You've...never seen an iFixit teardown before? Much like discovering the alt-text of XKCD years after you started reading it, you've got some back catalog to catch up on.
And if you ever get the DIY itch, they'll sell you every tool they use. Decent quality kit, too.
(EDIT: and to those of today's 10,000 with regards to XKCD, I am so, so sorry. Enjoy the rest of your non-productive day!)
Wow! I didn't know about this until right now
Bluetooth 5 does not help you here at all.
Stereo audio is still done over Bluetooth classic which has not been updated since version 2.1
source: i work on bluetooth
Conversely, when I power on the microwave within a few seconds audio will cut out repeatedly until it's unlistenable with the phone in my pocket if I'm anywhere in the kitchen. I'm not sure of a workaround and I'm sure if this was common I'd find them unusable.
I feel like there are a few times when walking around a busy place I get what you're talking about. Thankfully, it's not a common scenario for me.
I suppose AirPods, with that price tag, must be much better.
I've heard anecdotally that the problem is not only interference, but physical surroundings: http://www.iphonehacks.com/2018/04/heres-why-your-airpods-or...
I haven't really had problems downtown Toronto. I have had the odd blip, but no real cutting out or anything like that.
I'm in Liberty Village where I never notice any issues and bus from there, up past King/Shaw, Queen/Ossington, Dundas/Ossington to Ossington Station. I debark at Sherbourne/Bloor and walk to Jarvis/Bloor. I think that stretch on Bloor is the only time I notice blips.
Last weekend I rode the King streetcar to Peter and walked north to Queen and didn't have any issues there, either.
Might be some hotspots around town, though.
EDIT: I'm referring to the BT 5 protocol in general, and not specifically AirPods. I've tried a few devices where I've experienced this.
I keep my phone in my right pocket, but my bluetooth headphones have the transmitter on the left side. Even in my suburban backyard (mowing the lawn), they'll occasionally cut out when my body interferes too much. Every now and then, it'll get bad enough that I'll move my phone to my other pocket.
So the comment below about MTA signals might be on to something...
contains essentially the same content, and it did fine.
In 5-10 years we will have 10s of million dead and useless AirPods due to degraded and broken batteries. So much unnecessary e-waste!
The green thing is not to expect a company like Apple to merely add batteries, but to not consume as much, and to get stuff that works long term and is not prone to such improvements (e.g. a good old pair of high quality wired cans you keep for decades). Of course they keep removing stuff like the headphones jack too. In my idea government, that move would incur a hefty environmental fine by itself.
The "Apple is Green" etc, is environment-theater, as is "recycling".
Earbuds aren't cell phones—there's not a lot you can add. You can improve audio quality but that happens at a slow pace, and much of the public doesn't care.
I don't think all that many people would rush to replace a $200 product after two years if the original had a longer usable life.
I can think of enough stuff. New Bluetooth standards, longer lasting charge, better audio drivers, health monitoring, embedded connection-free translation (babelfish-like), eSIM and calling/receiving directly from the AirPods (like you can do from the Apple Watch, but using Siri for the dialing). And those are just off the top of my head.
Heck, just the same model available in black too, would make tons of people replace their AirPods 3-4 years after they got them.
Most of these hinge on the earbuds becoming more self-sufficient computing devices, rather than pure audio devices. I think we're a long way off from that becoming practical, because battery tech is improving at too slow a pace.
Let's consider phones 16 years ago and today (or watches, for that matter).
> Embedded connection-free translation (babelfish-like), eSIM and calling/receiving directly from the AirPods
This all fundamentally requires a powerful computer in the Airpods, which in turn fundamentally requires a longer laster battery. Apple may try to roll them out over time, but they can't begin the rollout until battery technology fundamentally improves, which it isn't doing in the near future short of some breakthrough.
The one big improvement I could see them doing more near-term is health monitoring, though I'm not sure what it would add compared to the watch, which is more likely to be always on your person. Bluetooth upgrades and audio drivers are "easy" (relatively), but hard to sell to consumers by themselves.
It'd be good to see a "10,000,000 AirPods is the equivalent of" various other things.
How many AirPods would you need to recycle to have enough metal / plastic / battery material to build an electric car, for example.
A pair of Airpods and their case weigh 46 g. And the curb weight of the standard Tesla 3 is 1611 kg (all numbers from wikipedia)
So you would need 35022 sets of Airpods just to make up the mass of a Tesla 3, and you would have to recycle at least that many Airpods (likely far more) to get enough material to manufacture a Tesla 3
I wouldn't be surprised if it took more than 100000 sets of airpods to get enough battery and metal for a car. With lots of extra leftover plastic.
It isn't a foregone conclusion that wireless earbuds would become popular. The wire isn't all that annoying, and going wireless is much more expensive and requires recharging.
Consider also the alternate "neckbud" solution, which removes the most annoying wire while also leaving more space for a longer (and possible to remove) battery. Without the AirPods, maybe those would have become the standard.
Apple removing the headphone jack from the iPhone undoubtably helped, too.
But yes, the entire category is environmentally questionable. Although, I'm not clear that they are all truly impossible to repair like the Airpods are.
Inductive charging is only about 60% efficient, so in theory you only get 398*0.6=238.8mAh of charge, which is a little bit more than a single full recharge of 2x93mAh earbuds.
If it's the combination of non-repairability and price that bothers you, a 6x price warp sure softens the blow.
interesting that these knockoffs claim Bluetooth 5.
I bought an LTE iPad a couple of years ago, and had been using Sony Bluetooth headphones for some time for conference calls and such. I was at PyCon and my headphones crapped out on me - since I use them for work daily, my employer was reimbursing me anyhow and I decided to go ahead and splurge on AirPods.
WOW. Just wow. I found myself pairing them to my iPad and purposefully leaving it uncovered in my backpack while walking around so I could talk to Siri. I had a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge at the time, and while I was very happy with it, I went out the next week and bought an iPhone X primarily so I'd be able to access Siri from my AirPods more easily and without having to leave the cover off my iPad.
I've since upgraded my iPad to an 11" iPad Pro - and all because of the AirPods, honestly. I've spent almost $3k in total because of them, and am happy with that.
I am quite concerned about these all ending up in landfills due to battery degradation. Apple claims it can "recycle" them, but that's legitimately hard to believe.
I would not feel morally comfortable owning one of these.
It would do a lot to put my mind at ease if Apple produced a similar video showing how AirPods get torn down, although it's early enough in their history that Apple is probably just throwing expired AirPods in a shipping container to wait until the numbers make sense.
(Apple accepts all their old products back for recycling; I take most of my used electronics to Staples, but Apple stuff always goes back to Apple, as I assume they can do the best job of getting every ounce of meat out of the pig.)
> "Materials are manually and mechanically disassembled and shredded into commodity-sized fractions of metals, plastics, and glass," John Yeider, Apple's recycling program manager, wrote under a heading called "Takeback Program Report" in a 2013 report to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. "All hard drives are shredded in confetti-sized pieces. The pieces are then sorted into commodities grade materials. After sorting, the materials are sold and used for production stock in new products. No reuse. No parts harvesting. No resale."
As the article points out recycling should be a last resort (after reuse). Apple is deliberately obstructive of that.
Laptops I can often buy new and resell to recoup a significant part of the original cost...my first few Apple laptops were purchased used. iPods have been repurposed as; low-tier gym music players, sound machines for a baby, full time car music bulk playback.
Due to generally higher build quality, they seem to last longer and being almost a commodity (a relatively small number of SKUs and popular), it's easy to find replacement/new parts many years later.
I did try and repurpose my old Nexus One phone for a RaspberryPi project, but the screen/touchscreen died.
On the day of the iPad Mini announcement last week, my iPad spontaneously threw itself off the bed in a fit of grief and shattered on my concrete floor. Battery is a bit old but the logic board is perfectly okay; Apple is just gonna shred it into confetti.
My disagreement is that for multiple reasons (build quality, longevity, and small number of popular SKUs), which are because of Apple, there is a much larger secondhand market than most tech products or even non-tech products in general. This also means I can more easily find replacement parts by buying things like your broken iPad on ebay/craigslist.
I also think it sucks Apple gets dinged for their Takeback program. I do have a problem with things that make the consumer feel good without actually materially improving anything and with situations where companies pressure cities to build half-hearted recycling programs when companies should accept more of a burden.
I have a young kid and their toys burn through batteries. My wife has battery recycling at work. After giving up nagging her to take them I remembered Best Buy has a prominent display for electronics recycling. After keeping used batteries in my car for a few weeks I finally stopped by one and found it explicitly did not accept alkaline batteries. I can't imagine the hoops needed to acceptably dispose of rechargeable headphones or laptops.
Sure, these programs make some people feel a little better about consuming these things, but after decades of this I haven't seen any of this consumer energy going to anything more productive. Often, it's the city/waste collection taking the burden instead of the company that produced it.
I generally operate under the belief that companies avoid outright lying, particularly major ones like Apple. But, they may be stretching the truth, such as by salvaging a neglible amount of material and then chucking the rest. I'm not seeing a clear process on how they could do more than that.
Also, even if Apple is able to extract and reuse the metals or some such, the complete inability to swap out the batteries without destroying the device, combined with reports that battery capacity reaches unusable levels within a couple years, is of great concern.
It's LifeHacker, consider the source:
"In a phone conversation, an Apple spokesperson confirmed that these AirPods are then distributed to recyclers who specialize in electronic waste along with instructions on how to break apart the components."
So, nothing like Daisy. I sadly don't find this encouraging.
With all possible respect, this is terrible logic. Apple recycles iPhones, but that doesn't mean you can throw iPhones in your household recycling.
Putting non-recyclables into the recycling can contaminate and ruin the entire load. As a general rule, if you're not sure whether something can be recycled, you should err on the side of not recycling it. https://www.vox.com/videos/2019/3/12/18252188/recycling-wron...
I used to be of the opinion that as long as you recycled, everything was just fine, but the recent recycling horror stories about sorting and costs have made me more reconsider that. Apple has (insofar as I can tell) an excellent recycling program, but realistically speaking, is a good recycling program enough? I don't know how it balances against:
A) increased consumption rates (your airpods are basically guaranteed to need replacing in 2 years max).
B) the limited number of consumers that are actually going to the trouble to send airpods back in to get recycled instead of throwing them in the garbage bin.
This is something I'd be interested in reading more about.