Know how your current iPhone performance gets crappier when a new version has been released? It’s the same with AirPods, which are designed to die, and the Washington Post found it’s basically impossible to fix them.
Apple’s AirPods have been a longer-lasting symbol of tech industry ostentatiousness than was the faddish Google Glass, but they’re not actually longer-lasting. In fact, they die in about two years, and cannot be fixed, according to a Washington Post examination wherein an AirPod-owning reporter took his suddenly non-functioning AirPods to an Apple store Genius.
“The employee said there were lots of people like me, with $159 AirPods purchased in 2016 and 2017 that now can’t hold a charge,” the Post said. “But even though Apple promises ‘battery service,’ the store had no way to fix my AirPods.”
The Post found that despite the hefty $159 price, the AirPods’ rechargeable battery simply stops being able to take a charge in as little as two years (or roughly however long it takes Apple to introduce the next-gen version). Third-party repair site iFixit gives the latest AirPods a repairability score of 0 out of 10.
There are some repair options, according to the Post, but none of them good: AppleCare+ for Headphones is available for $29, but the coverage only lasts for two years. And honestly what rubicon have we crossed here, insurance for headphones? You can also have Apple replace them for $49 a stick ($98 altogether, which is nearly the price of a new set, and Apple is obviously daring you to buy a new pair.)
And this gets to the massive environmental problem of AirPods. As Vice noted earlier this year, AirPOds cannot be recyled “because there’s no safe way to separate the lithium-ion battery from the plastic shell.” So AirPods aren’t just a symbol of disposable wealth, they’re designed to be disposable, and yet another e-waste menace the tech industry won’t acknowledge that it has.
Image: pestoverde via Flickr