This is the REAL problem with Apple's AirPods Pro

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
This is the REAL problem with Apple's AirPods Pro
Don't buy the AirPods Pro. As much as they sound great and pair extremely easily with iPhones, they have one major flaw that you must know before you spend $250 on a pair of headphones, probably the most you have ever spend on headphones in your life.

And that one critical flaw of the AirPods Pro is that they are a disposable product.

Built to die


What we are referring to is that Apple manufactures the AirPods Pro so that it is impossible to replace their battery. And this is a real problem because all batteries degrade with time, so much so that after two or three years of use, you will find your shiny AirPods that used to last around 5 hours, now last half that or even less. A year more and they will be practically unusable. At that point in time, no sane person would buy them either, so the only option you will have then is to throw them away in the trash.


You read this correctly: after a couple of years of use, your shiny $250 AirPods Pro will have to go in the trash and you will need to buy new ones. That is the textbook definition of a disposable product.

The original AirPods used proprietary batteries built in the stem which made repairs impossible. The new AirPods Pro have now switched to a standard type of button cell batteries, while all the expensive antennas and chips are in the other part, the stem, but unfortunately they are still just as impossible to repair. The reason is just the way they are built in a non-modular way and using a lot of glue that makes battery extraction and replacement an extremely difficult process.

Aren't all wireless headphones this way?

Nope.

But you might be wondering: aren't all wireless headphones the same? Is it even possible to make tiny wireless earbuds repairable? Well, of course you can. The Samsung Galaxy Buds, for example, feature standard coin cell batteries that you can buy for $20-$30 and then replace in less than an hour. The incredibly good-sounding Sony WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Earphones also use the same type of batteries and are easy to replace once they inevitably lose capacity after a couple of years. These and many other products were built by engineers well aware that batteries in wireless headphones will need to be replaced after a few years of use.

Apple, on the other hand, is one of very few companies to manufacture its headphones so that they are impossible to repair. And it's not like Apple was unaware of this: we are definitely not the first to point one this critical flaw, also present in the original AirPods. Wired recently reached out to Apple about the new AirPods Pro and got the following commentary: "[AirPods Pro] are no more repairable than previous versions."

With all of this in mind, let's go back to the beginning of this article where I say you should not buy the AirPods Pro. Well, now that you know that they are a disposable product, you can go ahead and spend $250 on them. They sound great, they are comfortable, they fit many people a lot better than the original AirPods. Just be well informed that if you use them often, you will also be throwing them away in 2-3 years and would have to spend just as much on a new pair.

This is the type of planned obsolescence and consumerism that I cannot support, but it is the exact direction Apple is driving this industry into.

Image courtesy of iFixit.

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47 Comments

1. JMartin22

Posts: 2378; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

Victor wrote an anti-Apple editorial, did hell really turn to ice?

9. peschiera

Posts: 51; Member since: Sep 17, 2017

I will print this article and frame it ... Victor for president!

15. tangbunna

Posts: 488; Member since: Sep 29, 2016

Apple never sponsor any article on PA, even once. Anti-Apple doesn't make any negative $ to PA.

17. Cat97

Posts: 1969; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Actually Victor wrote an article that gathers a lot of ppc clicks and search engine hits, so good for him ! :)

26. dumpster666

Posts: 98; Member since: Mar 07, 2019

He wrote in the beginning..."As much as it sounds great"...

2. OneLove123

Posts: 1244; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

I'm sure the q tip lovers will just buy a new one in a year.

3. User123456789

Posts: 1084; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Bad article about Apple? I better buy lottery ticked today.

4. ZEUS.the.thunder.god

Posts: 1157; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

I can't believe my f**king eyes. Victor criticizing Apple. Hell has officially frozen over. Jk;) I'm not an Apple hater and I think they make amazing products however they're not the best in everything. Great job Victor for a fair and unbiased article. You deserve a lot of credit for this. A lot of people including myself are going to enjoy PA a lot more this way.

5. ahmadkun

Posts: 649; Member since: May 02, 2016

If it can perform good for 3-5 years .. I think it will be fine throwing it away and get a new one after that period

7. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1581; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Read the article? Victor doesn't expect them to last that long, neither do I.

23. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1459; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Apple only guarantees 1 year of life for all of their products. The batteries they use are expected to retain up to 80% charge for a year at best. I'd say for them to last 3 years is very optimistic.

43. vgking9699

Posts: 205; Member since: Mar 01, 2019

Then get mad at Samsung, they make the iPhone batteries It’s only $60 to get the iPhone battery replaced which rounds out to only $5 a month for a year I have two kids and definitely spend more than a measly $5 on batteries on any given toy each month

44. TS020

Posts: 58; Member since: Feb 16, 2019

I'm still using Sony MDR-F1 headphones from 15 years ago. If you're cool with re-buying the same product every 2-3 years then good luck to you

6. phonearenaviewer

Posts: 59; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

I don't think I will buy an Apple product again. iOS 13 is terrible. My Xs Max was terrible. Catalina is terrible. Looks like the Apple of old is returning. Until they return to superiority no more Apple products for me no thank you.

18. TBomb

Posts: 1632; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

I recommend getting an array of products from different OEMs. Find the ones that are best for you in each area of your life. millions of peopel survive without a single OEM for their everything every day,.

40. User123456789

Posts: 1084; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

I am glad I kept my ipad with iOS 12

8. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

It would seem that is really is all about those profits then...good for shareholders, not so good for consumers.

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

After about 3 years, I'd want new ones anyway, these small batteries aren't gonna last that long.

33. maherk

Posts: 6999; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Same here. And I don't know why everyone in here is bashing Apple for this, almost all of these tiny earbuds aren't repairable. My cousin's Galaxy Earbuds 2018 stopped working on one side due to speaker malfunction, and Samsung told him that their is nothing they can do about it and ended up giving him a new pair. If you are worried about the longevity of the battery in such tiny devices, you're better off buying headphones instead of these.

41. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Exactly, I can't even see using the same buds for 3 or more years. 2, 3 max.

42. mackan84

Posts: 609; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Isn’t this a bigger issue with AirPods then AirPods pro. At least the pros are sweat resistant and you would break that when swapping. That’s why the replaceable-friendly he mention don’t have any resistance.

11. sabretigger

Posts: 84; Member since: Sep 15, 2012

Apple makes a huge fuss about being green and sustainable in manufacturing their metal clad products. Perhaps they could do the same for these? Plastic waste is a huge problem!

12. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

WOW! I can believe apple doing this, I can't believe Victor is doing a negative article about apple.

13. JMartin22

Posts: 2378; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

I upgrade to a new generation of headphones anyway, so keeping them for years is moot to me. I still can’t believe he wrote this article lol

14. japkoslav

Posts: 1539; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

"As much as they sound great" lol, the irony.

16. Whitedot

Posts: 857; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Now way for Apple apologist on comment section. Victor, did the Apple turn ice on you? Yes, it's very unusual for you to be so be honest and so critical about Apple product.

19. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1357; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

As they say " every dog has its day" -lol Really surprised that Viktor would write such an article ( very critical about Apple) and from the looks of it so are many others and that really says something about phone-arena IMO. I guess we can add Viktor's gripe to yesterdays Article about why people hate on Apple which just undercuts the whole Positive side argument that - that author made about Apple. I understand that Apple is a company that is answerable to share holders but to treat its fans like this is not cool. I remember the Apple of old in which Both Steves could not give a crap about the suits and share holders they did what was cool for them and those that "Thought different" with them on technology.

20. Xavier1415

Posts: 216; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

OMG victor wrote a bad article about apple?????? we must share this with the world!! print it and frame it! but copy the URL cause this will be short lived. when he goes back to loving apple just copy the URL in the article lmbo!!

21. Jrod99

Posts: 776; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

Need a review of best earbuds with removable batteries. I order some but use my gift cards because 250 is a lot. I get gift cards from work base on performance which is how I get my tech. 4K hdtv next. Late to the party on that one.

24. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1095; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

Getting a 4K TV now isn't really late to the party. It's actually a great time because they are more affordable today. Also 4K Blu-rays are still expensive, as are stand alone 4K players. Personally I just use my Xbox One X for the few 4k's I own. Also most streaming services are still very limited on 4K content but that will really start changing with D+ including 4K content at their low price

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