You've probably noticed the newest status symbol, prominent on social media, people talking with them in, talking about how they just got some, or how they lost one of them…I'm referring to Apple AirPods of course.
It's funny, when first announced everyone talked shit and said AirPods looked stupid and wouldn't amount to anything. Two years later, Apple released a second generation and have struggled to keep up with demand from the very beginning. They are that popular. The world of minimal wires is here. This streamlined new world comes with some caveats though.
There is something that doesn't seem to get much attention, that being the battery degradation. After about 2 years, my AirPods die really fast. When talking on the phone, they last about 20 minutes and just die (they don't even play the warning tone). General music listening is about an hour now, (down from the 5 hours they lasted when new). With this experience, I've grown reluctant to purchase future generations of AirPods.
To those considering purchasing first generation AirPods on sites like eBay, be wary. Yes you will most likely receive authentic AirPods, but they could potentially be degraded and ultimately an underwelming experience and waste of money.
Is This All In The Plan?
Buried deep on Apples website is information pertaining to upgrade cycles. They believe the ideal upgrade cycle for the iPhone is 2 years. However, iPhones last a lot longer than 2 years. That became apparent in 2018 when Apple stopped disclosing iPhone sales numbers…meaning the smartphone market is saturated and people don't upgrade every 1-2 years. The only way around that would be to manufacture iPhones that aren't usable after 2 years.
The AirPods 2 year life span could be purposeful to get customers to keep upgrading. The abrupt dying experienced with mine could also be a software tactic. Which isn't out of the realm of possibility; Apple did come under fire for slowing iPhones on purpose in 2018.
Are They Worth The Cost?
I don't think anyone really considers the battery situation when they buy them. When I got my AirPods, one of the first questions which went through my mind was "I wonder how the batteries will hold up". This was as I was examining the size and compactness. The answer to my question: about 2 years. Is a wireless audio lifestyle worth $149.50 per year? It's ultimately up to you. I will probably buy a second generation pair mainly because I've grown accustomed to the wireless headphones life. Wired EarPods are now a hassle.