AirPods Pro debuted earlier this week as the upgrade to the existing AirPods with active noise cancellation. While there are significant design changes in the new AirPods model over what we saw earlier, they are as bad as their predecessors when it comes to repairability. A teardown conducted by iFixit highlights that the AirPods Pro headphones come with a “glued-together design” that makes them “impractical” and “uneconomical” to repair. This sounds similar not just to the first-generation AirPods but also second-generation, AirPods 2 that were unveiled back in March.
The teardown by iFixit shows that there are several design changes in the AirPods Pro over the earlier AirPods versions. The battery on the new model is glued just under the earpiece. Instead of a long battery pack, the AirPods Pro include a button cell, similar to what’s available on the Samsung Galaxy Buds. The earbuds also include a mysterious black rectangle chip that could be the force sensor.
Under its case, the AirPods Pro have a battery with increased capacity from 1.52Whr to 1.98Whr featured on the earlier model.
However, Apple doesn’t underline any changes in terms of battery life. The new model is touted to deliver the same five hours of listening time or 4.5 hours with active noise cancellation.
The case of the AirPods Pro is also found to be an as “tough nut to crack” as its predecessors. There are layers of plastic, stick with adhesives.
Apple has provided a liquid-resistant coating on the AirPods Pro case. Beneath the coating, the teardown shows the presence of Broadcom 59356A2KUBG wireless charging module. This is the same module that featured on the AirPods 2.
All this shows how the Cupertino giant has changed the hardware on the AirPods Pro. But nonetheless, the headphones are still quite hard to repair — if not to quote iFixit, impractical and uneconomical. The team notes that the design makes them semi-serviceable, but the non-modular, glued-together design bring the solid zero repairability score on iFixit’s benchmark. This is identical to the repairability score of the original AirPods and AirPods 2.
The difficulty in repairing of the AirPods Pro pushes customers to look for recycle or participate in the “battery service” programme in case if they face any battery issues in the future.
In a statement to Lauren Goode of Wired, Apple confirmed that the AirPods Pro are “no more repairable than previous versions” of the AirPods.
Having said that, if you’re okay with the lack of repairability, you can pick the AirPods Pro at $249 in the US. They’ll also hit India “soon” with a price tag of Rs. 24,900.