Apple’s hit wireless earbuds are showing their age

If you use and enjoy AirPods as much as I do, replacing worn out AirPods with a fresh pair is the natural next step. Even at $159, AirPods feel like a great value for what they offer if you appreciate portable wireless earbuds. (Zac Hall, via MacStories)

I don’t own AirPods and don’t think I ever will, at least not as long as I have a choice.

Sure, they’re cool, and who doesn’t hate those darn always-tangled cords? But:

  • Here in France, they cost 180€ (approx. $205, tax-included). I find that quite expensive. 
  • They cost six times more than the basic wired Apple EarPods I use (30€), yet provide me with the exact same basic functionality: letting me listen to stuff. So, yeah, I do hate cords, just not six times as much 😉
  • I’ve been using the same EarPods for hours a day since 2016. Also, because I’m an insomniac, I often use them all night, too. During all this time I had to recharge them a massive… zero times. And, if the plastic of the cords has somewhat greyed, the pods themselves work just as well as the very first day I popped in my ears, and hey, I’m no audiophile, and they sound good enough to me.
  • They work with every device I own, Apple or not.

There is one last reason for me to stick with my basic EarPods. Something I must admit I never took the time to consider, but that bugs me today: how can Apple push its customers to constantly use more battery powered devices, while at the very same time telling us that?

Sure, more and better recycling of materials is a great thing, but wouldn’t a reduced use of materials be an even better way to “ask less of the planet”?

Also, let us not forget that recycling is not a magical formula that can transform our waste into endlessly reusable and environmentlly friendly materials. Recycling comes atgreat costs and has its limits, including the quality of the recycled material and, therefore its potential reusability.

Shouldn’t Apple be leading the way, knowing that much sooner rather than later all its competitors—the entire industry at large—will follow in its footsteps, marching towards reduced consumption than the increased sale of perfectly functional devices we need to replace every 2 or 3 years because of their dead and non-replacable battery?

And shouldn’t Apple be leading the way by designing smartphones and laptops that are easily repairable and upgradable? Knowing perfectly well, here too, that the industry will copy all its decisions, even the dumb ones.

As I said before, I never really took the time to think about all this. Who knows, maybe Apple invented some truly amazing way to recycle its stuff so that’s it’s better to throw away battery-dead AirPods and purchase new ones? And maybe they developped this amazing concept so that it’s better to throw away an entire Mac laptop keyboard and bottom case because speck of dust got caught. Even better, why not throw away the whole screen because of a faulty cable? Not bad, uh.

I don’t know about you, but let’s just say that I’m really not convinced.

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