The AppleVis community has voted the first generation AirPods the winner of its World Cup of the Decade, beating Apple Pay by 55% to 45% in the final.
Whilst Apple's AirPods weren't the first truly wireless earphones, the combination of ease of use; solid audio performance; long battery life; good call quality; and a price point that compares well with competitors, make them one of Apple's most ground-breaking products of recent years.
Three years on from their launch - and with the releases in 2019 of second generation AirPods and AirPods Pro - AirPods are more popular than ever, and it is no surprise that they were the winners of our World Cup.
An honorable mention must go to Apple Pay, as gaining a place in the final of our World Cup demonstrates how life-changing it has been for blind users since its launch in 2014.
Apple Pay is a contactless payment service that allows Apple devices to be used to make payments. Available on the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac, Apple Pay is widely accepted in more than four dozen countries and regions around the world. For blind and low vision users, the added value provided by not needing to recognize bank notes, coins or bank cards when making payments is significant, as evidenced by its performance in our World Cup.
Our World Cup was contested by what we believe to have been the 16 most significant Apple products launched since 2010. The selection process was completely subjective, with the final list made up of hardware, software, and services. With only 16 qualifiers, there were some notable omissions - there was no desktop Mac, only one Apple Watch, no standalone software products, no Apple TV or iPod touch, no Touch ID or Face ID, and no Beats headphones or speakers. You might also find your own favorite iPhone or MacBook failed to make the cut.
The tournament took place over four days beginning December 27, 2019, with members of the community voting in one round of matches each day. Each round consisted of pairs of products competing in a knockout format, with the winners progressing to the next round. The pairings were drawn at random, which resulted in interesting match-ups and tough choices for voters at each stage.
Read on to discover which products qualified for our World Cup, and to view the results of each round of voting.
As mentioned above, the qualifiers were what we believe to have been the most significant new Apple products of the past decade, in the context of the times they were released or their significance in the evolution of a product line. For example, the iPhone 11 can objectively be considered the most advanced iPhone of the decade, but earlier models may have provided a comparatively greater advancement when released. As such, we encouraged everybody to consider this when casting their votes.
Here are the 16 Apple products which made it to the first round of our World Cup:
- AirPods (2016)
- Apple Music (2015)
- Apple Pay (2014)
- Apple Watch Series 3 (2017)
- iOS 7 (2013)
- iPad (2010)
- iPad Air (2013)
- iPad Pro (2018)
- iPadOS (2019)
- iPhone 4 (2010)
- iPhone 6 Plus (2014)
- iPhone 8 (2017)
- iPhone X (2017)
- MacBook Air (2013)
- MacBook Pro (2015)
- MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2016)
Round 1 Results
- The first generation AirPods beat the iPhone X, 55% to 45%
- The Series 3 Apple Watch beat the iPhone 6 Plus, 58% to 42%
- The first generation iPad beat the 2013 MacBook Air, 62% to 38%
- The iPhone 8 beat iOS 7, 56% to 44%
- Apple Pay beat the 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, 84% to 16%
- The 2013 iPad Air beat the 2015 MacBook Pro, 54% to 46%
- Apple Music beat the 2018 iPad Pro, 65% to 35%
- The iPhone 4 beat iPadOS, 63% to 37%
Quarter Final Results
- Apple Music beat the first generation iPad, 51% to 49%
- Apple Pay beat the iPhone 4, 63% to 37%
- The Series 3 Apple Watch beat the 2013 iPad Air, 71% to 29%
- The first generation AirPods beat the iPhone 8, 66% to 34%
Semi Final Results
- The first generation AirPods beat Apple Music, 64% to 36%
- Apple Pay beat the Series 3 Apple Watch, 64% to 36%
- The first generation AirPods beat Apple Pay, 55% to 45%
We hope that you found our World Cup of the Decade entertaining. It has certainly been interesting - and at times surprising - to see which products have won and lost their matches.
Please share your thoughts on the results by posting a comment below.
We are already thinking ahead to what products might feature in our next World Cup of the Decade in 10 years time. In the meantime, we wish you all the best for the New Year and look forward to you joining us in 2020, for what will be our community's 10th birthday year!