The AirPod scandal is taking the world by storm. In a world where we have access to information and technologies that our ancestors could have only dreamed of, there are still some scandals in the tech world that make you want to shake your fist and scream out into the night. Even worse is a scandal that is happening underneath our noses, yet few (if any) of us know that it is actually occurring.
But let’s pause and take one step back.
Have you ever gotten the sense that it’s time to move on from a product that you know and love? It’s not like the product is deeply flawed or can’t provide even some semblance of value in your day-to-day life. It’s just the fact that the product is missing that one key feature.
It is the one that would make your life so much easier. Above it, all it is such an obvious feature that the company should have thought to include it, right?
Most often, the answer is no.
For whatever reason, large corporations—particularly the largest corporations—decide in their infinite wisdom to remove some features that could make their users’ lives so much easier.
Sometimes it is due to a misunderstanding of a customer need. A company doesn’t truly understand how their customers and users actually use their product. Their vision of customer behavior and actual behavior are extremely out of whack, and because of this, they don’t include or omit features that don’t appeal to their customer base.
Other times, it is simply due to money. The company knows that their customer wants a certain feature in a product or service, yet it refuses to add the feature due to costs. Yes, companies do need to mind their budgets and ensure that they can stay in business. Even if a feature would be revolutionary and would totally satisfy customers, they refuse to include it purely due to finances.
Whatever the case may be, it can sometimes be extremely frustrating as a consumer. It can be so annoying that it makes you question your relationship with a company—even one that you love.
It makes you want to say goodbye to that company. Even a company as large and as successful as Apple.
The AirPod Scandal: My Story
I recently encountered the Apple AirPod scandal when I was waiting to take off on a long flight. I sat down in my seat and was preparing to record a video on my iPhone. Before I clicked record, the first bad news arrived.
The plane ran out of champagne.
Okay, not a big deal. These things happen.
The worse news came when I actually started recording video on my iPhone. I had both of my AirPods in my ears. Like any normal person, I was assuming that they were going to record my voice as I spoke into my phone’s camera. It seemed to have worked before, so why wouldn’t it work this time?
It turns out that I had been wrong all along. AirPods, in fact, do not pick up the sound of your voice when you are recording video on your iPhone.
It is so easy to make this assumption. AirPods are one of the coolest innovations from Apple in many years. Not only do they generally make your life easier, but they are technologically advanced. You can access an artificial intelligence system simply by talking. They even look stylish and are less constraining than those traditional wired headphones. But for a creator like me, the inability to record audio with your AirPods is, to put it bluntly, shocking. With all of the technological horsepower within each AirPod, it is simply crazy that you cannot speak into your AirPods while recording a video and have that audio stored on your iPhone.
Yet, this is the reality. All this time I had been recording hundreds of videos on my iPhone thinking that audio was being recorded in my AirPods. Instead, I should have noticed that the audio for some of my videos was great when I was close to my phone and not so great when I was further away. This was my phone telling me that the phone microphone, rather than my AirPods was recording audio.
Putting all of these pieces together piqued my curiosity. I’m sure you have come across videos on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook where you see people wearing their AirPods and recording video on their iPhones.
Breaking news: it’s not working. It’s not real. Their AirPods are not recording audio for these videos. Instead, it is simply their iPhone’s microphone.
This is one of the biggest scandals that we see in technology today. We are all subjected to this ignorance. Unless you take a hard look at what is actually going on under the hood, it is all too easy to assume that your AirPods are picking up your voice when you are recording video on your iPhone.
Better yet, you can see this for yourself. Start by taking out your AirPods and put them in your ears (if you haven’t already). Then pull out your iPhone. Start recording video on your iPhone and then start tapping your AirPods. If you go back and listen to your video recording, you will quickly discover that your video did not pick up the tapping sound. Obviously, this is because your AirPods did not record audio when you were shooting your video on your iPhone.
So let this be a warning. If you shoot a video for a living and think that your audio is being picked up by your AirPods, take a step back. Recognize that your AirPods aren’t special. They aren’t picking up your audio. Your iPhone is.
Taking Matters Into My Own Hands
At Dubb, my team and I specialize in helping businesses grow their brands with video. The iPhone can be a great camera to capture video. It can be used to shoot more intimate videos where a person or group of people describe their product or service. These can be awesome videos that are highly converting.
That said, these creators can’t ignore the AirPod scandal. They can’t assume that their AirPods will pick up their voices when recording video on their iPhones.
Still shocked by this absent feature, I wanted to take matters into my own hands. I decided to call the one group of people that could give me a clear explanation of why I can’t record audio on my AirPods when recording video on my iPhone.
Once I was able to get a customer support representative on the phone, I started to ask about the AirPod scandal. I explained my dilemma and my surprise that Apple didn’t offer this critical feature for creators.
I was hoping to get some answers.
While the customer support representative was very kind, she wasn’t able to give me much information. Confirming my suspicions, she simply said that recording audio with your AirPods while recording video on your iPhone isn’t a supported feature.
But that said, a new thought entered my mind. Maybe this is just a temporary problem. I can’t be the only one that wants to record audio on my AirPods while recording video on my iPhone. Apple announced that it is coming out with an updated version of its AirPods (called AirPods 2). AirPods 2 surely must include this feature, right?
Once again, incorrect. The Apple customer support representative said she wasn’t sure about whether this feature would be included.
I’m not holding my breath. We haven’t seen a mass movement on social media that is calling for Apple to take immediate action. As I said, many AirPod and iPhone users aren’t even aware that you can’t record your voice through your AirPods when shooting an iPhone video.
This blog post is (hopefully) the start of the campaign. But these things often take time. Even a company as innovative and successful as Apple won’t move as fast as a smaller company like Dubb. We will just have to wait and hope for the best.
In the meantime, some scrappy entrepreneurs have tried to fill this gap in the market. In fact, I found an app in Apple’s App Store that does allow you to record audio through your AirPods when shooting video on your iPhone. All you need to do is configure your AirPods as the mic source and start recording.
Problem, solved right? Not quite.
The app—which costs $15 by the way—records terrible sounding audio. It really can’t get much worse. It almost sounds like you are recording audio through a speakerphone. While I admire the effort to create this app, it simply isn’t adequate for professional recordings.
So right now, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. There’s really no end in sight to the AirPod scandal.
It almost makes you want to take off your AirPods and throw them off of your roof.
But let’s not kid ourselves.
Even though they aren’t perfect, we just can’t get rid of them.