CHICAGO (CBS) — As millions of Apple iPhones are requiring software upgrades this week, CBS 2 is uncovering major problems for another Apple brand.
As CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported, AirPods are coming under fire for losing power – fast. And there’s no cheap fix.
Three years ago, Apple declared in its advertising that it believed in a wireless future – and that was before small white cylinders started dropping from our ears. The advertising was sleek and attuned to selling us something we didn’t know we wanted.
Well, the tune has changed.
“It’s much worse,” said one AirPods user. “I’ve had them now for two years now, and it just – I’m not impressed.”
“I don’t know if it’s me actually noticing it or if it’s just coincidence,” another AirPods user said.
A coincidence it is not. On Apple Forums, a user writes, “My iPods are draining fast,” next to a photo where the maximum charge peaks out at 74 percent.
“The guy had a hard drive issue,” said technician Jeff Lundquist.
From his shop in Orland Park, Experimax, Lundquist repairs everything from big Apple laptops to smaller wristwatches and TV remotes.
But at Experimax, AirPods are off the table.
“We started doing them when they first came out, so we were kind of at the forefront of that, and since we did damage a few pairs, I kind of just nipped that in the bud right away and stopped doing it,” Experimax said.
The folks at iFixit video opened up the thimble-sized earpieces to show how sensitive they are.
Lundquist said the risk of damage for his shop was about 90 percent because AirPods are so brittle.
We reached out to Apple to explain. They told us: “AirPods should average up to 5hrs listening time and 2hrs talk time with a single full charge. If that has diminished significantly, service will need to be set up.”
What about when users complain?
“When I first got it, it lasted for, I don’t know, all day it felt like,” a man said. “Now it feels like half the day.”
As for that, Apple said, “A technician will have to evaluate the AirPods to let you know the exact issue with the battery.”
Apple will replace batteries, but they cost $49 for each AirPod.
Earphones worth $160 that lose juice after two years may lose loyal Apple customers if a fix doesn’t come soon.
“I’ve got to think about it this time,” an AirPods user said. “I know there are a lot of other options out there right now.”
Some who swim in tech waters regularly say the flaw may be a feature to Apple. Requiring new $160 trinkets every couple of years may be good for business.