16
Condor
2y

Recently I've had some Airpod knockoffs in the mail for about €8 while they were in a promotion. They are pretty usable, and while I do not own the authentic Airpods, my unit seems to have all its most important functions that I'd expect of a pair of Bluetooth earbuds (given that I've been using those since 2015 already, so plenty of experience with such things). Given that, the Apple Airpods'd better give me a morning blowjob for their price!

Seriously, what is the point of such Apple earbuds. For me, the important thing is that they are wireless earbuds that can operate independently or in sync as desired. It's earbuds that can be recharged on the go using some kind of portable 3.7V lithium cell in a charging dock that can directly drive the 3.7V cells in the earbuds. That's all.

Bill of materials? 2 tiny Bluetooth controllers, 2 speaker drivers, ABS injection moulding for the charger pocket thingy and the earbuds themselves, a charge controller for the "docking station", and some tiny lithium cells for each, provisioning size-capacity for whatever will still fit. That's all.

Is that worth €150? Like hell it is. And sure some capacitive sensor in the earbud for touch-based control would be useful. But guess what, even that isn't expensive! Capacitive sensing is dirt easy (https://youtu.be/mWR9Q_pTagw), and for something like the Airpods you could probably get away with 3-4 stationary capacitive touch sensor modules. Cost of that per unit if I were to design it and outsource it to China? €15 at best. Yet Apple charges €150-something for their Airpods. What the fuck?!

Comments
  • 3
    I never understood the point of the airpods. They look like they would be easy to lose in a crowd. I've been using an lg headset for 3 years and i like it besides the fucking proprietary library called gaia but that's a rant by itself
  • 2
    @PerfectAsshole as far as losing them goes, I've found that it's mainly determined by the greasiness of my ears. Ear cleaning before wearing them seems to be mandatory to ensure good stability. Given that though, they seem to stay in reasonably well.
  • 2
    @Condor that's good to know. Might look into them when i decide to replace my headset
  • 2
    I've been thinking about getting the B&O E8 bluetooth ear buds, because music is really important to me. They cost a bit, though.
  • 1
    @Condor I have them because I got them from my work. I have to say I'm happy with them, they never fall out or something. But yeah that's what you expect for such a prize
  • 2
    A lot of the cost comes from the proprietary comms chip they’re putting in their BT stuff lately (W1/2?).

    And I do wish people would stop seeing the price of something as *only* being materials, you’ve got supply chain costs, R&D costs and everything.

    But aye, a company with a war chest the size of theirs could let off the pricing a bit and still be fine, they do largely charge what they charge because they can. 🤷‍♂️
  • 3
    well, first and all. Everything is worth what people are willing to pay.

    See, i have this fine blue bill of money..people give me goods "worth" 20 € for it.

    And then i have this red bill, its almost the same, yet people only want to give me 10 € for it.

    I play MtG..some cards are "worth" 50 €, others not even a single cent even if i would find someone to pay for it.

    Same is true for art. And so on.

    You might argue that a product needs materials and such, but its very much the same.

    On another node, there is a certain cost of marketing, development, testing and of course planning that needs to be offeset. For the same reason knock-offs are cheaper, its not just materials. They already know what design, idea and object to copy. Their R&D is a lot more lean.

    And then you apply 120 Dollar Markup and end up with 150 Dollar Headphones.
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