Apple described its switch to wireless earbuds as courageous – phrasing that the internet has mockingly ran wild with
After months-long delays, Apple’s wireless earbuds, the AirPods, are finally ready for holiday shipping.
The AirPods are available online for $159, allowing for 4 weeks (free) shipping since they’re been selling so quickly. They will be sold in stores beginning next week, across Apple outlet, resellers, and “select carriers,” the latter of whom have not yet been named.
Specifically tailored for the iPhone 7, which has lost its headphone jack to make way for the AirPods, Apple has nonetheless made the devices compatible with all other relevant sound-capable products through iCloud, as well as Siri.
The wireless devices, of course, require regular charging. Apple is heavily advertising that their “ultra-low power” W1 chip provides one five-hour charge at a time, and about five times that when paired with their custom charging case. Average recharge time, according to Yahoo Finance, is 15 minutes. The W1 also features in other audio products, like the wireless BeatsX headset to be released in February.
Still, the fact that AirPods require a charge at all and are meant to become standard in this setup has prompted complaints. That, coupled by the launch delay, has provided wags with plenty of material to snark over.
Due to exceptional demand, Apple is limiting AirBud purchases to one per customer. You will be able to buy a second earphone in March 2017
— Pinboard (@Pinboard) December 13, 2016
“We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers,” Apple told reporters in October. Technical problems had to be resolved, according to The Wall Street Journal, like playback synchronization and microphone quality, and it seems that the manufacturing line wasn’t ready in time to go into mass production.
Apple also hasn’t been helped by the fact it described its switch to wireless earbuds as courageous – phrasing that the internet mockingly ran wild with – and that there are cheaper alternatives for people who just want a headset without the tangled up, mangled up knots.
Some users might miss those knots, though, since there’s no way to connect the devices together and hang them around your neck when not in use. Unless you improvise a DIY solution, they either go in their case or a pocket. While there’s utility in being able to swap out one headphone to keep the other ear free, there’s also concern that the design isn’t going to be able to stay in place when people are moving, whether running to catch a train or in a 5K. This isn’t just an issue for Apple, but other smartphone manufacturers like Samsung and Motorola.