This is a crime against the planet
More of these things will end up in landfill - increasing Apple's income as a new one is bought, damaging the planet with waste electronics.
This is why a right to repair law is so very much needed.
If you've got any money left over from your purchase of AirPods Max, you might want to save it. Battery replacements won't come cheap, with Apple charging £309 in the UK – or roughly 56 per cent of the original headphones. This is more than three times the cost of obtaining a battery service in the US, where an out-of-warranty …
Apple's whole business is built upon dumping old shite. Granted their kit lasts well but Apple aren't interested what you do with their kit 2 years after you've bought it, chuck off the nearest cliff for all they care, just buy the lastest version. Oddly I like their kit, it's nice but I won't buy any of it simply because their business is based on constant and unflinching need to have you dump your old kit every 2 years and trade up to the point where they will not fix, upgrade, support or even offer parts or repair for anything older than 2 years.
You're wrong. Apple products are supported far longer than any other comparable manufacturer.
Five years is typical for iPhones and Macs.
iPhone 6s released 2015, and 2015 Macbooks still supported by latest iOS and MacOS.
Plus all their kit is made to be recyclable and toxin free.
Name any other consumer computer hardware vendor that comes close to Apple for long-term product support.
"Name any other consumer computer hardware vendor that comes close to Apple for long-term product support."
If you're OK going with PC components ...
* some ASUS motherboards have 5 year warranties
* WD Black HDDs have 5 year warranties
* Samsung "Pro" SSDs have 10 year warranties
* EVGA offer a 5 year extended warranty on GPUs
* Corsair, EVGA, and Seasonic have 7-10 year warranties on some ranges of their PSUs
Yeah, so easy to call upon that warranty, just take your MB along to the local ASUS store and.... Likewise all the others there. They bank on the barrier of having to write, ship etc. being too much work and it being easier for you to just replace. Compare that to just booking a slot at the nearest Apple Store (ok, difficult in some places).
And watch them claim that a Mac isn't repairable because of the screen although they could replace the screen but it would cost just a little under the price of a new Mac. Only for said Mac to be taken to Louise Rossmann shop and find the only thing wrong with it was the screen connector.
The level service depends on the company. The last item I had that failed under warranty was a top end Logitech web cam. I contacted support, told them that I'd tried it on two different computers, and the audio didn't work, meanwhile my other identical web cam worked fine on both. So they just shipped me a new one and never even asked for the old one back.
"2015 Macbooks still supported by latest iOS and MacOS"
My 2009 Lenovo is supported by the latest Windows 10 version *and* the battery is fully user-serviceable. After swapping to an SSD, it's still fine for lightweight work as well. Your argument works for the iPhone because Google is a bit shit, but there's nothing especially durable about Mac hardware vs. similarly specced PC hardware. The reason most laptops get tossed in less than 5 years is because they're sub-£400 trash.
As regards Android software updates, it's not so much Google who are a bit shit (they actually want all their users to be on a current version) but the original equipment manufacturers (who would rather your phone vendor buy new chips from them) not bothering to release binary blobs.
Google inherited Android with inherent issues that made updates relient on hardware vendors, so if they are to blame then it is for rushing Android to market to compete with iOS. This mistake Google haven't made with ChromeOS.
I've had my Thinkpad W530 since about 2013 or 2014. Its battery is now useless, pretty much, its hard drive was going super slow. So I put an 1TB SSD in it and it's as good as new. It just stays on mains power all the time and with the 16GB of RAM, runs a few VMs and can play basic games. Its great.
I don't do Apple but recently had to help a friend sort out a newish Apple Laptop and an older iPad. Until this point I had believed all the stuff about longevity etc.
The iPad would not run the Apps we needed it to run because iOS was too old. We tried to update it and it stopped a couple of versions below current. The required Apps still would not run. I don't know the vintage of the iPad but for the purposes that we needed, it was still and expensive piece of hardware that is crippled due to software. Sure you get the same thing with Android but at least you can generally reflash them with one of the open builds.
> This is a crime against the planet
Really? I'd have supposed that a pair of expensive headphones will be kept for longer and taken better care of (including being serviced when appropriate) than a cheap pair of headphones.
If you're actually serious about sustainability issues then you'll do the analysis properly - if only to better support the position you've taken.
And analysis of a complex situation is not simple, duh.
So yes, the manufacture of silicon chips uses about about ten times the energy than a plain metal part of the same mass, and silicon chips aren't necessary for headphones. Conversely, noise cancelling headphones are used by people to make travel on public transport more enjoyable - a car driver has less use for them. Wireless headphones aren't prone to damaged cables, the chief cause of failure in the dozens of headphones I've owned.
And how quickly will a device that is only charged a couple of times a week (twenty hour battery life) get through its roughly 1000 cycles and thus require a £75 battery replacement?
Nor is it a given that products that are beyond economic repair will go to landfill - they can be dismantled for partial recycling. This is more likely if they are constructed of materials such as aluminium, and that enough units are returned that dismantling process becomes more efficient.
> Really? I'd have supposed that a pair of expensive headphones will be kept for longer and taken better care of (including being serviced when appropriate) than a cheap pair of headphones.
These are expensive headphones that rely on a Li battery to work, which has a limited lifespan, as well as the usual headphone speaker gubbins. Use & recharge it every day for a couple of years and see what the performance is like then - at that point it becomes paperweight/landfill.
I don't think I've ever owned a pair of wired headphones that didn't last a few years - even the ones I used while regularly running (exposed to sweat/rain/mechanical strain)
> Use & recharge it every day for a couple of years
That would require me to use them for 20 hours a day, everyday. Even someone using them for a commute and a full day of ignoring their office would only be charging them two or three times a week.
So, every three years you are compelled to spend ten percent of their purchase price to have them serviced... that does not mean you have to take them to be recycled, let alone throw them in the bin.
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Apple will gladly sell AirPods Max customers an extended two-year AppleCare warranty, which covers battery replacements.
Surely in the UK if you buy from apple you're bound by the consumer rights act, and if my 600 quid headphones stopped working after 2 years (battery or otherwise), I'd be expecting a much cheaper or (if in the first 12 months) free repair or replacement.
Statutory rights are worth knowing.
Battery longevity isn't the only thing that will determine the useful lifespan of the AirPods Max. Remember: they're tied to Apple's wider device ecosystem, and will only work on specific versions of macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS.
Is there a source for this? The AirPods are bluetooth, and can be paired with regular bluetooth equipment. It would seem odd to change this for the Max??
(IANAL) Batteries are consumable items and therefore not covered under consumer rights law. The consumer rights act covers for manufacturing defects present at the time of purchase - the word of the law is that in the first 6 months, the manufacturer/retailer is responsible for proving there is no defect with an item. Most (as I understand it) retailers/manufacturers will extend this to a year with a standard 1 year warranty.
Over 6 months (or outside the warranty period), the responsibility falls upon the consumer to prove there was a defect present at the time of purchase.
Unlike the other components that, aside from reasonable wear and tear, one would expect them to be free from defects, a battery will have a limited life - both in terms of age and the number of re-charges it can take. The specification would likely span a range, but even then, how does one prove that a defect existed at the time of purchase, especially considering that disassembly currently appears to be a one way street?
When it comes to batteries, what even constitutes a defect? Sure, if a battery has a thermal overload, that's pretty cut and dry, but how many charges can the battery take? That depends on how it has been manufactured - If a manufacturer decides to push their batteries further, it means they can hold more charge but last for less cycles, and vice versa. That would be the choice of the manufacturer, not a sign of a defect.
"Batteries are consumable items and therefore not covered under consumer rights law"
Nope, they are still covered - there is no "consumable exclusion"
"The consumer rights act covers for manufacturing defects present at the time of purchase - the word of the law is that in the first 6 months, the manufacturer/retailer is responsible for proving there is no defect with an item"
That's basically correct, although I believe the term is "inherrent defect". Note the inherrant defects can be cosmetic flaws, manufacturing defects, or the goods not being sufficiently durable (lasting for a reasonable time). Note the last one.
"When it comes to batteries, what even constitutes a defect? ... but how many charges can the battery take?"
Honestly, it's based on the length of time it lasted for, and the amount paid. If your £10 wireless headphones fail after 10 charges, that's fine (legally, not environmentally). If your £1,000 wireless headphones fail after 25 charges, that's a problem.
Aa battery that is not readily user replaced, when it has a short lifespan, with exorbitant replacement is totally dubious IMHO. Its a guaranteed failure at some point in future so should be cheap and easy to replace. - need some decent consumer law to stop this issue of near impossible to home repair (for the average purchaser) kit.
But how much does this battery actually cost to make. $4, maybe $6.
I have a set of Logiteck wireless headphones with a user replaceable battery. Cannot find OEM ones but they seem to range from $10 plus.
Apple sure seems to gouge their customers. But to be fare you could put HP in the same category as Apple.
"and how many are going to take YEARS to fight their way through the courts to win against apple (MAYBE) to get such charge reduced?"
Nobody goes to court against Apple for something like that. You make an appointment at an Apple Store, and they fix it. Their rule is "customer pays a lot of money, so we make the customer happy". The also have a rule "we don't take no shit", so coming in shouting won't help you (and interestingly you won't get into their stores without a face mask, no way, same rule). Several relatives have had things replaced long after the two years period by asking nicely.
This has been my experience too, on a number of occasions.
I was going to the Apple store for something or other, and a friend had booked a £79 replacement of an iPod his daughter had dropped down the loo, but being a three hour drive each way, he asked if I'd take it for him, and stuffed the iPod (thankfully in a bag!) and some cash into my grubby little paws. At the shop, I made myself known to the staff, and they turned up with a big red "BIOHAZARD" bag (!) into which the iPod was placed, and handed me a shiny new replacement, for the grand total of nowt, zilch, zip, nada.
Second example, my 15" MBP needed a keyboard replacement at around 18 months old. I took it in, and ended up with new keyboard, battery, mouse pad and a piece of case replaced as it was scuffed, again for a grand total of none of our finest british pounds.
Another example - the Mrs had an iPhone 4 which was doing something daft like showing missed calls that it hadn't rang for. Vodafone were their usual incompetent self, but we happened to be on holiday in Belfast and walking past the apple shop, so popped in for a quick chat. Half an hour later, out we came with a replacement phone and all her data copied over, no questions, no fees.
It seems that they can be pretty good about keeping the customer happy, but it always helps to be nice!
How long will it take to win in court.
"Small claims" court. They won't bother to turn up / defend, they may settle out out of court.
It's not worth their time or money fighting.
Done it with some major companies before, will do again.
Obviously try customer services a few times. But after they've fobbed you off a few times, do the following (in the UK at least...)
Send them an email, with a heading "Letter Before Action".
Tell them what they've done wrong.
Tell them what you want in compensation.
Don't be greedy, and ensure you have evidence of what they've done.
Say that if they don't respond within 14 days, you'll be contacting the small claims court "with no further reference to yourselves."
And nine times out of ten, you'll get a response within 72 hours with an offer to settle.
Fact check ahoy! Apple currently charges the following prices for chargers:
USB-C: £49 for the 30W; £69 for the 61W; £79 for the 96W.
MagSafe 1 or 2: £79 for any of them.
In the US, replace the £ with a $ and add your local taxes.
Some people complain about the loss of MagSafe, but I think it's fantastic — those chargers seemed to have terribly flimsy cables that for me rarely lasted more than 18 months, whereas the USB-C cables plug in at both ends.
They're also standard USB-C chargers so you don't even have to pay crazy Apple prices if you do need to replace, e.g. the cheapest 30W USB-C charger on Amazon US right now is $17, close to being two-thirds cheaper than the Apple equivalent, and the cheapest thing to offer at least 96W is $32, less than half the Apple option.
Nothing you can easily do about those soldered-in batteries though.
"Nothing you can easily do about those soldered-in batteries though."
I've not looked, but I bet you can get external batteries for laptops like the "power bank" things they sell for phones. Possibly even designed to fit on the bottom or otherwise attach to the laptop or even specific models and connect to the charging port. Ostensibly for extra time away from power points, but might be cheaper, if uglier, than a proper replacement battery.
> I've not looked, but I bet you can get external batteries for laptops like the "power bank" things they sell for phones.
Yes, such things as exist with USB C PD of a sufficient power for laptops. As one would expect they are fairly bulky and not cheap. There is a market for them, but ultimately they fill a niche of people who are away from a power grid *and* away from from a vehicle (internal combustion or electric) for several days *and* require a laptop. Who fulfils these criteria? Field researchers, perhaps, or military... but for multiple recharges you'd probably start looking at the greater energy density of fuel cells or a generator.
If your vehicle is a horse and you think you've found a socket to plug in a 12v power adaptor - don't.
Yeah, some people really mourn the loss of Magsafe. They're not wrong, but newer MacBooks require charging less often. So, the total embuggerance is equal to the faffiness of of an operation multiplied by the frequency of the operation.
It's like Apple's mouse with the charging socket in the underside so it can't be used whilst charging. Okay, but to have a mouse with no charge means that you've haven't charged it for months, and ignored prompts by the OS to charge the mouse for several weeks.
Similarly, 'recharging' (replacing the battery in) my Casio watch is a bit of the bugger since I must take the watch to a shop, but I only need to do it every few years. Total embuggerance is low.
Now my phone battery is failing, it needs plugging in several times a day. USB C saves me a bit of faff compared to Micro USB, this saving of faff is multiplied by six times a day.
It's like Apple's mouse with the charging socket in the underside so it can't be used whilst charging. Okay, but to have a mouse with no charge means that you've haven't charged it for months, and ignored prompts by the OS to charge the mouse for several weeks.
Whatever happened to charge and use at the same time? Would you like to have to turn your iPhone off to charge it?
"Whatever happened to charge and use at the same time? Would you like to have to turn your iPhone off to charge it?"
The point is that you need to plug the charger in _at the bottom_ of the mouse, so you can't have the mouse lying on the table. If you place it on a little box with the cable hanging down, it still works, just a bit impractical. But then 5 minutes charges the mouse enough to get you to your next break.
> Would you like to have to turn your iPhone off to charge it?
The difference, from an embuggerance perspective, is that a few minutes charge will let your mouse run for hours - it uses far less power than a phone. But again - if you have a flat battery in your mouse it means that you haven't casually topped it up for a month or two, and then you've just plain ignored a week of 'low mouse battery' prompts from MacOS.
Anyway, it's a an easy equation to grok: total faff / year = unit faff x frequency. Which is why the battery on my drill is very easy to swap (several times a day), my flashlight batteries are easy to swap but take a smidge longer (say one a week), battery in car requires tools ( every couple of years).
And if the mouse's USB port were somewhere normal then you could even use your computer and charge the mouse at the same time.
The best thing to do would be bin the Apple mouse and get a Logitech one which just works (tm). Apple have never been able to design a mouse without screwing something up somewhere.
Please be careful with 'knock-off' versions of electrical products. It may not have been tested or designed to western safety standards. There was an incident a few years ago when a child got a 'knock-off' charger for his phone and it shorted out, killing him with the electric shock. It had all the right embossed certifications on the outside, but none of the safety on the inside.
Apple has a good record on replacing at leat one 'knock-off' charger for a reasonable amount:
But you don't have to buy "knockoff" to save over Apple prices, certainly for something like a charger. You may not save quite as much, and it may not look as pretty, but you should be able to find something with the same specification for less money and with genuine certifications if you buy from a UK or EU-based company with a reputation to maintain and regulators to keep them on their toes.
That said, there isn't a massive market for third-party 95W USB C chargers at the moment...
I did find this though - three USB-A charging ports capable of 2.4A @5V and a USB-C port capable of 60W. A shade under £40 from CPC. It may be from a brand I've never previously heard of, but if CPC are selling it then I can be relatively sure it's legit.
For the record, the brands I saw were Anker and Aukey; I've heard of and used products by the former, and the latter at least passes the sniff test by having a full English-language website with no obvious grammatical or spelling errors and an online store, for which the domain name registration has been the same since 2014.
I agree thoroughly with the advice though — I once bought an off-brand charger for my PowerBook G4, and it killed the thing. Not until it was long obsolete, but nevertheless a completely stupid way to try to save forty quid.
Aukey are good manufacturers too - I have a couple of their USB-C to USB-3 dongles which are tough, tiny and work flawlessly.
I also have a 3rd party power supply that gives 100W on USB-C and has a further 4 USB-A charging ports as well. It’s saved me a few sockets under the desk. Can’t recall the manufacturer and the unit itself is bigger than the Apple 96W unit but as a home item it’s useful.
You haven't bought much from CPC then :P
Joking aside, their prices can be a bit steep, but for that odd bit of something you can't buy anywhere else...
I used to do some work in an office just round the corner from CPCs building, and popped in for bits and bobs occasionally. Lines of poor workers being scanned by security on their way to the butty van to make sure they weren't nicking anything, looked like hell on earth.
Been using CPC for somewhere around 25 years now. Yes, you do have to be careful not to assume their prices are always the best (and remember that the website defaults to ex-VAT), but the same is true of any other company. In general they're pretty good, though they have had a few dreadful stock problems this year exemplified from my point of view by a mis-delivery of some lights (code AB12345 ordered, code AB12354 delivered). Because there were only four in stock when I ordered, and I ordered three, their computer systems insisted that there was only one left in stock, even when the bloke on the phone had (apparently) been down to the warehouse to check the shelves personally.
They took the three wrong lights back and delivered one of the correct ones within a week, but it took another ten weeks (IIRC) for the remaining two to arrive, and then only after they'd had another shipment!
Good lights though, very bright, choice of colour temperatures, similar in look to traditional fluorescents, much better quality and easier to fit than the nearest equivalent product at Screwfix at a similar cost.
USB C Power Delivery is a standard, so a 3rd party USB C PD power adaptor of the appropriate spec isn't 'fake' as such.
However, your caution is merited, since poor quality adaptors do pose a risk. Not only poor quality adaptors, but poor quality USB C cables too. Famously, there was a Google engineer who tested a variety of USB C cables and found many to severely wanting.
Thankfully we have the internet to research reputable brands.
What Apple charge to change an iPhone battery is on par with what Samsung charge for a Galaxy battery replacement. In addition, the iPhone will receive several more years of software updates.
I'm not saying that there isn't room for improvement, but why suggest that Apple stuff doesn't last as long as other stuff when the evidence shows otherwise?
- sent from my Galaxy S8 (which is in need of a new battery)
"At its heart, Apple is a luxury goods manufacturer."
No, at heart they are a bunch of greedy control freaks who consider that when they offer something for sale they are doing you a favour.
On the topic of price being a guide to quality I once had a Rolex Submariner that cost me over £3500 and when I wanted to have it serviced cost me £200. The bloody thing never did keep good time and I was glad to sell it on for £50 more than I paid for it.
The true price of something is what the punter will pay and in Apple's case there are a lot of people with more money than sense.
> As someone who paid over £3500 for a fucking watch you are clearly an expert on having more money than sense.
At least he's capable of simple arithmetic (selling it for what he paid for means his TCO is zero). What flavour of sense can you claim to have if your maths is as poor as you've shown it to be?
Sorry Dave, you don’t get to play bullshit TCO games. He spent that in the first place, and the claim is sold due to the maintenance costs. Clearly thinking it was initially worth it. Just because he found a bigger mug doesn’t mean he wasn’t also at least a teacup.
Any watch that costs that much is a pure vanity purchase to say look how much money I have. The dictionary definition of more money than sense.
Question, do you think macos/ios decode the audio then encode with a shitty bluetooth codec? No. For music they will send over the raw AAC stream and let the headphones decode it, i.e. no loss of quality beyond the lossy compression used in the first place.
The in ear AirPods do not have great quality, although they are reasonable, because they are fucking small, nothing to do with bluetooth, simple physics. These are not in ear though, they are not as easy to lose as they sit on your fucking head.
There is a bluetooth audio standard. Which sucks. Or more polite, isn't as good as it could be.
However, if you connect Apple made airpods to an Apple made phone or computer, they don't use the bluetooth audio standard. Airpods understand AAC and they understand the Apple Lossless codec, so your phone or Mac will use these to send music to the phone. AAC if it is AAC music, Apple Lossless if it is Apple Lossless music, or just any sound that your phone is playing.
The market "leaders" in terms of sound/build quality and battery life are the Sony WH1000XM3/4 or B&O Beoplay H9s. Both cost less than the Apple equivalent (or even an Apple battery replacement) brand new, have better battery life and better sound.
Replacing the Sony battery - with a spudger and a single Phillips screwdriver, you can easily get to the battery yourself and replace it with 5-10 mins of effort. Replacement batteries cost about £34 for Sony branded part, or £20 for a no-name equivalent.
The B&O battery replacement is even easier - no tools needed, just open the compartment and remove the battery. Replacements cost about £40 for the B&O official battery (direct from B&O's website), £20ish for a no-brand version.
Both manufacturers use a standardised battery model that fits most of their previous versions too. I know where I'd be voting with my wallet.
The corrected price for Apple is £75; suppose you spent £25 on the physical battery then you could spend close to six hours when you'd otherwise be working, before hitting the Apple replacement cost.
Supposing you can figure it out in one hour, you need to be earning close to £100,000/year for the spudger solution not to be a saving.
Apple's new headphones have a few features that others don't have:
1. In addition to noise cancellation, they have a "transparency" mode which actually amplifies outside noise, so you can hear your environment exactly the same as without headphones. Recommended if you walk around with your headphones on in London and don't want to get flattened by some car, or if you are at work and want to hear your co-workers. Without anyone hearing your music.
2. They have an equaliser that (supposedly) checks out how the headphones fit around your ears and adjusts the sound optimally.
3. The head phones (supposedly) react to your head movements. So if you listened to music from an orchestra, located apparently in front of you, and you move your head to the right, the sound is changed so that orchestra doesn't swing around in front of you, but stays where it is.
That's the kind of stuff a computer maker can do that a manufacturer of audio equipment can't. Since I haven't tried any of these out, I cannot say at all if this works and if the headphones are worth their money, but sound quality isn't everything, and I wouldn't put it past Apple to create competive sound quality.
Noise cancelling relies on the headphones taking into account the environmental noise (and adding an additional noise designed to cancel it out), which means a microphone is needed to detect environmental noise and a digital signal processor (DSP) is used to analyse and produce the correct sound needed to cancel or minimise it. The transparency feature just involves passing the environmental sound through into the audio feed without any processing to eliminate unwanted background noise. It's a common feature on nearly every ANC headphone I've looked at (before buying the Sony pair I decided on). It's also why most active noise cancelling headphones allow you to use them as a bluetooth hands-free, the microphone is already integrated into the headset.
As for equalisation/calibration, most decent noise cancelling headphones require this for the functionality to work properly. I can't speak for the rival manufacturers but the Sony ones even take into account atmospheric conditions (altitude, air pressure).
This is bread and butter stuff for audio equipment manufacturers, noise cancelling is just a form of audio signal processing. Audio manufacturers have decades of experience with integrating DSP into their products. With the exception of the spatial sound location feature you refer to (which I'll admit sounds interesting), none of the features Apple are launching with their new cans are either new or groundbreaking.
The typo is fixed now. £75 for battery service.
I know this is the Reg and all, but that was a petty and snarky article based on an obvious typo. The usual suspects love it though, so it brought in the clicks, and that's all that matters.
The price in Germany is only 82€. As we are all part of the EU, just hop on over the channel and get it replaced on the mainland... Oh, wait! Doh! Brexit strikes again!
I'm pretty sure it must be a typo, or the US-UK tariffs have been struck and there is a huge levy on batteries.
That said, the Max is cheaper in the UK than mainland Europe, so there is some consolation there.
Realistically, nobody who buys these headphones in the UK right now should _pay_ for a battery replacement for the next two years. So Apple has about two years to fix the price unless they really want to charge that much.
The price for these headphones is a bit on the high side. My current headphones are just slightly cheaper (the complete headphones are less than the US price for battery replacement). Having the choice between noise cancellation and a mode where I can hear anything around me is nice, but not worth _that_ much money. And the weight is very much on the heavy side. 350 grams or so on my head is too much. And then of course the fact that I wouldn't spend that money without trying them out and listening with a selection of my favourite music. Quite difficult at the moment.
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