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$249 Disposable Earbuds are a Bad Deal

By Kevin O'Reilly
Advocate, Right to Repair Campaign

Apple recently debuted the AirPods Pro, the new and improved model of their popular line of headphones. Despite a higher price point of $249, these new AirPods are unrepairable, just like their predecessors. Online repair guide iFixit.com gave the new ‘pods a 0/10 repairability score.

Disposable headphones for $249? Really?

We advise consumers to avoid these headphones. Unfixable electronics are not a good deal

Highlighted by our Right to Repair campaign, repairability is a great way for consumers to get the most out of their purchase and for their devices to maintain resale value. But because you can’t replace the batteries and based upon reports of short battery life for standard AirPods, there is good reason to believe AirPods Pro will be difficult to use after anywhere from 18 months to a couple years.

Quite frankly, this is absurd. Consumers should be wary of paying such a steep price for something that they cannot fix, especially when those products contain batteries or other parts that are guaranteed to eventually fail. When investing in the new AirPods, consumers are likely putting themselves on the hook to buy a new set of headphones in just a couple years.

Other manufacturers demonstrate you can design these products to be repairable. The Samsung Galaxy Buds are designed so that the battery can be replaced, thereby extending their conceivable lifespan.

We also need to take a harder look at the world that we are creating with disposable products. We might imagine that our world will keep producing products like AirPods forever, but we live in a world with finite resources. Do we really want to deplete those resources on a new set of headphones every two years?

Repairable products last longer and give consumers long-term value while helping limit environmental damage. People can look up repairability scores on sites like iFixit (they have rankings on smartphones, tablets, laptops and more), to check to see if a device is fixable before purchasing. 

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