Apple’s AirPods are finally available for purchase today after months of delays, according to an article titled “Apple AirPods available today for you to lose tomorrow” by Ashlee Clark Thompson for the tech news site CNET.
Apple announced the AirPods with the release of the iPhone 7 in September. Apple removed the 3.5 mm headphone jack, a standard fixture on many electronic devices for over 50 years, with the iPhone 7.
Users can still connect the iPhone 7 to wired headphones or other devices that provide audio with the 30-pin dock connector known as the Lightning connector, or they can now use Apple’s Bluetooth wireless headphones, the AirPods.
It’s not clear exactly why Apple delayed the release of the AirPods, but the company recently suggested they were still ironing out some last minute kinks.
“We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready,” Apple told CNET in October, “and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers.”
When Apple initially announced that it was replacing the 3.5 mm headphone jack with the AirPods option, they faced criticism from many users who felt the move was a ploy to push people to by the relatively expensive accessory for the new phone to drive up profits.
— CNET (@CNET) December 13, 2016
AirPods retail for $159 and, as many have critics have noted, almost seem specifically designed to be lost. A cheap pair of standard headphones, on the other hand, can be purchased for a couple of bucks.
“Get ready to lose those expensive wireless AirPods,” Andrew Liptak quipped in an article for The Verge back in September, soon after Apple announced the new product.
“Apple just unveiled their new wireless AirPods, which they’re touting as the next breakthrough when it comes to listening to things on your phone. There’s one problem: you’re going to lose them,” Liptak continued.
“You’ll be out on a run, listening to your favorite song, and one is going to fly out. It’ll roll down a drain, or get stepped on by another runner. A squirrel will steal it and taunt you from out of reach.”
Business Insider‘s Julie Bort also reported on the controversy over the AirPods in a September article titled “People are already complaining about Apple’s new AirPods earbuds.”
“[P]eople on Twitter have noticed a few potential flaws with the AirPods,” Bort writes. “They use Apple’s classic earpiece design that can cause the earbuds to falls out of people’s ears, especially during exercise.”
The earpieces Apple designed for their wired headphones with earlier iPhone models were notorious for falling out. A 2015 Huffington Post editorial on the design flaws of Apple’s headphones ran with the headline “5 Reasons Apple Headphones Are The Actual Worst.” The tendency to fall out was the third reason listed. The tendency to break and “sound spill” were other big reasons.
“Apple seems to realize this, because it also introduced a line of Beats wireless headphones that uses the same chip, including an updated pair of Beats designed for exercise,” Bort continues. “So it looks as though Apple’s options are a bud that tends to fall out or the Beats over-the-ear headphones.”
While the pricing of the AirPods and the possibility of losing them has raised some hackles, there are several potential positives that could come from the new wireless headphones.
“AirPods sound as if they have a bunch of amazing technology like noise-cancellation and a new wireless chip that Apple says solves all the things that people hate about using wireless earbuds,” Bort notes. “They know when you are using them, and they just connect — no fuss, no mess.”
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 13, 2016
The AirPods are available for purchase online today and will go on sale at Apple stores next week, according to CNET. However, there are reports that AirPods are already on back order for online purchase, and could take up to four weeks to ship.
[Featured Image by Stephen Lam/Getty Images]