This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
And that one critical flaw of the AirPods Pro is that they are a disposable product.
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.
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.