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Apple Airpods in stores ahead of Christmas, BeatsX faces delays
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Apple Airpods in stores ahead of Christmas, BeatsX faces delays

by Stephen Charlton2016/12/13

The delays are over and the Apple Airpods are hitting stores next week. The controversial Bluetooth design is now on sale on the Apple website, with a promised delivery by Monday, December 19 (date may vary region by region). Commentators suggested Apple were going to miss the Christmas sales period, but it seems the company has just scraped in. An official press release states the Airpods will arrive next week at “Apple Stores, Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers.”

Apple AirPods roll out in 100 countries

You can expect to pick up the Bluetooth earphones and the included charging case for $159 USD ($229 AUD).  Apple are doing a global rollout for 100 countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico, France, India, Germany, Netherlands, UAE, UK and US.

These little earphones have caused quite a stir in the tech world. When the iPhone 7 launched in September, Apple promised the AirPods would be available the following month. In November Apple admitted the product had been delayed but didn’t provide a release date.

The AirPod design requires both earpieces to pick up a Bluetooth signal, while traditional designs only require one earpiece to pick up the signal. Commentators have speculated technical issues relating to synching the output of audio for both earpieces led to the delays.

Apple missing the Christmas shopping period an “absolute black eye”

Apple airpods earpods wireless headphones beats charging case

The Apple AirPods with the included charging case.

Missing much of the Christmas shopping period was a major failure for Apple. Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Patrick Moorhead said it’s an “absolute black eye that they missed the holidays.”

Further controversy was caused by the suggestion that the golf tee-sized AirPods would be quickly and easily lost. This seems a fair complaint, as unlike most headphones there’s no linking cable to prevent them slipping behind cushions and the like. Apple of course is known as an innovator, so time will tell if this “innovation” pays off.

The AirPods play an important part in the release of the iPhone 7, which infamously does not feature a 3.5mm headphone jack. The standard EarPods which ship with the iPhone 7 connect via the phone’s Lightning jack. This leaves the customer without the ability to charge their phone while using the EarPods. We all know battery life is a most precious resource, so naturally a number of consumers weren’t happy about this choice.

BeatsX wireless earphones release lags until February

The Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones and Powerbeats3 earphones have hit stores already. The other wireless earphone announced at the iPhone 7 launch, the BeatsX, has faced delays however. Apple recently updated their listing for the BeatsX, stating that they will be “coming February”.

Apple had initially kept tightlipped about the release date. They eventually updated their site after authorized Apple retailer B&H Photo Video advised BeatsX preorder buyers over the weekend that the BeatX will not be shipped for “at least two or three months.” Since then Apple appear to have set a firmer date for the release.

Apple W1 chip leads to battery life advances

The three Beats headphone releases as well as the AirPods will be powered by Apple’s W1 chip. The new design provides rapid pairing, highly reliable wireless connection and more efficient power use. The W1 is the reason behind the huge battery life increases for this generation of Apple headphones. The Beats Solo3 Wireless, Powerbeats3 and BeatsX boast 40, 12 and 8 hours of battery life respectively. The Apple AirPods provide five hours of battery life, and the included charging case allows you to extend this to more than 24 hours on the go.

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About The Author
Stephen Charlton
Stephen Charlton is a musician, journalist and editor.

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