One of the main draws of AirPods has always been their ability to essentially be invisible, both to the user and to people around them. When they were first introduced they had two features, the ability to play music and the ability to talk to Siri with a tap. But over the past five years, Apple has added new features both through hardware revisions and in software updates that have us wondering if AirPods deserve their own companion app on iPhone. Here’s what we think it should look like.
AirPods have become increasingly important in peoples’ lives, so much so that I’d say they’re an indispensable accessory for the iPhone now. As they get more advanced, it’s becoming more difficult for users to find features that Apple adds. That’s not even to mention that the company still treats AirPods like any other Bluetooth device in the settings menu.
Settings and updates
An AirPods companion app would probably look something like the Watch app. There’d be a simple main tab with all of the settings you would want rapid access to. Lots of these are pulled over from the Bluetooth menu and the about page. At the top, you can see your AirPods that are currently in use, search for settings, check your battery level, and switch to another pair of AirPods that you may want to use.
There are three groups of cells that include relevant settings options. The first group includes hardware controls like the ability to customize the way buttons work, enable or disable head detection, and try out spatial audio.
Below that group you can see information about your AirPods, customize settings for the Find My network, and, yes, download software updates. One of our biggest gripes with AirPods is the way that Apple seeds software updates to users. They’re invisible and, frankly, a crapshoot. There’s technically no way to really invoke a software update. You just have to wait for it to happen to your AirPods, check the about screen, and hope for the best. So like all of Apple’s other important ancillary devices, AirPods should have a software update pane that shows new features and alerts you when updates become available.
The Watch app’s middle tab is home to the watch face gallery, but there’s nothing comparable to put there for AirPods. So I turned to an idea I’ve had to help alleviate anti-trust concerns with the App Store and Apple services. Apple could add a new apps tab that shows off apps and services for music, podcasts, sounds, and videos.
Discover new things
Like the Watch app and Tips app, the discover tab could teach users about features that they may not know about. It could also serve as a pseudo-newsroom for Apple to tell people about new features and software updates. When someone wants to troubleshoot an issue with their AirPods, they can come here. It’d be a centralized place for learning about your AirPods regardless of the model.
Apple could include support for Beats headphones and earbuds in this app if it wants to. But I think the company would want to keep them separate. After all, they don’t have a dedicated tab on Apple.com the way AirPods now do.
What do you think about the idea of Apple building a dedicated AirPods app for managing settings and downloading software updates? Let us know in the comments below!
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