It’s been almost three months since Apple “courageously” dropped the headphone jack from its iPhone 7 and we’re yet to see Apple’s much-vaunted AirPods in stores.
Various issues, which Apple has yet to comment on, has resulted in the delay of the AirPods. Even at the time they were announced, the AirPods were expected to ship a month after the release of the iPhone 7.
The Wall Street Journal claims that a source has told its reporters that Apple is having issues with the design of the AirPods. Reportedly, there’s an audio sync issue between individual pods and Apple. The company is also determining what to do when only one pod is in use, apparently.
The Daring Fireball blog calls out The Wall Street Journal on its report, however, claiming that its own reviewer faced no sync issues with the prototype AirPods that he’s tested. Daring Fireball and various other sources on the internet suggest that the delay is due to difficulties in manufacturing rather than any technological ones.
Apple has never actually said anything on the matter, only stating that, “We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time before the AirPods are ready for our customers.” This was in October.
Priced at $159 (around Rs 10,800) in the US and officially expected at Rs 15,000 in India, the AirPods are different from regular Bluetooth headsets in that the individual pods receive discrete signals from your iPhone, Mac or other Apple device. Apple uses a proprietary chip called the W1 to ensure that audio is synced between the individual pods.
If Apple is indeed having technical trouble with its AirPods and, in effect, its W1 chip, this will mean that third-party manufacturers can’t license and build products using the technology until Apple fixes the issue.
Personally, I don’t really care that the AirPods are delayed. They’re overpriced to begin with — you’re going to pay more than 15 times the price of your bundled, wired headphones simply for wireless connectivity and nothing else. Initial reports suggest that the audio quality is unchanged.
You’re better off buying something else. And there are dozens of other wireless earphones and headphones that will offer far better audio quality than the AirPods for the same price.
No, the larger issue here is that Apple has killed a ubiquitous, much-loved and perfectly functional audio standard in favour of a future that doesn’t even exist yet.