back to article Not just adhesive, but alcohol-resistant adhesive: Well done, Apple. Airpods Pro repairability is a zero

iFixit, the Huntingdon Life Sciences of the tech world, has published its long-awaited teardown of the latest Apple earbuds (or, using the terminology of pro tea-leaves readers at Gartner, "earworn wearables"). The AirPods Pro autopsy revealed few surprises. Just like its predecessors, Apple's latest designer buds are …

  1. alain williams Silver badge

    Call bollocks on Apple's green credentials

    The have a about the environment on their web site. This is fantasy and should be called out as such.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Call bollocks on Apple's green credentials

      Oh, I don't know ... Seems that Apple are now selling Earthworm Wearables. Or so my slightly warped mind insists on parsing it. Jim would no doubt heartily approve.

    2. N2 Silver badge

      Re: Call bollocks on Apple's green credentials

      Yep, agree entirely.

      Apples so called 'green credentials' are just words of fantasy like Facebook and privacy, just utter shyte.

    3. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: Call bollocks on Apple's green credentials

      No product-specific report on AirPods at that site. I guess the takaway is that if you don't think you can pass the Purity test, don't bother taking it

    4. bpfh Silver badge

      Re: Call bollocks on Apple's green credentials

      You will note that AirPods don’t have an entry in their environment report card on that page...

    5. bob_mitchell

      Re: Call bollocks on Apple's green credentials

      Yes, and rightly so.

      Apple have been making themselves look wonderful in the public eye for decades now, have you seen the condition of the workers in their factories? They're frequently getting cancer and other illnesses, and they're discarded when they're of no use. Let them enjoy their trillions, it'll all come tumbling down.

  2. John Robson Silver badge

    Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

    Although I still find it odd that 'hearing aid' style receivers aren't more common. They are perfect for all day wear, and with different ends can either be completely open, so you can hear the world as normal, or completely closed (though you obviously pay for the custom fit).

    There is even a set of standard replaceable and rechargeable battery options available, and the slight additional physical volume would probably allow for both battery options...

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

      I find it odd that they're a thing in the first place. There's no way for them to remain in place unless you cover them with glue, they're the epitome of unusability. Heading aids have a strap that goes around your earflapthingy, headphones sit on your head, for a reason - to hold the damn things in place.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

        For those people whose ears they fit - they are actually pretty stable in place. They hook behind the 'tragus' (the flappy bit just in front of the ear canal entrance.

        If your ears aren't 'apple approved' dimensions... then yes, they're going to fail.

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

          If your ears aren't 'apple approved' dimensions... then yes, they're going to fail.

          That would be MY ears. I've tried other earbuds of the same configuration (except they were discount-store wired ones). The only earbuds that work for me are the straight-in ones with the rubber tips.

          But seriously, $250 for tiny (and maybe tinny) earbuds that are readily lost or turned into cat-toys (not by YOUR choice) that can't be repaired? I buy something like that, they better be selling at 1/100 of that price. But then again I'm not an AppleDrone(tm).

          1. Richard Cranium

            I spot a business opportunity...

            I too have ears that don't conform to the standard, earbuds wired or not, they just don't stay put, including those with interchangeable rubber adapters to fit different ear canal dimensions. While I'd not consider spending $250 on such things, especially at Apple, for those that might how about manufacturing inert clones? Just a lump of plastic, same size, colour and shape. A potential buyer could buy one just to do a "does it stay in place" test.

            And some might buy two so they can walk around in public looking the twats that have wasted $250 on a veblen good - bit like having a fake Rolex.

            1. Nolveys Silver badge
              Paris Hilton

              Re: I spot a business opportunity...

              walk around in public looking the twats

              So that's what those are! I thought it was some new fad where people walk around in public after having their ears ejaculated in.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I spot a business opportunity...

                So that's what those are! I thought it was some new fad where people walk around in public after having their ears ejaculated in.

                Come 'ere, you!

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I spot a business opportunity...

                I must say that those earwaxpods look less twatty than my cheap ones, which actually stick out and make me look like a twat (I am) with stubby antennas out of my ears....

              3. Slef

                Re: I spot a business opportunity...

                Come again! (there are two of em)

          2. teknopaul Silver badge

            Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

            We need a statutory obligation to publish lifetime of a gadget.

            Lifetime being time gadget complies with specs such as duration of a charge. So you can only claim lifetime of the battery when new as a feature if its replaceable.

          3. Wilseus

            Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

            "That would be MY ears. I've tried other earbuds of the same configuration (except they were discount-store wired ones). The only earbuds that work for me are the straight-in ones with the rubber tips."

            That's me too! I thought I was the only person in the world with this problem, not that I give a crap about not being compatible with Apple's overpriced trinkets.

        2. the Jim bloke Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

          If your ears aren't 'apple approved' dimensions... then yes, they're going to fail.

          Your ears are wrong.

      2. Sam Jelfs

        Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

        BTE hearing aids do, CICs are Completely in Canal, and as the name suggests. have no external securing...

    2. macjules Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

      Very wary of new Apple kit post-Catalinastrophe but a fellow freelancer just bought a set of the AirPods and claims that they are the first decent set of earphone he has ever found, and they fit perfectly.

      Beer for the brilliant "Huntingdon Life Sciences of the tech world"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

        At $250, what *other* $250 earphones was he trying? I mean, they have been sold and around for decades, but I seriously doubt this is not a comparison on a free $1 set and a $250 set!

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

          At $250, what *other* $250 earphones was he trying? I mean, they have been sold and around for decades, but I seriously doubt this is not a comparison on a free $1 set and a $250 set!

          TBH, most of the 'expensive' stuff has been for badging (like the garbage with the 'dre' name attached), nothing at all for the quality. I've got a $30 set of Philips over-ear phones that are superior by far to most other stuff out there, especially to stuff over $200. I've got quite decent $5 ear buds as well which out perform the few more expensive ones I've tried.

          It's like the Denon cables or whoever makes the $10,000 patch cables, marketing to stupid people too embarrassed to admit they were had. Probably the only decent premium phones ever made were the "Motorhead Bomber" ones, but I've not been fortunate enough to get my hands on some for a good testing.

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

        the Huntingdon Life Sciences of the tech world,

        Don't give Fanbios ideas! They'll be demonstrating and raiding iFixit HQ to liberate Apple things destined for heinous procedures

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

          Well, they DO experiment on them and perform vivisections on live Apples WITHOUT aesthetic!!!

          1. Alister Silver badge

            Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

            perform vivisections on live Apples WITHOUT aesthetic!!!

            I presume you meant anaesthetic, but you're right, Apple has no aesthetic...

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Removable stem seems like a reasonable suggestion...

              Oh rollocks! Damned spilling chucker!

  3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Auricle! That's my word for the day. The external flappy bit of the ear.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Surely the word of the day is "flappy bit". As used on 3 of the 4 posts above this one (until someone else posts of course...).

      1. dajames Silver badge

        Surely the word of the day is "flappy bit".

        Yeah ... except that it's ... you know ... actually two words.

    2. Rustbucket

      I've more frequently heard it called the Pinna, but apparently both work.

      1. Dolvaran

        The pinna is the whole ear (including the 'flappy bit').

  4. Warm Braw Silver badge

    So much for "design"

    The whole point of design is not just to make something look good, but to better serve its purpose.

    On second thoughts, I take that back. Making high-margin, short-lived items with externalised disposal costs is the purpose...

    1. simonlb Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: So much for "design"

      I can get the same look as the Fanbois who wear these shonky ear pods by bending two cotton buds in half and ramming one into each ear. I still look just as stupid, but they probably sound just as good as the Apple gear so who cares?

      1. iron Silver badge

        Re: So much for "design"

        Probably sounds better than headphones designed by a company that thought buying Beats was a good idea.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So much for "design"

          Probably sounds better than headphones designed by a company that thought buying Beats was a good idea.

          My understanding is that Beats headphones are only good for listening to hip-hop anyway (as expected from a product designed at the behest of a rapper).

          1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: So much for "design"

            Actually, I think the above mentioned bent cotton buds would be better for listening to hip-hop.. they would improve the quality 100%.

            1. Strahd Ivarius
              Trollface

              Re: So much for "design"

              So it is still at a 0 value, then?

            2. Nolveys Silver badge
              Windows

              Re: So much for "design"

              I usually refer to it as "rap", with a silent "c".

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So much for "design"

            I first heard of Beats a few years ago when I bought a HP Slate tablet a few years ago. Couldn't hear any difference, then realised that just enabling it in software wouldn't make it work - I needed to have the hardware as well. Quick look at Amazon - the cheapest set was about 3x what I paid for the tablet!

            Needless to say, didn't buy a set.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: So much for "design"

          They didn't buy Beats for their sound quality. They bought them to bring another class of idiot sucker^W consumer into the Apple "family".

      2. Andre Carneiro

        Re: So much for "design"

        Actually the sound quality is very good. For all your criticism (just or otherwise), this is not one they deserve.

        1. tin 2

          Re: So much for "design"

          Agree completely. They do sound very good, there are many issues to pick holes in but the sound quality is not one of them.

        2. InsaneGeek

          Re: So much for "design"

          They sound OK, better than average but they are not "very good". Everything is subjective in audio, but they are just like Bose speakers. Excellent marketing, better audio than cheap but excessively overpriced compared to competition in similar price range. I can't remember seeing Beats being in any top audio reviews for their quality and mainly see them consistently being beat out in the lists.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So much for "design"

          I think the problem with most Anti-apple haters (I'm one of them) is that they're not objective. Yes, their products are grossly overpriced, yes, they appeal shamelessly to this sick streak in human nature that makes people look down at others, because they can't / won't afford an X price, yes, they're designed, I'm sure on purpose, to make them unrepairable, but generally, people who use their apples, are more than "just happy" with the quality (albeit for rather short time). So, it's rather ridiculous to claim these sound "probably tinny", when I reckon, they probably sound very good (and a couple of reviews support that). I don't think they sound so good to justify the asking price, for that they would have to be much more than "bloody good", but no point in dismissing the quality of sound, without actually trying.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: So much for "design"

            So, it's rather ridiculous to claim these sound "probably tinny"

            The size and shape of any speaker can tell you a lot about it's audio characteristics. Seeing a frequency response table can tell you a lot more.

            Ear buds generally fall into the 'probably tinny" category simply as a function of their size and shape. IME, the more expensive the price tag the more likely it is that they will actually sound like crap. The problem with people is we assume that since we paid so much for them they must be good and it's US who must be in the wrong. Or, and my experience of apple users has led me to this, some people just have never had anything better and think the product they use is good vs other products that are more functional, better made, and cheaper. It's the whole "I pad a lot for this so it must be good and you paid much less for that so yours must be much worse" mentality.

      3. macjules Silver badge

        Re: So much for "design"

        Can do the same with 2 used electric toothbrushes.

    2. batfink Silver badge

      Re: So much for "design"

      Correct. The designers are not working for the customers, they're working for Apple. So, they're going to design things that provide the most benefit to those who are paying them.

      If that means they're producing items that can be sold at high margins yet need to be replaced in short timeframes, then they're doing a good job for their employers.

      And yes, of course we hate them for it.

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Devil

        "provide the most benefit to those who are paying them."

        Actually, it's the customers paying them... that's why they need them to buy, buy again, replace, replace again...

  5. Bloodbeastterror

    I continue to be baffled...

    ...why people continue to put up with these shabby designs and shabbier contempt from this company. Give your money to a business who at least pretend to show some concern for their customers. Stop feeding the Apple troll.

    1. el kabong Silver badge

      That vendor respects nothing but money, their miserable behavior spares no one

      not even the millions of iDiots that keep feeding their money machine manage to get the modicum of respect they deserve. Abominable company!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I continue to be baffled...

      I venture a revolutionary (?) view that they're perfectly average human beings who believe their "image" I, I, I) is worth any price (and for some, it makes them feel better than the rest). That said, it works both ways, it makes me feel smug and superior to those preening idiots. See? Everybody's happy :)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I continue to be baffled...

        I wonder if the Apple business model is based on this:

        "Narcissists might have "grandiose" delusions about their own importance and an absence of "shame" - but psychologists say they are also likely to be happier than most people."

        It does seem to fit at least a sub-set of the fanbois who may not be "perfectly average human beings"

        1. NightFox

          Re: I continue to be baffled...

          I really don't give two hoots about the opinion of me (good or bad) held by people who form their opinions based on what earphones I use.

  6. Rich 11 Silver badge

    The Apple doesn't fall far from the tree

    "earworn wearables"

    How long before this becomes "earables"?

    Apple's liberal use of alcohol-resistant adhesives

    Maybe some far-sighted employee reckoned that the damn things were all too likely to fall out in the pub.

    (Give it 20 minutes and Apple's PR bureau will be all over that one.)

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: The Apple doesn't fall far from the tree

      And from 'earables' it's only a short step to "hearables"

    2. The Mole

      Re: The Apple doesn't fall far from the tree

      First result on google returns a news story from 2015: "Earables: The next big thing - TechRepublic"

    3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: The Apple doesn't fall far from the tree

      Maybe some far-sighted employee reckoned that the damn things were all too likely to fall out in the pub.

      Or practical joker "friends" pull them out and drop them in your pint. I've seen phones die that way.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: The Apple doesn't fall far from the tree

        Those must be the same sorts of "friends" who would key your car for the lulz.

    4. Franco Silver badge

      Re: The Apple doesn't fall far from the tree

      " "earworn wearables"

      How long before this becomes "earables"?"

      I am going to call anyone I ever hear using either of those phrases "punchables"

      1. AndyGroves

        Re: The Apple doesn't fall far from the tree

        Would this be similar to “...reaching out...” but in a more forceful way?

  7. el kabong Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

    And yet millions of iDiots keep falling for it, again and again. Pitiful.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

      They don't care if they can repair something that will be obsolete in 2-3 years. If it broke they are going to get it sorted by Apple, not dig out their spadger and eye-glass.

      Try for one moment thinking from others' viewpoint before judging them, dum-dum.

      1. el kabong Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        When it breaks the vendor will sort it out alright, into the trash it goes!

        That's the kind of sorting they'll be able to do to, quite happily.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

        "They don't care if they can repair something that will be obsolete in 2-3 years."

        Apparently they don't care about plonking down so much cash for something that they expect to be tossing away in 2 or 3 years, either. Weirdness abounds.

        1. el kabong Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          More than weird, spend fortunes on electronic trash from your favorite vendor, fly cattle class

          Both weird and truly iDiotic!

        2. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

          3 years - 1000 days

          Even a coffee per day is a few grand.

          Earbuds you might use for 4-5 hours a day - suddenly stops being quite so expensive.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

            If the things last 3 years, you're paying ~$7/mo for them. That seems crazy expensive to me.

            1. Wicked Witch

              Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

              I've had a few el cheapo US$5-10 earbuds, and they last less than a month of everyday use. Some I've been able to repair but if i'd been valuing my time even at minimum wage and had been paying for supplies that would have been a waste of money. A set of mid-market wired ones would probably work better (even apple wired ones, which sound OK but don't fit my ears) would be cheaper, but US$7 per month for that kind of usage isn't all that extravagant.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

                "I've had a few el cheapo US$5-10 earbuds, and they last less than a month of everyday use."

                I usually get at least a year out of mine. Maybe it's because my parents lived through rationing during and after WW2 so it was instilled in me from an early age to be careful with stuff and look after so it lasts a good long time. eg I always place my phone on the desk. I see many others who just casually throw theirs on the desk. A couple 100 quids worth of relatively delicate electronics and they chuck it around like some disposable coffee cup. Likewise those people who see actors slam down the lids/screens of their laptops for dramatic effect and then do the same with their £400-£1000+ laptops. Some of them even have the nerve to profess to be "green" and carry re-usable coffee cups with them. I wonder how many coffee cups they need to "save" to neutralise the shortened lifespans of their devices?

              2. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

                "US$7 per month for that kind of usage isn't all that extravagant."

                I don't see how that follows. That cheap junk ends up being very expensive isn't really news, and doesn't make paying $7/mo for earphones any less extravagant.

              3. kmedcalf

                Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

                I have some Shure E5's that are getting on two decades and still work just fine and never needed repair. Not that their is anything to repair.

            2. Montreal Sean

              Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

              "If the things last 3 years, you're paying ~$7/mo for them. That seems crazy expensive to me."

              Doesn't sound so crazy to me.

              I had a car I bought for $4500 Canadian, into which I put almost $2000 Canadian worth of stereo equipment.

              I sold the car 3 years later, not regretting a single penny spent on the stereo since I was in the car 25-30 hours a week...

              It all depends on what makes you happy.

              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

                You can get much superior earphones for a whole lot less in terms of total cost of ownership. Being willing to pay more for less seems crazy to me.

                But, as you say, it all depends on what makes you happy.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

            Well, John Robson, you can throw $1,000 into my circular file once every three years, if you like. I won't mind in the least :-)

            (I still have a fully functional set of Koss cans from the mid 1970s. They sound one hell of a lot better than these Apple thingies, and have cost a couple bucks per year. No batteries required, and no landfill threatened.)

            1. MrBanana
              FAIL

              Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

              I've just worked out my still functioning Nakamichi headphones have cost me about 0.7p a day. But that doesn't count two replacement cables (5 quid) and replacement foam earpads (7 quid), in those 30+ years.

              I volunteer for a repair cafe that tries to fix things rather than chuck them in landfill. I spent a few hours fruitless trying to fix a pair of Beats headphones. I can just about get it apart, but the break is in the fragile multicore cable that goes through the middle of the headband. Not available as a spare part, and almost impossible to replace due to the way they have soldered the connections, and then covered them in impenetrable goop. Well done Apple.

            2. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

              Jake - what are you offering me for $300/year?

              I don't use airpods, but my listening devices cost an order of magnitude more than that, and an expected lifespan of five years. They did come with a qualified audiologist though.

              The Koss cans aren't nearly as portable as airpods, nor do they have microphones, so they aren't actually comparable in many useful aspects.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

                "Jake - what are you offering me for $300/year?"

                It's not $300/yr, it's the low, low price of $1,000/3yrs. What you get is an ongoing lesson in Total Cost of Ownership without buying into a closed garden full of consumer goods that are the epitome of unnecessary planned obsolescence. At the end of my program, you will have the exact same product as you will doing it Apple's way.

                "my listening devices cost an order of magnitude more"

                That's nice and all, but what does it have to do with the subject at hand? Shirley you're not playing the handicapped card?

                "The Koss cans aren't nearly as portable as airpods"

                Oh, horseshit. If you can carry airpods, you can carry my headphones. And if you truly can't, how about a nice pair of 1982's P/19s? (I just dug out three pair ... They still sound excellent, despite having been in a box for probably 30 years. In the same box: a couple of KSC/50 SoundCells that I don't remember owning ... They still work, too.)

                "nor do they have microphones"

                The ARE a pair of microphones.

                1. John Robson Silver badge

                  Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

                  So you're offering nothing, as opposed to a decent set of audio interfaces for various devices?

                  I'm not playing any card - but your concept of value is clearly worlds apart from many. The cost of a device over it's lifetime does depend on the length of time you use a device.

                  There is no way any wired headphones are as portable as airpods - even in their case they are smaller than either driver on your 70's cans. The airpods, and their case, are designed to be easily pocketable, show me your cans in a pocket.

                  To suggest that you have a pair of microphones is just pointless to an extend all speakers can be used as microphones - can they be used to make a call - can they be both headphones and microphone at the same time? No.

                  The airpods serve a specific purpose, and do so very well. They could be made in two sections, with the battery and drivers in the 'top' of the lollipop and have that section replaceable - that wouldn't be a bad move... But to be honest they are likely to be alot more fragile if you do split them in two.

          3. the Jim bloke Silver badge

            Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

            The issue here is definitions. technology and equipment wear out or become obsolete and require replacement after a period of time. Obsolescence isnt really an issue - If you bought an item to do a job it will still do that job even if newer kit can do the task better (- or worse, win 10 anyone?). Wearing out can be avoided by quality of manufacture, and replacing specific components.

            On the other hand, consumables exist to be used and thrown away. Apple is marketing their consumables as equipment, but they want you to buy it and piss it away.

            I was going to use a beer icon - but I wont waste one on Apple

            1. TomG

              Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

              Finally, a negative comment about Microsoft. I find it hard to believe that I had to read this many comments before someone bashed MS. I had two iPhones, both bad. Will never buy anything Apple.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

            "Earbuds you might use for 4-5 hours a day - suddenly stops being quite so expensive."

            Purchase price is not inexpensive, and the product life is unacceptably short (for me - environmental reasons). I have some Sennheiser IEMs (so, non-wireless) which are 10 years old, have had a lot of use, and look/function like new. My parents have headphones made in the 1970s, which look and sound like new (and could probably be used to subdue a burglar...). I struggle to see a justification why a pair of modern headphones should only last 2-3 years.

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

              "product life is unacceptably short for me"

              So don't buy them - easy.

              Comparing them with pure headphones is also a bit pointless... They aren't just headphones, they also have an array of microphones, accelerometers, and optical sensors on each as well - adding to the jobs they can do.

              I'm sure your IEMs sound great, but 90% of the time that doesn't actually matter - and the lack of a microphone is going to be more inconvenient than the increase in sound quality of on hold music.

              They also lack the ability to control your phone/other device in your pocket (or bag, or on the desk on the other side of the room).

              The cables to tangle in your pocket (because they do) is also a disadvantage of IEMs, and the case you keep them in to stop that being an issue is almost certainly larger than the airpod case.

              Yes, the limited battery life is a disadvantage of any wireless audio device, but the compromise between robustness and repairability has to be drawn somewhere. I suspect it could have been drawn elsewhere - but the factors that went into that decision aren't exactly public knowledge.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

      The repairability ratings for iPhones are much better than Samsung's phones, so it isn't universal across Apple's products.

      Though it really is too bad they can't find a way to make it possible for someone to replace the battery in the airpods - even if requires a bit of effort like phones do that's the part people care about replacing. Complaining about the rest is silly, no one would ever try to "service" a device so tiny that's stuffed to the gills with so many even tinier components.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

        "no one would ever try to "service" a device so tiny that's stuffed to the gills with so many even tinier components."

        Well, normal people wouldn't, but some would. I occasionally repair devices that are as miniaturized as that.

      2. Kernel Silver badge

        Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

        "Though it really is too bad they can't find a way to make it possible for someone to replace the battery in the airpods - even if requires a bit of effort like phones do that's the part people care about replacing."

        It's not only possible - at least one manufacturer's (Unitron) rechargeable hearing aids allow the rechargeable battery to be replaced by a standard battery if needed, simply by opening a little door.

        Even more interestingly, I was told by my audiologist that Apple actually have a major stake in Unitron (very small advanced audio processing technology with a focus on minimising power consumption), so it's not as if they aren't aware that it can be done.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

          Is that Unitron hearing aid IPX4 rated? I think leaving a "door" is going to make it harder to keep moisture out.

          One suggestion I read that could work would to be allow you to unscrew the tip to access the battery. That would be easy to keep waterproof, though it would restrict the design somewhat so it would necessarily end up larger/heavier.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

      To be fair, and I don't necessarily want to be, their record isn't all that bad when compared to many of their rivals. Nothing they make is very repairable, but many of their phones and laptops are at least more repairable than ones from other leading manufacturers. Recent reviews of Samsung and Google phones, Microsoft laptops and tablets, and the like seem to show similar levels of disregard for self-repair. I wouldn't focus on how Apple ranks compared to others. I'd focus on what the raw numbers are, and they range from not great to well it's the bottom of the scale.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: That vendor's track record for reparability is miserable

        True but you have to consider why that is. It may suck for the repairability and upgradability of a laptop to have RAM soldered onto the motherboard for example, but it reduces manufacturing cost, reduces support cost, and allows making a device lighter (before you scoff, there has been a big trend in the market towards lighter laptops)

        They are just giving people what most consumers want. How many laptops do you think EVER have their RAM or storage upgraded? For those bought by individuals, I'm willing to bet big money it is well under 10%. Those who do this aren't going to lose many sales over it, and aren't sweating a low score on iFixit. The type of people who read iFixit aren't the target market for those laptops anyway.

  8. big_D Silver badge
    Coat

    Alcohol resistant glue

    That makes sense, for all those overdoing it on a Friday night and praying at the great white telephone and the buds falling into the mixture of neat Pernod and diced carrots...

    Mine's the one with the bottle of Paul Ricard in the pocket, me, I'm posh, I is.

    1. 2Nick3

      Re: Alcohol resistant glue

      Since the ear buds are going to get all coated with ear wax nastiness the glue needs to be proof against what people are likely going to use to clean them - alcohol wipes.

      If Apple used glue that the alcohol breaks down you'd be hearing cries of "How dumb can they be, using a glue that won't stand up to cleaning!" They picked longevity here rather than repair-ability. That may not be the choice everyone would make, but there is a logic to it.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Alcohol resistant glue

        "They picked longevity here"

        They did? It doesn't look like it to me...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More landfillers, sigh.

    PS oh and wasting lithium that may be needed for tritium production for future fusion rectors.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Just out of intellectual curiosity, I computed how much lithium is in those batteries.

      AirPods apparently contain 93mAh batteries. The formula to estimate the amount of lithium in a lithium battery is 0.3 x the Ah capacity, in grams. So, each AirPod contains approximately 28 mg of lithium.

      1. jake Silver badge

        "0.3 x the Ah capacity, in grams."

        I'd like a couple grams of Amp Hours, to go please.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Yeah, that was a clumsy way to phrase it for sure...

          just in case I confused anyone, what I meant was "0.3 grams per Ah"

          1. jake Silver badge
            Pint

            One wonders if mixing Ah and beer is like pissing into the wind ... Regardless, have one on me for playing the part of the stooge. (I'd have said "straight man", but last time I said that I got sixteen kinds of shit from all directions ... we must do something about the hand-wringers hijacking the language before meaningful communications become impossible.)

            1. JohnFen Silver badge

              Thanks! I really enjoy playing the straight man (in the non-sexual-preference-related sense). Stooge, not so much. :)

    2. Richard Pennington 1

      Landfill? No!!

      Surely they would count as electrical/electronic waste and would come under WEEE Directive rules (at least until Brexit...).

  10. JohnFen Silver badge

    Double the reason

    "Those who've bought a pair of the $250 buds will have to accept that when its rechargeable battery eventually fails (give it a couple of years), they'll have to purchase a brand-new product"

    I avoid wireless earbuds for a number of reasons, but among the largest is that I don't need any more devices that require recharging. However, that the battery can't be replaced when it wears out provides a second reason to avoid AirPods, at least, but I'd be surprised if any other wireless earbuds are much better on this count.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Double the reason

      I prefer wired for the simple fact that when/if it falls/gets knocked off my head it's still connected to whatever it's plugged into & thus can be retrieved.

      I'd be up shite creek if sitting on the bus, get slammed into the window because the driver swerved to miss something, only to feel a sudden breeze in the ear that had been holding a wireless doohickey just a moment ago. Is the escapee in my lap? On the floor? On my shoulder? In the person beside me handbag? Down her bra? How do you politely ask "Excuse me Miss, could I please root around in your cleavage for my missing doohickey?" She'd slap me so hard I'd end up losing the other doohickey!

      At least with wired headphones I can simply tug on the wire of the escaped side, reel in the errant runaway until I'm holding it again, & save myself getting assaulted by the woman beside me whom didn't approve of me wanting to go splunking in her bra. =-)P

      1. batfink Silver badge

        Re: Double the reason

        On the plus side....

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: Double the reason

        Shadow Systems,

        You make an excellent point. You've changed my mind. What if I do want to rummage around in attractive lady's cleavage? I'm goinna get me a pair of wireless ear-buds immediately.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Double the reason

            Is a tenner the going rate down your way?

            It's only a fiver up here.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Double the reason

              I blame Brexit.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Double the reason

          well, if they're wired, you can fish them out of the clevage with a triumphant "there they are!" and a fiendish laughter. It always works great for me, try it sometime...

      3. upsidedowncreature

        Re: Simply Ghastly...

        You've given this *far* too much thought.

      4. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Double the reason

        "I prefer wired for the simple fact that when/if it falls/gets knocked off my head it's still connected to whatever it's plugged into & thus can be retrieved."

        Exactly! I also find that I have to insert and remove my earbuds many times a day to listen to other things and it's nice to have them on a cord around my neck that I can easily reach for and put back in if I need to.

        Let's look at the cost too. $250 and will last 24 months. I'll round up to 25 months for easy maths. That's a tenner a month for ear buds! I'm also being optimistic about them surviving that long. I'd likely need to take them out, put them in my pocket and forget them until the pants were headed for the dryer. Either that or they'd land in the sink while I'm washing up or brushing my teeth.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Double the reason

      Whatever price I've paid for them, earphones that go out-and-about with me tend to last about 18 months to 2 years. They do get 30-50 minutes use a day though. I've also never lost a pair, but am not so confident with wireless things this small not going walkabouts.

      However this makes me reluctant to spend serious money on them. Because in that law of averages, some are going to survive much shorter times - and sod's law says those will be the expensive ones.

      So my ideal headphone budget is under £20. And Sony do a foldable pair of chunky ones for that.

      I know I could do better on sound quality. But given I'm always walking near traffic or I'm on trains - and I don't want to deafen myself to outside noise - I just want something that's good enough. I'm not going to get hi-fi quality on the go, and mostly I'm listening to podcasts (speech) anyway.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Double the reason

        I go the opposite way -- I buy fairly high-priced wired earbuds (because the sound quality becomes annoying to me below a certain price point). The pair I currently use are intended for sound engineer roadies at concerts, so they're very, very robust, fit well, and sound great. I've had those for five years now (I use them, on average, about 5 hours a day), and they still work perfectly -- you'd even have to closely examine them to notice they're not new.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Double the reason

          I'm guessing that you treat your high-priced wired headphones rather well. That's quite a logical thing to do given how much you spent on them. My problem, however, is that I want not to treat them well. I want to use them out and about, finish up, and coil them into a pocket or bag. I don't necessarily want to spend a ton of time neatly keeping the wire in perfect condition because it's quite likely I will stop using them when I need to be doing something else. In my experience, cables don't last very long when you do that to them, especially the pretty thin ones attached to most sets of headphones. I've killed far too many sets to spend very much money on them.

          That said, I do have a good set of wired headphones which are quite high quality. I keep those at home, neatly organized, and only use them when doing audio work. I don't need that kind of quality when I'm using headphones elsewhere, and I don't want to lose the money spent on them by damaging a cable which isn't always as straightforward to replace as it looks.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Double the reason

            "My problem, however, is that I want not to treat them well. I want to use them out and about, finish up, and coil them into a pocket or bag."

            No, I'm not particularly careful with them. I do all of those things as well.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Double the reason

          "I buy fairly high-priced wired earbuds"

          If you want to be really posh, you can get the custom fitted ear monitors that musicians use on stage. I think it's Taotronics that makes a small Bluetooth receiver that you can plug into and pair with your music player/mobile. You get the best of both worlds and still have a wired option if you need it. That set up is on my list for playing drums. It's not cheap so it's something you want to look after. Maybe you still want to get some less expensive wired earbuds for when you just want some background tunes.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Double the reason

            Heh, these earbuds are available in the custom form that you mention -- but that doubles their price, and seemed unnecessary for my use case.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Double the reason

      the argument that wireless create more landfill is nonsense, as there are hardly any earphones, wireless or wired, which last 5 years anyway. And both go to the landfill eventually. It is true however, that those with batteries inside will be more toxic.

      1. DML71

        Re: Double the reason

        Always the option to hand them in to an apple store once they no longer work. I recently dropping in an old school ipod that no longer worked and a iphone 4s. hopefully they tore them apart and disposed on the remains properly. It was that or they went straight to landfill.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Double the reason

        I'm sorry dowvoters, but while anecdotal, this is based on my ear- and headphone usage over the last 30 years, and that of people around me. It's 100% consistent, cheap ear/heapphones are crap, because they're cheap(ly) made and because they're designed to be disposable. Even my cheap, but good quality (of sound) headphones lasted me no more than 5 years. Any earphones I've ever bought (cabled), within 30 quid range: 6 months - 2 years (tops). And I don't use my earphones a lot, nor treat them like a bunch of keys. I've recently moved to wireless, both head and earphones, and the difference in comfort means I'll never go back (ok, other than my cheap as chips cabled superlux ;)

    4. jake Silver badge

      Re: Double the reason

      I avoid 'em for one simple reason: Bluetooth makes music sound like shit. The best comment that I've ever heard/read about the quality is "Bluetooth delivered music approaches CD quality" ...

  11. Drew Scriver Bronze badge

    Earworm wearables?

    Somebody at Gartner was asleep at the wheel, me thinks. Or is laughing his head off after pulling this fast one.

    terminology of pro tea-leaves readers at Gartner, "earworn wearables"

    terminology of pro tea-leaves readers at Gartner, "earworm wearables"

    1. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: Earworm wearables?

      "KHAN!!!!!!"

      Sorry, couldn't resist.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Earworm wearables?

      They must be The One That I Want ...

  12. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    I like it loud...

    The thing I've always struggled with with Apple headphones is volume. I have pairs of Apple, Sennheiser and Sony wired headphones, and the Apple ones are so much quieter on max vol than either of the others. I also have a set of the Sony WL-1000x bluetooth jobbies, and whilst not as loud as the others, they are still again, a fair whack louder than the standard Apple wired ones.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: I like it loud...

      I agree. In fact loudness is my most important buying criteria. Sound quality a distant second. I do mostly listen to podcasts though. But when I do choose to listen to music, it tends to be in quieter environments.

      I know there are health concerns, but some of these things are putting out ludicrously low volumes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I like it loud...

        it's not the earphones, it's the f... android nannies popping up the message "are you sure you want it louder, Dave?". Fuck off! And it does. Until the next time. Because, you know, it's fucking unrootable...

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: I like it loud...

          Blame government regulations for that. But you can disable it -- here's a method that doesn't require rooting your device (I can't say first-hand if it works, as I root my phone and disabled it using Xposed.)

          https://www.xda-developers.com/how-to-automatically-disable-the-high-volume-warning-without-root/

    2. batfink Silver badge

      Re: I like it loud...

      Form factor comes into play here too. Likewise, I have a selection of headphones/buds for use in various circumstances. Usually I have a pair of standard iphone (wired) buds in my ears as I'm on conf calls all day. Comfortable enough over long periods and perfectly audible in office/home environments, and they don't make you look like a twat. As they're wired I don't have to recharge the fuckers all the time.

      However, when I'm outside, the Apple buds are hopeless. Far too much ambient noise coming through, so I end up turning the volume up to max - a generally bad idea all round. I'm not sure the volume is actually lower than the others - there's just too much other noise coming through. Over to the Sennies or Bose over-ears at that point.

      And no, I'm not going to pay £250 for a disposable item. I'll pay it for the Sennies or Bose Noise-cancellers, but expect to have those for many years.

    3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: I like it loud...

      If I were springing for an expensive, high-end pair of headphones, they'd have to be AKG K701's of course. You know, just because...

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: I like it loud...

        Not so bank account draining as I thought. When you said expensive, I was expecting multi-hundreds of pounds - the price point of the AKG K812.

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: I like it loud...

          Not so bank account draining as I thought. When you said expensive, I was expecting multi-hundreds of pounds - the price point of the AKG K812.

          I just figured if the K701's were good enough for Mio-chan, they'd be good enough for me.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don’t understand

    This is an Apple product yet you’re all being horrid about it.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: I don’t understand

      What don't you understand? Did you expect Apple to get a pass?

  14. 0laf Silver badge
    Boffin

    Think of the trees...

    Non-replacable batteries should be banned unless they are designed (and warrantied) to work for 5yr or more (like the 10yr battery in a smoke detector).

    (Environmental, tree hugger type icon needed).

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker
      Childcatcher

      Re: Think of the trees...

      ===> This icon works: "Won't someone think of the children environment!"

    2. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: Think of the trees...

      If I had my way, I was pass a law that requires anything with a battery to include instructions on how the user can change the battery in under 5 minutes.

      1. YetAnotherLocksmith Bronze badge

        Re: Think of the trees...

        "Step 1: Open the case. Step 2: remove the solder. Step 3: insert and resolder new battery."

        The steps aren't difficult to say!

  15. arctic_haze Silver badge

    Right to repairability

    This goes directly against the new "right of repairability" EU directive which enters into force in 2021.

    Not that is much solace for the UK readers...

  16. Franco Silver badge

    "iFixit think it's within the realms of possibility for Apple to re-work the AirPods Pro to become slightly more fixable"

    Yes, it's also within the realms of possibility that they will use USB Type-C and put 3.5mm jacks back on the phones. Not however within the realms of probability...

    Dunno if anyone else watches The Good Place, this weeks episode had a description of some of the horrors of the world along the lines of "wars, murders, and vindictive nerds at Apple are changing the charging cable shape again"

  17. 080

    Look on the bright side.

    If the ear thingies stop working the only person to know that will be the wearer.

    Since most people wear them to impress others it does not matter whether they work or not.

    When I was kid people put the dog end of their fag behind their ear, these things look just like dog ends hanging out of the ear.

  18. kmedcalf

    Repair?

    Why would anyone ever want to repair these things? In a year Apple will come out with a "new and improved" version that costs twice the price called the Airbud Puppy Super Pro. The fanbois will line up around the block to get these new devices on the day they are released and throw their old ones in the trash. The following year the "new and improved" version called the Airbud Puppy Super Duper Pro will be released for again double the price and the same thing will happen.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    And the actual improvements year over year? Lighter glue and smaller lighter batteries.

    1. PhilipN Silver badge

      Re: Repair? And replace how soon? So what

      As with many here (I guess) I have been through drawers full of earphones/buds/whatevers. Used to keep them all because when first bought they sounded great (i.e. better than others I had) and "still worked" but eventually threw them all out. Because what for?

      And remember, young'uns, Pete Townshend blamed loud music pumped direct to eardrums** for damaging his hearing (aside of course form Moon's explosions and decibel-record-setting gigs).

      **But agreed, good as a temporary fix for adolescent "confusion". The Kinks' original "You Really Got Me" recommended for the purpose.

    2. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Repair?

      I don't know whether you've been keeping up with modern events. Even the fanbois don't "queue around the block" any more. Latest iphone releases are treated with "meh" and the queues don't happen. iPhone sales are dropping.

      Can we stop using lazy assumptions from years ago now please?

  19. vincent himpe

    in all seriousness

    What are you going to repair on such things ?

    The battery ? unobtainium.

    The circuitboard ? good luck buying a BGA rework station, getting your hands on the custom chips and developing the fine motor skills to replace 01005 capacitors off a flex board.

    While i applaud iFixit historically for doing teardowns ( not really needed , go on FCC website and look up detailed apple provided innard shots ) , the state of current hardware makes things irrepairable apart from swapping a module. That is not repairing. Repairing is component level debug like Rossman is doing.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: in all seriousness

      "The battery ? unobtainium."

      That's odd. I have replaced the rechargable batteries in any number of things in the last month. Including the ones in MeDearOldMum's wireless hearing aids[0]. It's not exactly like the technology is unknown ... outside Apple, of course. But then they decided that a paper bag was a good idea and worth patenting ... not exactly living in the RealWorld, are they?

      [0] Her mid-80s eye-hand coordination isn't what it was even two years ago, alas.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: in all seriousness

      "The battery ? unobtainium."

      The battery appears to be a standard one.

      "The circuitboard ? good luck buying a BGA rework station, getting your hands on the custom chips and developing the fine motor skills to replace 01005 capacitors off a flex board."

      For the AirPods, you wouldn't need speciality BGA gear. A hot air rework station would do the job. I hate dealing with BGA chips, personally, but I wouldn't worry too much about ones that are as small as that. Dealing with those tiny SMD capacitors and such can be a little fiddly, but it's not as hard as you're implying. The custom chips could be easily obtained by getting your hands on other people's broken AirPods. However, the chips are the least likely thing to go wrong.

      I'm not saying that repairing these things would be a walk in the park, and certainly most people wouldn't do it even if it were -- however, it's not really a huge problem for electronics hobbyists, and if you didn't have to destroy the things to get access to the nougat center, it would likely be a tidy little side business for electronic repair shops.

    3. MrBanana

      Re: in all seriousness

      "What are you going to repair on such things ? The battery ? unobtainium."

      So you didn't even bother reading the article: "One genuine surprise was the inclusion of a standard button cell battery, rather than a proprietary cell purpose-designed by Apple"

    4. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: in all seriousness

      'They' said one couldn't replace the battery on my 'TomTom GO 50' which, as it happens, was sold to me with 'unlimited updates'. Well, indeed it could be done. Opening the 'snap-together' case was the trixy part. Now I can leech more updates!

      Anyone trying this at home should use a 'Japanese spatula', the small square of spring steel kind, not the Onomiyaki kind. There is also a special repair kit available on the net with a suitable spatula in it.

  20. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Joke

    £250 for something so unrepairable?

    That's a con! Something that costs that much and you cannot repair it? I mean, I'd be expecting to pay at least £850 for the privilege of a throw away easily bricked and totally unserviceable product!

  21. martinusher Silver badge

    Hearing aid?

    There's not much distance between an earbud and a hearing aid. Earbuds seem to have a shorter battery life (both between charges and overall). Hearing aids tend to be rather more expensive but they last a whole lot longer. They come with all sorts of add-ons these days including Bluetooth, selective filtering, noise cancellation and so on.

    The big question is "Why would anyone who's not suffering hearing loss voluntarily wear a sub-standard hearing aid?". It not only has the potential to damage your hearing but it also has the potential to injure you because you're pretty much cut off from your surroundings when wearing the things (no ambient noise....you don't hear the vehicle that hits you.....). Even the 'stem' only seem necessary to advertise you've got the (Apple) things in your ear (hearing aids try to hide as best they can).

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Hearing aid?

      I don't want these, and they're ridiculously priced as well, but there is a simple answer to why people want earphones that block out a lot of the noise from their environment: open plan office. I'm in a mixed plan office and I still choose to use headphones because if I decide to work to music, I won't be irritating the person closest to me. In addition, having devices that have the capacity to serve as impromptu earplugs can be nice if I'm being subjected to far too much ambient noise. An airplane cabin or construction zone next to where I'm working come to mind. Another that comes to mind is if I have to work inside the server room at some point. The shriek of lots of servers is annoying and can damage my hearing, while there's very little likelihood I have to listen out for dangers (unless it's the BOFH's server room) or would be able to hear them anyway.

  22. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Not for me

    The only time I want to hear any music, plays etc. is either when I'm in the car, or at home, both of which are well supplied with fixed installations. At other times I want to have all my senses attuned to the environment.

    1. Swiss Anton

      Re: Not for me

      I find listening to music helps on flights. I suspect the other passengers might get annoyed if I used a ghetto blaster, so I use my £25 pair of headphones*.

      (*Headphones - two ear pods connected together by a band across the top of the head. This band prevents them from falling off. They also come with a wire that connects to a phone to avoid the need for unreplaceable batteries)

    2. the Jim bloke Silver badge

      Re: Not for me

      Different situations require different solutions.

      I require music to keep me awake on long drives - through external speakers.

      On flights, wired, noise cancelling headphones let me listen to my music while avoiding the stupid in-flight offerings and headache inducing movies.

      Someplace in our clients workplace policies is a prohibition on ear blocking headphones or buds.

      Walking around what is effectively the wilderness, an external bluetooth speaker lets any wildlife or stock know I am approaching and decide what it wants to do about it without startling them (It turns out cattle are fascinated by Finnish Black Metal).

      Walking in the city, or using public transport, wired or bluetooth earbuds allow me to enjoy my tunes without inflicting them on others.

      Listening to music has significantly improved my mental health, too much time alone inside my head isnt good for me, and having the screaming going on outside does put a smile on my face.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Not for me

        "It turns out cattle are fascinated by Finnish Black Metal"

        I've noticed that at concerts ...

        1. YetAnotherLocksmith Bronze badge

          Re: Not for me

          You were there too? Awesome!

  23. Fungus Bob Silver badge

    the AirPod let out an audible scream

    The Babel Fish inside it died.

  24. TheGhostDeejay

    Seriously

    I agree that all earphones of this type should at least have replaceable batteries.

    But how many people whilst whingeing about these pod things, will happily buy watches and 'phones of ANY brand that also don't have replaceable batteries?

    At th end of the day it is our fault as consumers, I include myself here, for buying the damned things instead of refusing to buy until they have, for example replaceable batteries.

    Cheers… Ishy

  25. Jan 0

    Alcohol resistant adhesive?

    I'm not sure why iFixit expects the adhesive to be soluble. Don't most modern adhesives polymerise? However, have they tried other solvents? I dunno, acetone, dimethyl sulphoxide, chloroform, xylene, ..., the list is endless:)

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Alcohol resistant adhesive?

      You left off TetraHydroFuran and MEK. The problem with super agressive solvents is they will dissolve the plastic housing and some internal bits too. IPA is pretty mild and a good first choice since a water based adhesive would fail within days.

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Alcohol resistant adhesive?

      Electronics components are only rated for water, ethanol, isopropanol, and some of the fluorinated nasties. MEK and acetone are definitely not safe for more than 2 or 3 seconds. Silicone and epoxy component cases absorb those solvents like a sponge then burst open. That's why the adhesives tend to be 2-part cure, thermal cure, or moisture cure.

      Putting an SMD foil capacitor into MEK or acetone makes a lot of confetti.

    3. fajensen Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Alcohol resistant adhesive?

      Chlorine trifluoride would dissolve the glue. I'd like to see that video.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple ear buds, the most uncomfortable ever

    I buy cheap silicone tipped wired earbuds. These last years and years.

    $250 is massive money for an earache.

  27. calmeilles

    Ecosystem trap

    Those who've bought a pair of the $250 buds will…

    …just shell out another $250.

    It's the Apple way.

  28. mark l 2 Silver badge

    While the repairability of such a small device was always going to be low. Not making it so at least you could have the battery replaced once its dead is just ridiculous.

    I suspect if most buyers knew in advance that their $250 purchase would have to throw them away in 2 years time when the battery died they would probably not buy them. Maybe its time the law was changed to say that manufacturers have to print the expected life of their items on their advertising literature? Including such things as for how long they will supply security updates for the software etc.

  29. BGatez Bronze badge

    Apple standard POS

    F the environment, it's making your wallet sooo-ooo much slimmer

  30. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Apple are trying to apply the lightbulb model to their accessories, but the problem with that is that they need to be priced in the pennies not the hundreds of dollarpounds. They've gone for King Camp's razor blade model instead, which ultimately failed.

  31. Danny 2 Silver badge

    alcohol-resistant adhesive

    So, Scotch tape?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: alcohol-resistant adhesive

      The glue from Scotch Tape is what the cockroaches will survive on after we nuke ourselves into oblivion.

      1. Don The Elder
        Big Brother

        Re: alcohol-resistant adhesive

        Vegetable oil works on an amazing number of adhesives; bumper stickers, plastic & glass food labels, mailing labels, software seals...oopsie!

        Remember, remember!

        The fifth of November,

        The Gunpowder treason and plot;

        I know of no reason

        Why the Gunpowder treason

        Should e'er be forgot!

  32. silks

    Seems unlikely that anyone would attempt to repair this kind of product anyway.

    1. jake Silver badge

      However ...

      ... it's bloody obvious that folks WOULD like the option to replace the batteries instead of simply throwing the bit of haberdashery into the trash.

  33. Paul Donnelly

    Reliable kit...

    Well I still have as my primary mouse a generation 1 USB roller ball three button IBM mouse, circa 1994. People in the office laugh at it, and its cable that is long enough to reach over the back of the desk and down to the bottom of a tower placed on the floor underneath it. Never mind the fact I'm plugging it into a laptop 6 inches away.

    It works, I have used it for 25 years, and aside the odd need to clean the rollers, there's nothing wrong with it.

    2-3 years as a lifetime for an expensive, non repairable piece of kit should be a environmental crime.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Reliable kit...

      I still own and operate half a dozen of 1987's Microsoft "Dove Soap" mouses/meese/whatever. To my hand, they are the best two button mouse ever made. It's pretty sad, when you think about it, that the world's largest software company has only made one decent product in it's entire history ... and it's a bit of peripheral hardware for an interface that has been depreciated.

      I also have a box full of Sun mice ranging from the rebranded Mouse Systems M1 through M4 models, along with a handful or two of the Sun Type 5s and enough pads for all of 'em. Most are new, and unused. I should probably sell 'em on fleabay ...

  34. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

    Two things about small

    If you want small, things are not repairable and reliable at the same time.

    The smaller you want something the more expensive it is, until enough people buy to get economies of scale and thus cheaper manufacturing.

    (I'll stick to the inconvenience of wired earbuds for now.)

  35. Bob.

    Best fixed with a Lump Hammer. Don't forget to remove them first.

    My best ever earphones, still used by choice, were the Sony Megabass Walkman ones.

    Although they don't fit in my ears quite as well as silicone straight-in cheap things.

    The jack and wires don't crackle with physical contact noise either.

    http://www.bodehase.de/pages/galerie.html?serendipity%5Bimage%5D=89

    It still works too. I use it while gardening, cutting the lawn. Well, the FM radio bit. Fed up of the few surviving cassettes, chez moi.

    For the majority of my hours, I have never liked isolating myself from the world around me.

  36. Torchy

    Not buying these then.

    I am so pleased that I have read this today as I was going to buy some of these this week.

    You have saved me some money and the planet a small amount of landfill.

    I am going to buy the much cheaper generic ones as it seems that Apple does not mean quality and longevity with this product.

  37. Unep Eurobats
    Holmes

    I've heard you can put things in the oven to soften the glue

    Just don't forget about them before you cook the Sunday roast, mmkay?

  38. DuncanLarge Silver badge

    Will avoid

    I see no advantage to using wireless earbuds.

    People I know who have them keep complaining that they have lost one or one dies before the other. I keep telling them that my cheap JVC gummies require not charging, dont get lost separately and on cost me £9. Spend a bit more for one with a mic that works with most phone models. Also they become the antenna for that built in FM radio that every mobile phone has, apart from a few models who think that there is never a reason to tune to a local station let alone record from one.

    I use earBUDS not earDUDS

  39. The_H

    A fashion accessory rather than audio

    Daughter bought a pair. I tried them and honestly, they can't hold a candle to my cheapish JBL Tune110BT's. Which themselves are cheerful but hardly hifi, compared to my normal work-wear (wired) Sennheiser £40 earbuds.

    The Apple ones look good, but only until you put the things in your ears. Anyway, every time I sneezed or coughed, they fell out.

    When I'm doing serious listening it can only be my HD700 References, but then I'd mention vinyl and my lovely valve preamp with NOS 60's Mullard tubes and lose the room.

  40. Rattlerjake

    What do you expect?

    Businesses like Apple are only in it for the money - their products are over priced and not repairable. They are designed to either only last a certain amount of time or become obsolete. Only fools feed these greedy corporations!

  41. Kiwi Silver badge
    WTF?

    Wish I'd got to this article sooner too..

    It's surprising how many of the "Extinction Rebellion" and other such twats will rush out and buy the latest crap fad product, or buy electronics with a life span measured in months, and fill their lives with other plastic-loaded garbage, yet wail and protest about damage done to the environment and how other people should take responsibility.

    Now it's warmer I am eating cold meals more often, starting to spend some of my free time building furniture from recycled timber that was destined for the tip (and have had orders/requests for a pile of stuff from neighbours - maybe I should change jobs again!), and expect at least 5 years life from any phone or other device (excluding dropping from more than twice my height or accidental dunkings - which I've not actually managed to do aside from a phone forgotten in an outside pocket while tramping with a very unexpected downpour (more that I'd forgotten to put the phone in my pack in it's plastic baggy than the rain though).

    At least from the very first post someone has picked up on this (not that I've actually read any more than my own verbiage thus far :) )

    These ER people should be fighting the companies who make the products they use first. Instead of buying these things (and other companies' versions) like no doubt a great many of them will, they should be rejecting the brand outright, perhaps even giving away products of said brand that they own (why give away - imagine if a few million I'mOwned[1] twits give away the stuff instead of trying to sell it - apple's new and 2nd hand prices as well as their stock will take a significant hit). Actually many of them probably badger their parents into buying the latest ishiney (or is that 'is hiney'?) rather than doing the work and paying themselves (yes I started earning my own money before I started high school - and it meant I could charge my parents for doing our lawns as I'd otherwise be able to be out doing other work - and they soon started charging me cooking and cleaning etc costs :) )

    [1] Semi-phonetic pun on 'iphOne' in case you missed it - explained because explaining seems to piss some El Reg readers off

  42. Mitoo Bobsworth

    Oh, well

    I use a late 2013 iMac for graphics work, & I reluctantly bought a reconditioned iphone 5s a few years ago - surprisingly, both are still going well. As far as their current offerings go, I regard them as mostly expensive landfill.

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