$159 EarPods that Ship Eventually
Apple’s AirPods, which having been announced half a year ago can no longer be considered new, are starting to make it into the hands of average consumers. Apple formally made them available on the thirteenth of December. Essentially missing the holidays, “the trouble [appeared] to stem from Apple’s effort to chart a new path for wireless headphones,” according to a source of the Wall Street Journal. With each earbud, or “AirPod,” able to function individually as a standalone headset, there was much more wireless functionality that needed to be crammed into the tiny earphones than your typical set of wireless buds.
Regardless of the reason behind the delay, it was undoubtedly a missed opportunity for the Cupertino, California-based tech giant. That being said, it’s impossible to say with certainty how much of the post-holiday shortages are due to high demand versus low supply. (Tech coverage and consumer online queries regarding Apple’s wireless earbuds have both fall off a cliff, so that points to supply being the culprit.) Your correspondent ordered a pair in late December and they didn’t arrive until mid-February. American retailer and Apple Authorized Reseller Best Buy, for instance, lists the AirPods as backordered until May.
When they finally arrived, Apple’s AirPods were decidedly underwhelming. The “magic” of the pairing process was, well, magical. Beyond the initial setup, however, things took a sour turn. Noise isolation was nonexistent, battery life was middling, and sound quality indistinguishable from the thirty-dollar EarPods that ship with every iPhone. The W1 wireless chipset, which has been covered previously on D&theJM, is the secret sauce to the AirPod entrée. Sadly, what the consumer is left with is an overpriced meal.
The only silver lining to this consumer’s experience with the Apple AirPods was that your correspondent was able to hawk them on eBay for a sizable profit, as the aftermarket for this device is quite generous thanks to the aforementioned shortages. This modest publication’s web hosting is paid for until 2021 thanks to this very public misstep of the iPhone producer.