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Would Steve Jobs approve of AirPods?


Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset Version 1.0

In 2007, Steve Jobs worked very closely with Apple’s Industrial Design Team to produce the Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset. It cost £99 and featured automatic paring with the iPhone. It originally shipped with a travel cable and dual dock, both of which allowed it to be simultaneously charged along with your iPhone. By July, 2008 Apple stopped bundling the dual dock with the headset and dropped the price to £79 as manufacturing cost subsided.

The body was made of anodized aluminium and looked like a small black rod with a glossy surface crossed by fine lines. The headset has an integrated lithium-ion battery delivering up to 5.5 hours of talk time and up to 72 hours of standby time.

As Apple moved away from free docking systems and on to the iconic Apple 3o-pin cable, Apple ultimately cancelled the product as other docking options were not acceptable. Steve liked the product so much he used it past the point when Apple cancelled the product. However, it was clear the world was not ready for wireless headset in 2008 as the sound quality and range was less than acceptable. The Bluetooth specification at the time was based around a much lower data rate and music fidelity issues made it a phone-talk only device. It would take almost 8 years for the technology and the Bluetooth specifications catch up to consumer expectations.

The device won a number of design awards including the coveted Red Dot award [1].

AirPods are more advanced from the original Bluetooth Headset than the iPhone 7 is from the iPhone 1 [2]. Would Steve approve? Based on the past I think it is reasonable to say yes.

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