Of AirPods – useful and simple

What do you have to say about AirPods? I see them as useful and simple. I have tried earphones, headphones, and Bluetooth variants. With some earphones, I found that they hurt my ears. With others, I found that they slipped out too easily. With yet more, I found that the noise cancellation feature was unpleasant. All in all, AirPods are still the earphones that I prefer.

Earphones and headphones are curious, because we may keep them with us every day for weeks, months or even years. Eventually, they break. The most common problem that I had with earphones is that the solder from the speaker in the earpiece to the cord would detach. Another problem, with headphones, was that the soft fabric would wear out and break.

With work headphones, I found that the leather/plastic part that rests on ears gets warm and unpleasant after hours of wear. My favourite headphones were Koss headphones. They folded into a little egg. One day I was opening them before a shoot and they snapped and I was sad. They were the best headphones I ever owned. They were also the most expensive. They were given.

As I slipped from cassette players to minidisc and CD players to iPods, Symbian devices, android devices and iPhones I have usually used the earphones that came with the device and i never bothered to put the plastic fabric on the earpieces.

Recently the left ear on my AirPods died and so for a few days I tried the various earphones I have, to see if one would be an apt replacement. I lost the habit of hearing the noise of the cable that runs from the earphones to the device it’s plugged into. I could hear it rubbing against my collar, against my sweater and against the coats I’ve been wearing. I don’t know whether that was an issue a few years ago. I don’t know whether it’s because the earphones are relatively old or whether I’m more demanding.

Replacing AirPods

Replacing AirPods is not as easy as switching from a wired charging case to a wireless one. Apple’s website makes buying new charging cases a matter of a few seconds.

The journey to replace AirPods is more complicated. To replace AirPods you have three options. The chat window, a phone call, or going to the shop in person. The chat experience was bad. The first time I tried I got disconnected because it took me too long to find the serial number.

In the second case, the experience was bad because I gave the serial number and a description of the problem but the person or bot kept asking questions as if my simple sentence had not answered the question. “My AirPods are at least two years old and the left ear has stopped working” . “Ok, can we do a diagnostic test?”

When you’re a geek, and when you’ve tried pairing the AirPods, and you’ve tried following their suggestions to resolve the problem before joining the chat it’s frustrating. It’s also frustrating because AirPods are 75 CHF per ear so you’re speaking about 150 CHF to replace something that costs 169 CHF to buy new if I remember correctly.

Due to the current health situation, and due to having to schedule a meeting with a genius I decided that going to the Apple store to resolve this issue was not worth the time.

Buying a New Pair

As I browsed various online stores I saw that Mediamarkt had new pairs for 129 CHF instead of 159 CHF. For 179 CHF I could have upgraded to wireless charging. I didn’t go for this option because I hardly ever use wireless charging. The charging case needs to be charged every few days so wireless charging is uninteresting. I use wireless charging for the phone infrequently.

The Upside

I decided to replace my iPhone SE because the battery was beginning to weaken and the screen touch interface was not as responsive as it used to be. With the AirPods, I have once again used a device until it was at the end of its useful life. If buying new AirPods was as simple as buying a charging case I would have kept the right ear and charging case. I have broken the habit of buying something new just because I wanted to try something new.

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