Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post:

“Sorry, we can’t help you,” said the Apple store Genius. My AirPods were dying. After just 15 minutes of use, the wireless headphones I use daily chirp a sad little battery-depleted alert. I came to Apple to get them repaired.

The employee said there were lots of people like me, with $159 AirPods purchased in 2016 and 2017 that now can’t hold a charge. But even though Apple promises “battery service,” the store had no way to fix my AirPods. It didn’t even have a way to test them.

If you are running into battery issues with your AirPods, here’s the sequence Fowler lays out for figuring out the economic path to follow:

  • If your AirPods are less than a year old and the battery is not performing up to the promised five hours of listening time, an Apple store will replace them at no cost.

  • Apple recently began selling its AppleCare+ warranty for $29, which covers the battery, too. But this extended warranty lasts only two years — which wouldn’t have been long enough to save my AirPods.

  • If your AirPods are out of warranty, Apple will replace them for $49 per stick — so in reality, $98 total. A replacement for the charging case, which doesn’t wear out as quickly, is also $49. The key phrase to say is “battery service.” (Apple is providing additional training to customer service representatives on that point, but if you still have trouble, show them this link — or this column.)

This is useful info, but to me, the core of the article is the complete lack of repairability here:

The life span of an expensive, resource-intensive gadget shouldn’t be limited to the life span of one consumable component. You wouldn’t buy an electric toothbrush where you couldn’t replace the brush. Or a car with glued-on tires.

Or a consumer electronics device that has to be disposed of when the battery wears out, impossible to replace.

Read the whole article. It’s full of interesting nuggets. I’d change that title though. To me, the lack of repairability is front and center.

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