0/10: iFixIt gives AirPods lowest possible rating

Anthony Caruana
21 December, 2016
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IFixIt says the reason they focus on the repairability of hardware is because  it’s good for consumers and good for the environment. Usually, being repairable goes hand in hand with being more recyclable. The easier it is to untangle the parts, the easier the device is to recycle. When products are glued shut and soldered together, like the AirPods, it costs recyclers more than they can earn from recovered materials. If AirPods are Apple’s new standard earbud, they’ll sell hundreds of millions of them. That’s millions of AirPods that are, essentially, disposable.




iFixIt’s AirPods teardown, where the techs from iFixIt pull hardware apart to look into how easy it is to repair and recycle gives  Apple’s AirPods a score of 0 out of 10.

Here’s what they say

  • A set of AirPods contains three batteries, one in the case and one in each earpiece. The earpiece battery is a 93 milliwatt hour battery, which is about 1% of the charge capacity in an iPhone 7. The battery in the case weighs in at 1.52 Wh—about 16 times the power capacity of the earpiece batteries.
  • Our X-ray imagery (provided by Creative Electron) shows quality issues in the AirPod case’s processor. Excessive empty spaces in the solder, known as voiding, could be evidence of low quality standards, or a rushed product release. Could issues with the AirPod case be what delayed release?
  • Accessing any case component is impossible without destroying the outer casing.
  • Glue is the only external fastener used in the case or earbuds.
  • Accessing any case component is impossible without destroying the outer casing, earning the AirPods a nigh-unprecedented 0/10 on our repairability scale.
Although this might not sway your buying decision if you’re after a set of AirPods, I think it’s important to understand what the long term impact of owning equipment is. And that’s not just the purchase and operating cost to you but the indirect, and perhaps heavier, long term cost to our environment.

One Comment

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  1. Jamie says:

    It’s pretty clear Apple don’t care about the environment and more, their recent product releases confirm this with their poor repairability and need to replace entire units when they fault.

    This as a two fold negative effect on the environment, destruction of the faulty equipment and shipping of the larger than a part that is faulty whole unit replacement

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