The worst has happened, you clumsy oaf, you’ve only gone and lost one of your precious Apple AirPods: now we know how much a replacement AirPod will cost you. The Cupertino company’s wireless headphones are undoubtedly one of the must-have gifts this holiday season, at least for the avid iPhone and Mac users in your life, but their diminutive size and lack of wires also makes them something of a liability. Small things are easily lost, after all.
Apple’s AirPods design – which follows in the mold of the wired EarPods it still bundles in the box with a new iPhone – lacks any sort of rubbery tip to keep it lodged in your ear canal. If you’re one of the people whose ears are the right shape to keep Apple’s design in place, you shouldn’t have a problem; indeed, the lack of a headphone cable tugging down on them might make them even more secure. If, however, you’re not so aurally ergonomic, you may end up with a constant fear of having one of the lightweight earbuds simply drop out.
Yes, you could tether them together with a third-party accessory, but we can’t really see many people opting for that. After all, one of the whole points of the AirPods are that you do away with cords and cables. Fixing on a strap is entirely at odds with that.
So, if the worst happens, do you have to buy a whole new set of AirPods, complete with charging case? At $169 that would be an expensive proposition, assuming you could even find any in-stock. If you didn’t get your order in early – by which we basically mean within thirty minutes of them going on sale just a few days ago – you’re now looking at a six week wait.
Some will be showing up in Apple Stores and at authorized resellers next week, meanwhile. However the expectation is that supplies will be extremely limited. Indeed, this may be the first time we’ve seen significant lines outside Apple Stores for some time.
Happily Apple will sell you an individual AirPod earbud. That’ll cost $69, plus a $6.95 shipping fee; it’s unclear whether you’ll be able to buy a replacement at a brick & mortar Apple Store. If you lose your charging case, that’ll also be $69 to replace.
Apple will also offer a battery service option. While unusual reductions in battery life are covered by the AirPods warranty, typical reduction in listening time (which is natural with any li-ion battery) isn’t. If you want new batteries, that’ll cost $49 for each AirPod and $49 for the charging case: altogether, a not-inconsiderable $147.
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Although it’s not as cheap as some might’ve hoped for, it’s nonetheless good to know that if you’re clumsy or just unlucky you won’t be forced to listen to everything in mono until you can afford a whole new set of AirPods. Of course, with just one AirPod in your ear, you can still listen to music and make voice calls; that’s one of the upsides to Apple’s decision to have each earpiece connect individually, rather than to each other.
Thanks to everyone who sent this in!