Apple’s wireless earphones, AirPods, are finally available to consumers. Ever since their unveiling in September, the AirPods have been eagerly anticipated but repeatedly delayed.
However, if you are thinking about getting a pair, you need to keep in mind the earphones are probably irreparable. iFixit, a website known for dismantling smartphones and accessories down to their basic components has torn down the AirPods and found the earphones are not just irreparable, but that they may also be unrecyclable — going against the Apple tradition of creating devices that don’t end up as e-waste.
iFixit has given AirPods a reparability score of zero, a score it has given to very few devices in the past. It also claims the AirPods are poorly constructed — accessing any component of the device is impossible without destroying its outer casing. The reliance on glue to hold together the internal components is also an obstacle in repairing the earphones.
“As we begin to pull out the boards, cables, and other bits, we're reminded of a certain wearable repair nightmare. If jamming complex components into a small form factor and sealing it with a copious amount of glue were a game, Apple would be winning ... What remains in the earbud is a hot mess of cables and adhesive,” iFixit said.
The website also found gaps in soldering, something that Apple was particular not to have in its earlier products. From all indications, it seems the earphones were rushed to market rather than being properly worked on. Apple has said it will offer new replacement AirPods for $99 if you lose your pair, but in case you damage them, the only alternative seems to be purchasing new ones.
In case you are thinking about an alternative, you can still get a 3.5-mm adapter and use the iPhone 7/7 Plus with regular headphones.