play/Pause
  • Off

The default action is to use Siri, but if you want to change the double-tap gesture, simply tap on the one that you want to use.

The Automatic Ear Detection is an option that allows the AirPods to automatically pause when they are removed and resume playing when they are put back into your ears. The play/pause functionality of ear detection can be triggered by removing just one AirPod. The microphone settings are the last option. On this screen you can choose which AirPod is used for the microphone. The default option is “Automatically Switch AirPods”. You can also choose to always use the left or right AirPod, depending on your preference.

Issues

As mentioned above, my experiences with the AirPods has not been 100% perfect. I have experienced a few issues with them. The biggest has been that they will not, no matter what I do, pair with the AirPods. After messing around with the AirPods for a while, I was able to the AirPods to Connect. The only way I was be able to do this was by disconnecting the AirPods from every device and then pairing with the Apple Watch Series 2. At this point, they were finally able to connect.

The most common issue that I have experienced has been the few times that the sound has cut out entirely. This happens for no explicable reason. I was listening to some music when out of the blue, the AirPods disconnected. They were not low on power, they had plenty of charge left.

While listening to a variety of audio, I sometimes get distortions in the audio. During these times, I am not more than a few feet away from my iPhone when this happens.

Feature Requests

There are a couple of things that I would like to see for a future software or hardware upgrade of the AirPods.

Additional gestures. Besides the current double-tap, a triple-tap gesture could be implemented. The only possible downside is that sometimes the current double-tap gesture is not always recognized.

This request is one that could be implemented a bit more easily; Next track. This could be added as an additional option, even with the existing double-tap gesture. Some might wonder what would happen with the Play/Pause option. Well, the Play/Pause function is already taken care of by removing an AirPod. This option could be easily added with just a software update.

Final Thoughts

The AirPods have actually made listening to audio much easier. Instead of having to worry about getting wires tangled wherever I am, I am able to leave my iPhone in one place, and walk all over the house without needing to have my iPhone on me.

Overall, the AirPods are the best earbuds that I have ever used and easily the best Bluetooth-enabled earbuds as well. I have not compared them to the Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones yet; that may be another comparison post in the future. If you have any mobile device that can support Bluetooth, the AirPods will work. You will not get some of the benefits, but they are still some of the best wireless headphones that you can buy.

Thoughts on 2016

I have been trying to determine how to sum up 2016. I think the most accurate term would be “shit show”. Regardless of how you feel as though 2016 turned out, it was undeniably a surprising year. There were many unexpected aspects to 2016. The most surprising, to many, was the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States; followed closely by the exiting of Britain from the European Union, often called “Brexit” for short.

Whether it be from being able to sail across and ocean, to flying across the same ocean, or even taking a train across a vast country, there is one thing that the march of progress has done, it has made the world a smaller place. This is even more abundantly true with the rise of the internet, and most particularly social media sites. Social media is a double-edged sword. This has occurred by allowing us to communicate with those anywhere on the planet. This allows us to be exposed to ideas and people would never have another instance to engage in. One of the ways that people learn about news that they may not normally hear, is through Social Media.

There have been many people who will say “Good Riddance to 2016”. Even though they are consciously aware of the fact that a year cannot cause problems, they do look towards something as a scape goat. Sometimes this is due to the death of celebrities and those known by a significant number of people around the world.

As with any year, a plethora of household names have passed away during 2016. Some of these include Alan Rickman, Alan Thicke, Anton Scalia, Anton Yelchin, Arnold Palmer, Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, Debbie Reynolds, Elie Wiesel, Fidel Castro, Florence Henderson, Gary Shandling, Gene Wilder, George Michael, Harper Lee, Janet Reno, John Glenn, Kenny Baker, Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, Muhammed Ali, Nancy Reagan, Pat Conroy, Prince, Umberto Eco, William Christopher and many many more; in fact too many to list. This includes those that are not as well known, but none-the-less have impacted people across the world.

Technology’s ability to expose people to more than they could have in the past, does mean that more people have the capability of becoming more well known. This social ability of Social Media also means that collectively we can grieve for those that have died. Even with the coming together that Social Media allows, it can also cause some to be very derisive. Compounding this downside to is that some individuals do not always recognize that there are actual human beings on the other side of the wire. This means that when people interact with others, they say and do things that they would not say or do if they were in physical proximity of others.

This cognitive dissidence has lead to some of the most contentious stories of the year. Besides the aforementioned election of Donald Trump as the 46th President of the United States and the British exit of the European Union, there have been many other stories that have caused some rancor. The biggest has been the issues with race between minorities and various Police Departments. These stories do not just minorities being shot by Police, although a majority of them are just this type of story. Some of the cities that have had these stories are Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

One of the biggest stories has been the leaking of emails between some Democratic National Committee members. While the emails themselves were mostly innocuous, the leak itself was, and still is, the more worrisome part. It has been determined that Russia is behind the hack. Whilst the hack itself is definitely problematic, the influence of the hack on the United States election is the bigger of the issues.

As I write this, we are entering the waning hours of 2016. With 2017, we are entering a contentious time with nuclear powers threatening each other. A defector from North Korea, now in South Korea, has indicated that North Korea may have full nuclear capabilities by the end of 2017. With the Russian hacking of the United States Election, and the unknown ties between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and President Elect Donald Trump, we are entering a very unstable time. The progress that has been made within the United States is possibly in peril due to the incoming Congress of the United States and the aims of President Elect Trump.

Despite how bad 2016 has been, it is my hope that 2017 will be better; not just for race relations, but for everything that is happening throughout the world. We, as humans, are the only ones who are capable of being kinder to one another, and we are the only ones who are able to come together and come to some consensus and compromise and learn to live with each other. Here is to hoping that 2017 is better than we all expect and some of the regression that has been experienced in 2016 is reversed and we all get back into making progress.

iPhone Availability 12/31/2016 (Evening)

This is the last iPhone Availability report for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. From Apple, all iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models are available in a couple of days.

iPhone 7

  • T-Mobile – Black 32GB has slipped 10 days to 1/11/17.

iPhone 7 Plus

  • Sprint – Black 32GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Rose Gold 128GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Gold 128GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Black 128GB has slipped from ‘Available’ to 1/13.
  • Sprint – Rose Gold 256GB has slipped a week from 1/6 to 1/13.
  • Sprint – Gold 256GB has slipped two weeks from 12/31 to 1/13.
  • Sprint – Silver 256GB has slipped two weeks from 12/31 to 1/13.
iPhone 7
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Silver Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Jet Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Silver Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Jet Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Silver Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Jet Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Silver Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Jet Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
iPhone 7 Plus
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Silver Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Jet Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Silver Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Jet Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Silver Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Jet Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Gold Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Silver Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4
Jet Black Wed Jan 4 Wed Jan 4

iPhone 7 – from Carriers
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/31 – 1/9 12/31 – 1/9 12/31 – 1/9
Gold 12/31 – 1/9 12/31 – 1/9 12/31 – 1/9
Silver 12/31 – 1/9 12/31 – 1/9 12/31 – 1/9
Black 12/31 – 1/9 12/31 – 1/9 12/31 – 1/9
Jet Black 12/31 – 1/9 12/31 – 1/9
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 1/10 Available Available
Gold 1/10 Available Available
Silver 1/10 Available Available
Black 1/10 1/10 Available
Jet Black Available Available
iPhone 7 Plus – from Carriers
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 1/13 – 1/20 1/2 – 1/4 1/2 – 1/4
Gold 1/2 – 1/4 1/2 – 1/4 1/2 – 1/4
Silver 1/13 – 1/20 1/2 – 1/4 1/2 – 1/4
Black 1/13 – 1/20 1/13 – 1/20 Available
Jet Black 1/2 – 1/4 1/2 – 1/4
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available 1/13
Gold Available Available 1/13
Silver Available 1/6 1/13
Black Available 1/13 1/6
Jet Black Available 1/18
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3
Gold 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3
Silver 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3 12/29 – 1/5
Black 12/31 – 1/9 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3
Jet Black 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 1/6 1/6 Unavailable
Gold 1/6 Available Available
Silver Available Available 1/20
Black 1/6 Available Available
Jet Black Available Available

iPhone Availability 12/27/2016 (Evening)

Many models of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are available. All models from Apple are available within a couple of days.

This will be the second to last update of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

iPhone 7

  • Sprint – Rose Gold 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Gold 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Silver 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Black 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Jet Black 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Verizon – Rose Gold 32GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 1/10.
  • Verizon – Gold 32GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 1/10.
  • Verizon – Silver 32GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 1/10.
  • Verizon – Black 32GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 1/10.
  • Verizon – Black 128GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 1/10.

iPhone 7 Plus

  • Sprint – Rose Gold 128GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 1/12.
  • Sprint – Rose Gold 256GB has slipped from 12/31 to 1/6.
  • Sprint – Black 256GB has slipped from 12/26 to 1/6.
  • Sprint – Jet Black 256GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 1/18.
  • Verizon – Rose Gold 32GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 1/6.
  • Verizon – Gold 32GB has slipped from 1/3 to 1/6.
  • Verizon – Black 32GB has slipped from 1/3 to 1/6.
  • Verizon – Rose Gold 128GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 1/6.
  • Verizon – Rose Gold 256GB has gone from ‘Available’ to ‘Unavailable’.
  • Verizon – Silver 256GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 1/20.
iPhone 7
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Silver Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Jet Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Silver Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Jet Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Silver Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Jet Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Silver Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Jet Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
iPhone 7 Plus
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Silver Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Jet Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Tomorrow
Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Silver Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Jet Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Silver Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Jet Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Gold Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Silver Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29
Jet Black Thu Dec 29 Thu Dec 29

iPhone 7 – from Carriers
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3
Gold 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3
Silver 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3
Black 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3
Jet Black 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 1/10 Available Available
Gold 1/10 Available Available
Silver 1/10 Available Available
Black 1/10 1/10 Available
Jet Black Available Available
iPhone 7 Plus – from Carriers
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 1/10 – 1/18 12/28 – 12/30 12/28 – 12/30
Gold 12/28 – 12/30 12/28 – 12/30 12/28 – 12/30
Silver 1/10 – 1/17 12/28 – 12/30 12/28 – 12/30
Black 1/10 – 1/17 1/10 – 1/17 Available
Jet Black 12/28 – 12/30 12/28 – 12/30
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available 1/12 1/6
Gold Available 1/6 12/31
Silver Available 1/6 12/31
Black 12/31 Available 1/6
Jet Black Available 1/18
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3
Gold 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3
Silver 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3 12/29 – 1/5
Black 12/31 – 1/9 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3
Jet Black 12/27 – 1/3 12/27 – 1/3
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 1/6 1/6 Unavailable
Gold 1/6 Available Available
Silver Available Available 1/20
Black 1/6 Available Available
Jet Black Available Available

iPhone Availability 12/20/2016 (Evening)

If you want an iPhone or iPhone 7 Plus, it is best to order it from Apple and do it right now, in order to get it before Christmas.

iPhone 7

There have been no changes for the iPhone 7 from the Carriers.

iPhone 7 Plus

  • AT&T – Black 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Silver 32GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Black 32GB has slipped to 12/31.
  • Sprint – Rose Gold 128GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Black 128GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Jet Black 128GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Rose Gold 256GB has slipped to 12/31.
  • Sprint – Gold 256GB has slipped to 12/31.
  • Sprint – Silver 256GB has slipped to 12/31.
  • Sprint – Black 256GB has slipped to 12/26.
  • Sprint – Jet Black 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • T-Mobile – Black 32GB has slipped from 12/16 to 12/28.
  • T-Mobile – Silver 128GB has slipped from 12/16 to 12/22.
  • Verizon – Gold 32GB has slipped to 1/3.
  • Verizon – Black 32GB has slipped to 1/3.
iPhone 7
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Silver Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Jet Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Silver Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Jet Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Silver Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Jet Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Silver Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Jet Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
iPhone 7 Plus
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Silver Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Jet Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Silver Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Jet Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Silver Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Jet Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Gold Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Silver Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22
Jet Black Thu Dec 22 Thu Dec 22

iPhone 7 – from Carriers
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available 12/31
Gold Available Available 12/31
Silver Available Available 12/31
Black Available Available 12/31
Jet Black Available 12/31
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27
Gold 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27
Silver 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27
Black 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27
Jet Black 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available
iPhone 7 Plus – from Carriers
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 1/4 – 1/11 12/21 – 12/23 12/21 – 12/23
Gold 12/21 – 12/23 12/21 – 12/23 12/21 – 12/23
Silver 1/4 – 1/11 12/21 – 12/23 12/21 – 12/23
Black 1/4 – 1/11 1/4 – 1/11 Available
Jet Black 12/21 – 12/23 12/21 – 12/23
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available 12/31
Gold Available 1/6 12/31
Silver Available 1/6 12/31
Black 12/31 Available 12/26
Jet Black Available Available
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27
Gold 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27
Silver 12/20 – 12/27 12/22 – 12/29 12/20 – 12/27
Black 12/28 – 1/4 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27
Jet Black 12/20 – 12/27 12/20 – 12/27
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold 1/3 Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black 1/3 Available Available
Jet Black Available Available

Beats Solo 3 Wireless: A Review

Back at Apple’s September 2016 event, where they announced the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Apple unveiled a couple of new products. The first, was a new set of wireless headphones; the AirPods. These have the same shape as the EarPods, however they are entirely wireless. This was not the only new headphone announced by Apple. the second is the Beats Solo 3 Wireless Headphones. These are the focus of this review.

Backstory

Beats was originally started by musical artist Dr. Dre and music industry producer Jimmy Iovine in 2006. Beats was created to make headphones as well as a streaming music service. In May of 2014 it was announced that Apple had purchased Beats for $3 Billion. The streaming music service was folded into Apple Music in July of 2015.

The Beats line has a variety of different headphones, from the Beats X, in ear headphones, to the Beats Studio, over the ear headphones. The Beats Solo line has both wired as well as wireless versions. The Beats Solo 3 Wireless and AirPods have something unique in them, a custom chip. The chip Apple has dubbed the W1.

W1

The W1 chip is an Apple designed chip that is specifically for being able to quickly pair with any iOS 10 or macOS Sierra device. The W1 chip also enables is the syncing of the pairing information between all of the devices using the same iCloud account.

The synchronization with iCloud is designed to allow your devices to automatically switch, without having to go through the tedious, “un-pair”, “re-pair” dance that is typical of Bluetooth enabled devices.

Solo 3 Wireless

This is my first pair of Beats headphones, but definitely not my first pair of headphones in general. The Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones come in a decent size package and includes as number of items. These items include: a Carrying Case, micro-usb charging cable, a 3.5mm headphone with Microphone cable, and a carabiner, to attach the case to a bag.

The 3.5mm headphone with Microphone cable is to connect the Beats Solo 3’s to any device that has a standard 3.5mm connection. When you connect the 3.5mm cable, the Beats Solo 3’s headphones will automatically power off, but the music will continue.

The Beats Solo 3 utilize Bluetooth to be able to connect to devices wirelessly. The Bluetooth protocol used is Class 1, which is likely Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE). This means that they are able to be used with any bluetooth enabled device; whether it is an Apple device or a non-Apple device, the W1 chip enables this functionality.

Pairing

As mentioned above, the W1 chip makes it easier to connect to iOS 10, macOS Sierra, and watchOS 3 devices. The pairing of the devices is quite simple:

  • Make sure bluetooth is on
  • Turn on the Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones
  • Hold down the power button on the Beats Solo 3 headphones for one second.
  • Follow the on screen steps.

Those steps are easily summed up in three screenshots.

Once the Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones are paired, you can being listening to whatever audio you would like.

Battery Life

Apple rates the Beats Solo 3 wireless at 40 hours of time between charges. I have not thoroughly tested the battery life, but I have not had to charge them more than twice since I received them. Even if the battery life is not 100% as advertised, it is likely close to the 40 hours.

Given that I purchased the Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones on Black Friday, I was able to use them in the cold. By cold, I don’t just mean around 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It was zero degrees outside while using them. This is definitely not recommended. I went outside when they had 80% battery life remaining. Within 20 minutes the headphones were completely drained.

It should be noted that the Beats Solo 3’s were under a hat and covered by a hoodie as well. I don’t know if this was just a fluke, or if this is how they behave in the extreme cold.

Wired

One of the benefits of the Beats Solo 3 Wireless is the ability to also use them wired. and not just wirelessly. There is one thing to note about using them wired, besides the headphones powering off when plugged in. The cable is truly designed to only go one direction. While you could plug in to either side, the cable is designed to have the straight plug in the headphones, and the 90 degree angle side plugged into the device. If you switch the two, you will only get mono sound; however, it will be much louder which may be what you are attempting to achieve.

Adjusting the headband

One of the aspects of the Beats Solo 3’s is that the controls are on the opposite side of those on the EarPods. This does take some time to get accustom to.

The second thing that the headphones actually collapse, to close. While this is not unique, it is something that you should be aware of.

Sound

One of the complaints that many individuals have of the Beats line in general is that it has more bass than other headphones. I tested a few different headphones in order to compare the Beats Solo 3 Wireless to to other headphones. The Lightning EarPods that come with the iPhone 7, the 3.5mm EarPods, the Xbox One Headset, and the Beats Solo 3 Wireless. The Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones definitely had the most bass, but ultimately did not sound the best, compared to the others. Weirdly, the 3.5mm EarPods with the 3.5mm to Lightning adapter, sounded the best. Even better than the EarPods with native Lightning adapter.

Downsides

One of the downsides of the Beats Solo 3’s is also one of its benefits. The Beats Solo 3’s are designed to sit snugly right on your ears, and they do. However, this poses a problem for those of us who have glasses. The Beats Solo 3’s may ease up over time, but I am not sure if this is the case, given that they are designed to fold, so they are meant to maintain their shape. You can adjust the headband of the Beats Solo 3’s, but when this is done, the Beats Solo 3’s do not fit as well on one’s head.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones work just as advertised. They seamlessly switch between devices. The battery life, provided you do not use the in a super cold environment, is really good. If you wear glasses, the Beats Solo 3’s may require some adjustments so your glasses will not dig into your temples. The Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones are not inexpensive, by any means. If, however, you are looking for a pair of on ear headphones and you have the means, the Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones may be the right choice for you. You can buy them from Amazon or Apple.

iPhone Availability 12/16/2016 (Morning)

If you are looking for an iPhone 7 in time for Christmas, now is the time to order. They should still arrive before the holiday. There are some carrier specific models that will not arrive until well after the holiday, so it may be ideal to order from Apple today.

iPhone 7

  • Sprint – 256GB Models may not arrive until 12/31, but all other models are still available.
  • T-Mobile – All iPhone 7 Models on T-Mobile will still likely arrive before Christmas, but you must order today.

iPhone 7 Plus

  • T-Mobile – All iPhone 7 Plus Models on T-Mobile will still likely arrive before Christmas, but you must order today.
  • AT&T – Rose Gold 32GB has slipped from 12/12 to 1/2.
  • AT&T – Silver 32GB has slipped from 12/12 to 1/2.
  • AT&T – Black 32GB has slipped from 12/12 to 1/2.
  • AT&T – Black 128GB has slipped from 12/12 to 1/2.
  • Sprint – Rose Gold 128GB has slipped from ‘Available’ to 1/6.
  • Sprint – Gold 128GB has slipped from ‘Available’ to 1/6.
  • Sprint – Silver 128GB has slipped from ‘Available’ to 1/6.
  • Verizon -Jet Black 128GB is now ‘Available’.
iPhone 7
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Silver Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Black Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Jet Black Tomorrow Tomorrow
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Silver Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Black Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Jet Black Tomorrow Tomorrow
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Silver Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Black Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Jet Black Tomorrow Tomorrow
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Gold Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Silver Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Black Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow
Jet Black Tomorrow Tomorrow
iPhone 7 Plus
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Gold Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Silver Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Black Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Jet Black Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Gold Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Silver Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Black Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Jet Black Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Gold Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Silver Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Black Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Jet Black Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Gold Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Silver Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Black Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22
Jet Black Dec 20 – Dec 22 Dec 20 – Dec 22

iPhone 7 – from Carriers
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available 12/31
Gold Available Available 12/31
Silver Available Available 12/31
Black Available Available 12/31
Jet Black Available 12/31
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23
Gold 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23
Silver 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23
Black 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23
Jet Black 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available
iPhone 7 Plus – from Carriers
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 1/2 – 1/9 12/19 – 12/21 12/19 – 12/21
Gold 12/19 – 12/21 12/19 – 12/21 12/19 – 12/21
Silver 1/2 – 1/9 12/19 – 12/21 12/19 – 12/21
Black 1/2 – 1/9 1/2 – 1/9 12/19 – 12/21
Jet Black 12/19 – 12/21 12/19 – 12/21
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available 1/6 12/5 – 12/19
Gold Available 1/6 12/5 – 12/19
Silver 12/19 1/6 12/5 – 12/19
Black 12/19 12/5 – 12/19 12/5 – 12/19
Jet Black 12/9 – 12/19 12/14 – 12/26
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23
Gold 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23
Silver 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23
Black 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23
Jet Black 12/16 – 12/23 12/16 – 12/23
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available

iPhone Availability for 12/09/2016 (Evening)

Most iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models are available from Carriers, if you are looking to buy an iPhone 7 Plus from Apple, it may be best to do so now, as the ship date is very close to the Holidays.

iPhone 7

  • Sprint – Rose Gold 256GB has slipped from Available to 12/5.
  • Sprint – Gold 256GB has slipped from Available to 12/5.
  • Sprint – Silver 256GB has slipped from Available to 12/5.
  • Sprint – Black 256GB has slipped from Available to 12/5.
  • Sprint – Jet Black 256GB has slipped from Available to 12/5.

iPhone 7 Plus

  • AT&T – Jet Black 256GB has improved from 12/19 to 12/12.
  • Sprint – Rose Gold 32GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Silver 128GB is now ‘Available’.
  • T-Mobile – Silver 32GB has improved from 12/12 to 12/9.
  • T-Mobile – Black 32GB has slipped from 12/5 to 12/14.
  • T-Mobile – Black 128GB has slipped from 12/5 to 12/14.
  • T-Mobile – Rose Gold 256GB has improved from 12/12 to 12/9.
  • T-Mobile – Silver 256GB has improved from 12/12 to 12/9.
  • Verizon – Black 128GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Verizon – Rose Gold 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Verizon – Gold 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Verizon – Black 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Verizon – Jet Black 128GB has slipped to 12/14.
iPhone 7
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Gold Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Silver Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Black Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Jet Black Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Gold Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Silver Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Black Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Jet Black Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Gold Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Silver Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Black Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Jet Black Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Gold Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Silver Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Black Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
Jet Black Tue Dec 13 Tue Dec 13
iPhone 7 Plus
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Gold Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Silver Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Black Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Jet Black Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Gold Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Silver Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Black Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Jet Black Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Gold Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Silver Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Black Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Jet Black Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Gold Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Silver Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Black Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21
Jet Black Dec 19 – Dec 21 Dec 19 – Dec 21

iPhone 7 – from Carriers
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available 12/5 – 12/31
Gold Available Available 12/5 – 12/31
Silver Available Available 12/5 – 12/31
Black Available Available 12/5 – 12/31
Jet Black Available 12/5 – 12/31
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16
Gold 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16
Silver 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16
Black 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16
Jet Black 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available
iPhone 7 Plus – from Carriers
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/12 – 12/14 12/12 – 12/14 12/12 – 12/14
Gold 12/12 – 12/14 12/12 – 12/14 12/12 – 12/14
Silver 12/12 – 12/14 12/12 – 12/14 12/12 – 12/14
Black 12/12 – 12/14 12/12 – 12/14 12/12 – 12/14
Jet Black 12/12 – 12/14 12/12 – 12/14
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available 12/5 – 12/19
Gold Available/td>

Available 12/5 – 12/19
Silver 12/19 Available 12/5 – 12/19
Black 12/19 12/5 – 12/19 12/5 – 12/19
Jet Black 12/9 – 12/19 12/5 – 12/19
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16
Gold 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16
Silver 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16
Black 12/14 – 12/21 12/14 – 12/21 12/9 – 12/16
Jet Black 12/9 – 12/16 12/9 – 12/16
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black 12/14 Available

iPhone Availability for 12/05/2016 (Evening)

There have been a number of changes. This is likely your last chance to get an iPhone 7 Plus from Apple before Christmas, so order it NOW!.

iPhone 7

  • AT&T – Gold 32GB is now ‘Available’.
  • AT&T – Silver 32GB is now ‘Available’.
  • AT&T – Black 32GB is now ‘Available’.
  • AT&T – Rose Gold 128GB is now ‘Available’.
  • AT&T – Jet Black 128GB is now ‘Available’.
  • AT&T – Rose Gold 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • AT&T – Gold 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • AT&T – Silver 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • AT&T – Black 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • AT&T – Jet Black 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Gold 256GB has slipped from ‘Available’ to 12/5.
  • Sprint – Silver 256GB has slipped from ‘Available’ to 12/5.
  • Sprint – Black 256GB has slipped from ‘Available’ to 12/5.

iPhone 7 Plus

  • AT&T – Rose Gold 32GB has slipped to 12/6.
  • AT&T – Gold 128GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 12/6.
  • AT&T – Silver 128GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 12/6.
  • AT&T – Black 128GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 12/6.
  • AT&T – Rose Gold 256GB has slipped to 12/12.
  • AT&T – Gold 256GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 12/6.
  • AT&T – Silver 256GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 12/6.
  • AT&T – Black 256GB has gone from ‘Available’ to 12/6.
  • AT&T – Jet Black 256GB has slipped to 12/19.
  • Sprint – Rose Gold 32GB has slipped from 11/30 to 12/14.
  • Sprint – Gold 32GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Silver 32GB has slipped from 11/30 to 12/19.
  • Sprint – Silver 32GB has slipped from 11/30 to 12/19.
  • Sprint – Rose Gold 128GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Gold 128GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Sprint – Silver 128GB has slipped from 11/30 to 12/9.
  • T-Mobile – Black 32GB has improved from 12/7 to 12/5.
  • T-Mobile – Rose Gold 128GB has improved from 12/12 to 12/5.
  • T-Mobile – Gold 128GB has improved from 12/12 to 12/5.
  • T-Mobile – Silver 128GB has improved from 12/12 to 12/5.
  • T-Mobile – Black 128GB has improved from 12/12 to 12/5.
  • T-Mobile – Silver 256GB has slipped to 12/12.
  • T-Mobile – Jet Black 256GB has improved from 12/12 to 12/5.
  • Verizon – Silver 32GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Verizon – Rose Gold 128GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Verizon – Silver 128GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Verizon – Jet Black 128GB has slipped from 12/5 to 12/14.
  • Verizon – Silver 256GB is now ‘Available’.
  • Verizon – Black 256GB has slipped from 12/5 to 12/9.
iPhone 7
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Gold Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Silver Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Black Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Jet Black Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Gold Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Silver Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Black Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Jet Black Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Gold Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Silver Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Black Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Jet Black Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Gold Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Silver Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Black Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
Jet Black Wed Dec 7 Wed Dec 7
iPhone 7 Plus
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Gold by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Silver by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Black by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Jet Black by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Gold by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Silver by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Black by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Jet Black by Dec 22 by Dec 22
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Gold by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Silver by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Black by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Jet Black by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Gold by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Silver by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Black by Dec 22 by Dec 22 by Dec 22
Jet Black by Dec 22 by Dec 22

iPhone 7 – from Carriers
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12
Gold 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12
Silver 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12
Black 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12
Jet Black 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available Available
Gold Available Available Available
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available Available Available
Jet Black Available Available
iPhone 7 Plus – from Carriers
AT&T 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/6 – 12/8 12/6 – 12/8 12/12 – 12/19
Gold 12/6 – 12/8 12/6 – 12/8 12/6 – 12/8
Silver 12/6 – 12/8 12/6 – 12/8 12/6 – 12/8
Black 12/6 – 12/8 12/6 – 12/8 12/6 – 12/8
Jet Black 12/6 – 12/8 12/19 – 12/27
Sprint 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/14 Available 12/5 – 12/19
Gold Available/td>

Available 12/5 – 12/19
Silver 12/19 12/9 12/5 – 12/19
Black 12/19 12/5 – 12/19 12/5 – 12/19
Jet Black 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/19
T-Mobile 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12 12/12 – 12/19
Gold 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12
Silver 12/12 – 12/19 12/5 – 12/12 12/12 – 12/19
Black 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12/ 12/5 – 12/12
Jet Black 12/5 – 12/12 12/5 – 12/12
Verizon 32GB 128GB 256GB
Rose Gold Available Available 12/7
Gold Available Available 12/7
Silver Available Available Available
Black Available 12/9 12/9
Jet Black 12/14 Available

Watch Dogs 2: A Review

In June of 2012, at their E3 conference, Ubisoft unveiled a brand new intellectual property. This one was a twist on the genre of open-world games. The game, was Watch Dogs, also seen as WATCH_DOGS. The game was a commercial success with over 10 million copies being sold in 2014. With the game being successful, Ubisoft has produced a sequel, Watch Dogs 2; which is the focus of this review. Given the high level of similarities, with regards to the mechanics, between Watch Dogs and Watch Dogs 2, let us start there.

A bit of backstory for Watch Dogs is needed. Due to a blackout in the Northeastern United States, the Blume Corporation builds a new Central Operating System (ctOS), that provides a way to have everything connected.

Chicago

The open world of Watch Dogs is based on a fictionalized version of Chicago. The game allowed variety of neighborhoods that ranged from run-down areas to the most affluent. The game included iconic sights within Chicago. Some of these included the EL, the Sears Tower, and even Buckingham Fountain.

Within Watch Dogs, you play as “The Vigilante” also known as Aiden Pierce. Aiden was seen during a robbery of a Hotel, and since he ended up leaving during that robbery, a bounty is put on him. The hit man is instructed to take out his family, if necessary.

The hitman manages to accidentally kill Aiden Pearce’s niece Lena, so he is out to get revenge. That is where Watch Dogs starts.

Gameplay

Almost everything in Watch Dogs was “hackable”, meaning that you can use your phone to hack other individuals. When you did this, you could intercept a variety of things. These may include: money, chats, or even phone calls. The money would be the most helpful, but reading chat conversations or listening to phone calls could provide an entertaining insight into each pedestrian as they innocently go about their lives.

Similarly, this means that there are some objects within the world that are “hackable”. Some examples include cell phones, cars, city infrastructure, doors, and a number of other items.

With many first person shooter games, you are limited to the actions that you can perform. The same is true with Watch Dogs, but part of the gameplay of Watch Dogs that defines the Watch Dogs games is the fact that besides being an open-world, it is also a puzzle game.

In the first Watch Dogs there was an aspect to the game where you had to turn items to be able to activate other items. As an example, you would start with a power unit with lines In Watch Dogs, this was so prevalent that the “Peephole” achievement. These puzzles continue in Watch Dogs 2, however they are not nearly as common.

Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 takes the success of Watch Dogs, and adds to it. In Watch Dogs 2, you play as Marcus Holloway, an Oakland-based hacker trying to get into Dedsec. In order to be initiated, Marcus, also known as Retr0, must go on a mission. This is the opening mission.

Technology

Watch Dogs introduced the original mechanism of using a cell phone to hack individuals. With the advancement of only a couple of years, Watch Dogs 2 has been able to add a few new mechanisms.

Watch Dogs 2 uses some of the technology is RC. The RC Car can jump, taunt and even drop weapons against enemies. The same can be said for the Drone. The Drone is needed for some levels, as well as some collectables.

One of the technologies that have become more ubiquitous since the original Watch Dogs is 3D Printing. In Watch Dogs, you could go into a gun shop to purchase weapons. However, with Watch Dogs 2, you can now use a 3D printer to print out, and even adorn, your weapon of choice. You can even do some side missions to be able to get different paint jobs for your weapons.

Another aspect to technology that has become quite common is the act of taking a selfie, or self-picture. This is doable within Watch Dogs 2, as is explained below.

San Francisco

One of the side missions of almost any game is to collect things. In Watch Dogs, there was the “Peephole” achievement, mentioned above, where you would use hacking to peek into what others were doing to get an even richer sense of the gaming universe.

Watch Dogs 2 does have a similar side mission, but this is to get pictures of some of the iconic tourist sights in San Francisco. One of the twists with this, you can use the front-facing camera on your in-game phone to take pictures of yourself. Just like social media sites in life, characters will comment, in-game, on the pictures that you take.

The game world is not just confined to San Francisco, but encompasses the surrounding area. Some of these are Silicon Valley, Marin County, and Oakland. When you look at the map, it may seem small, but it really is not that small.

The scenery of San Francisco is spot on. Having never been there myself, it would seem like it is an accurate replication of what the San Francisco area is like. People who live in the Bay Area, or have visited enough, can verify or refute that statement.

Game Play

As mentioned above, Watch Dogs 2 implements many of the same mechanisms as in Watch Dogs. You are still able to hack phones, cameras, cars, and city infrastructure. However, the mechanisms are expanded upon. For instance, there are now two additional items to help you in the game. The first is as remote control car. An RC car was introduced in the Watch Dogs expansion, Bad Blood. However, it plays an even more prominent role in Watch Dogs 2.

In Watch Dogs 2, the RC car is necessary, not only for being able to get to through certain missions, but also in order to avoid detection. There is another mechanism, a drone. The drone is used for simliar tasks. However, it can come in even handier than the RC car can.

Just like in Watch Dogs, you come across additional characters that will either help or hinder you along the way. A number of these individuals are hackers, and assist in some ways. While others are those out stop you.

Control Scheme

The control scheme for Watch Dogs 2 is different than it was for Watch Dogs. After playing through Watch Dogs 2, and then going back and playing the first couple of missions of Watch Dogs again, it took some re-orientation to get back into using the proper controls. It is a minor thing, but something to be aware of.

Final Thoughts

After playing through the entire game. Some may think that the storyline is entirely implausible. Some aspects of it appear to be impractical. However, one thing that Watch Dogs 2 does, is make its own social commentary about not just humans, but also on technology and society as a whole.

Overall, Watch Dogs 2 is an improvement over Watch Dogs. The game play is good and the story, even with some quibbles, is pretty good. There is more to do in the game, from ATV racing, drone racing, or even grabbing bags of cash. There is plenty for all users to enjoy within the game. If you enjoy open-world games, and in particular, if you enjoyed Watch Dogs, then Watch Dogs 2 is worth getting.

Where would I like to see them go next? Maybe England, because ctOS is already, if not super close, to becoming a reality. Everything is being monitored there, so it would make for a possible candidate for future expansion.

Watch Dogs 2 is available on Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC. Links below are to purchase the title from Amazon.

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