Apple AirPods are finally here. Eager to see what’s inside, we ripped them open like expectant children on Christmas morning. And like children, we cried a little when we opened the box: the inside is a series of little boards, interconnected by origami-folded ribbon cables, soldered together into one hot mess. And the charging case isn’t any better. All in all, accessing any component—including the batteries in the case and in the ‘Pods—is impossible without total destruction.
We talk about repair a lot, and there’s a reason for that—it’s good for consumers and good for the environment, just like recycling. Usually, being repairable goes hand in hand with being more recyclable. The easier it is to untangle the parts, the easier the device is to recycle. When products are glued shut and soldered together, like the AirPods, it costs recyclers more than they can earn from recovered materials. If AirPods are Apple’s new standard earbud, they’ll sell hundreds of millions of them. That’s millions of AirPods that are, essentially, disposable.
Apple AirPods Teardown Highlights:
Check out the full AirPods teardown here.