When AirPods was first introduced by Apple, there was no doubt that plenty of questions were raised over the design and whether these earbuds really could stay in-ears. Being Apple though, it didn't take long for the AirPods to become a necessity for Apple users and despite all steps taken to keep AirPods from getting lost, it looks like there's still plenty of issues to consider.
Take for instance the leader of the currently popular K-pop group BTS, Kim Namjoon (better known as RM), who shared that he believes he has lost 33 pairs of AirPods and is currently on his 34th pair. For those unaware, a pair of Airpods costs RM699 and if he's lost 33 of them, that's RM23k spent recovering from this losses.
He's not the only K-Pop artist, or even person in general, to lose their AirPods, and there are no official stats given on how many people have lost their AirPods since it was launched. Apple has offered replacements, and you can even use the Find My app to look for your missing AirPods, and yet even RM has had to continuously buy new ones. Why is this so?
Can't you Find My AirPods?
RM is definitely a superstar in his own right, and as a superstar you're bound to be traveling around a lot. As he travels from one country to the next, it's easy to misplace or lose the AirPods when you're constantly on the move. The Find My app should be helpful for him but there's one major problem; this requires his AirPods to still be connected to another one of his Apple devices. Only then can it get an exact location of where his missing AirPods are.
That's not to say that the Find My app is useless, it can still be used as long as your AirPod is lost within your vicinity. But if you travel a lot, or move to a location where it can't be connected to any of your Apple devices, then it's bad news all around. Cause even if you do have someone left behind who could help you find it, the app still cannot be used to get an exact location.
In RM's case, he's better off buying a new one than spend time finding the ones lost.
What happens to lost or broken AirPods?
Another issue raised is the sustainability of AirPods. The headphones are impossible to bring in for repairs due to their size and engineering, which is why Apple tends to recommend replacing the broken AirPod with a new one. Think all it needs is a battery change? Too bad, it still can't be fixed and you need to buy a new one.
On the bright side, Apple is well known for recycling their broken or old products, so it's not an entirely lost cause. But if they're lost and unable to be found, the question is how it may harm the environment wherever it is. It looks likely that AirPods could end up as a relic on someone's backyard, and maybe if a BTS fan is lucky, they may actually stumble into RM's lost AirPod unknowingly somehow.
Does Apple have a solution for this?
For now, Apple is coming up with a solution in the form of a U1 chip (the U is known as Ultra Wideband) that's already available on the iPhone 11. This chip utilises a mesh network of Apple devices that will work with other Apple devices anonymously to help users who lost their iPhones, iPads, or even AirPods, to get a more pinpoint location of their missing devices. This has been revealed by Apple themselves and has yet to go live, but as always Apple promises it will all remain secure.
This would definitely be a great solution for RM should he lose his 34th pair of AirPods. The downside for AirPods is that if you lost both AirPods in different locations, they only show the location of one of them. So do your best to not lose them all at once. It's a good eye opener for those who own AirPods for sure, but unless we're earning as much as superstars like RM, we can't afford to lose 33 AirPods.