W1 Chip Overview Updated February 14, 2017

W1 Chip

A better version of Bluetooth

See All W1 Chip Stories

Seven W1 Chip stories

August 2015 - February 2017


The W1 chip is Apple’s take on wireless Bluetooth. The W1 chip enables painless pairing with an iPhone running iOS 10 or later. Once paired, the configuration is then synced automatically to all your other connected Apple devices using iCloud.

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.

Headphones with the W1 chip include Apple AirPods, Beats Solo3, Powerbeats3 and BeatsX. See our roundup of all the wireless headphones with W1 currently available.

Although the W1 chip headphones are optimized for compatibility with Apple devices, they also work with any device that sports Bluetooth compatibility.

W1 Stories February 14

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All four products in the announced Apple W1 lineup of wireless headphones and earbuds are now available: the Beats Solo3 headphones, the Powerbeats3, the BeatsX and the truly wireless Apple AirPods.

Wireless headphones are becoming the defacto choice for Apple users, with the iPhone 7 dropping the analog headphone jack. Apple Watch can also only pair with wireless music devices.

We don’t know what the future holds for the W1 chip, perhaps more manufacturers will be allowed to use it, but the product range is already diversified with what’s available today, spanning different form factors, audio quality, convenience, innovation and price points.

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W1 Stories February 13

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The highly anticipated BeatsX are the latest pair of wireless earphones to feature Apple’s W1 wireless chip, which makes it easy to pair and switch between eligible iOS devices.

First revealed at Apple’s fall iPhone event, the BeatsX have experienced a few delays on their way to last Friday’s release. The white and black versions are currently available for in store pickup and shipping, while the newly-revealed grey and blue versions are scheduled to ship in 2-3 weeks.

How do the BeatsX stack up to the similarly-priced AirPods? Are they a good option for users looking for a pair of Bluetooth earbuds? In this hands-on video walkthrough, we’ll take a look at some of the top BeatsX features in our quest to answer those questions. expand full story

The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

W1 Stories December 20, 2016

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Apple currently makes two sets of earphones that include their new W1 chip: AirPods and Powerbeats3. The W1 chip enables instant pairing over Bluetooth and automatic pairing to iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch over iCloud. Beats Solo3 also have the Apple-designed chip but are on-ear headphones, and BeatsX earphones will have the W1 chip but won’t be available until February.

AirPods and Powerbeats3 include the same benefits of Apple’s W1 chip, but their specs and form factors are very different. Check out our hands-on comparison below:

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9to5toys 

W1 Stories December 13, 2016

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Here at 9to5Mac readers have a few different ways to stay up to date on our latest news. We strive to push out breaking news as fast as possible to make sure our readers are informed on the latest changes in the Apple environment, but there are some additional steps you can take to get that extra edge in the moments that matter. You may have missed your chance to get the Apple AirPods earlier, but read on to see how you can make sure you won’t miss out on any other future events…

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W1 Stories September 15, 2016

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Apple made a big, polarizing splash when it announced its new wireless AirPods during last week’s iPhone 7 keynote. The AirPods, which are completely devoid of any wires, were met with plenty of mixed reactions online. Whether or not you agree with the design of the AirPods is one thing, but the new W1 wireless chip, Apple’s first, is promising to bring a better overall wireless audio experience to the masses.

Unfortunately, the AirPods don’t ship until late October, so unless you’re among the few who received early review units, you’ll have to wait until the fall before you can experience the $159 wireless earphones for yourself. That said, you can still take Apple’s new wireless W1 chip for a spin, arguably the most important component of its AirPods, anyway.

The W1 wireless chip is not only embedded in Apple’s AirPods, you’ll find the same chip tucked away in several pairs of new Beats-branded headphones as well. The just-released Beats Solo3 On-Ear Wireless Headphones, for instance, have the distinction of being the first product to hit the market with a W1 chip nestled inside. As such, we felt that it was only right to provide you with a hands-on look at this compelling new wireless headphone option. expand full story

W1 Stories September 12, 2016

AAPL: 105.44

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Update: I’d been under the impression that the W1 chip in AirPods required matching tech in the iPhone 7, but it turns out this isn’t the case, and the chip can perform its pairing and power-saving magic with older devices too. That only underlines my desire to see Apple license the chip.

Of all the things that Apple announced during the iPhone 7 launch, the W1 chip actually impressed me most. I’d guessed that Apple would be including something like this, suggesting beforehand that the tech might solve three problems with Bluetooth audio.

First, fast and rock-solid pairing. First-time pairing should be quick and painless, and once headphones have been paired to a particular iPhone, they should instantly re-pair next time they are used. No more of the ‘will they or won’t they?’ question familiar to current-generation Bluetooth products.

Second, the connection too should be ultra-reliable. No random cutouts that interrupt the audio stream. Even half a second’s stuttering quickly becomes really annoying when listening to music.

Third, the power efficiency should be better than current low-energy Bluetooth, so charging headphones becomes a weekly thing for the average user, not something we have to do every few days.

Apple still hasn’t revealed much detail about the W1 chip, but it definitely addresses at least two out of the issues, and probably all three …

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