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Apple’s new AirPods Pro are sure to be a hit success. After all, they’re following in the footsteps of the original AirPods, which have easily risen to become the dominant true wireless earbuds on the market, but they also check all the right boxes in terms of adding the new features that many folks have been waiting for, and even some — like a better fit — that kept some of us away from the originals.
However, like the classic AirPods, the new AirPods Pro are also saddled with a problem that’s all too common to earphones — and especially true wireless ones: They’re very easy to lose or break.
While the AirPods Pro have a higher price tag to match the new features and the “Pro” designation, it’s actually not a huge jump on the surface. The second-generation AirPods with Wireless Charging Case sell for $199, so you’re only paying $50 more to get active noise-cancellation and a much better in-ear design.
AirPods Pro Repair and Replacement Costs
It seems that what has increased, however, is the repair and replacement costs.
With the standard Apple AirPods, you could replace a broken earbud for only $69, while replacing the standard charging case or wireless charging case would run you $59 or $69, respectively.
Purchasing a replacement for a lost or stolen AirPod or standard charging case is the same price, while for whatever reason, replacing a wireless charging case costs $10 more, at $79.
For the new AirPods Pro, Apple has upped these prices by $20 across the board.
This means that a replacement AirPod Pro earbud will run you $89, while a replacement Wireless Charging Case for the AirPods Pro goes up to $89 if damaged, or $99 if lost or stolen. There is of course no standard charging case for the AirPods Pro.
This means that replacing the entire kit would actually cost more — $267 — than it would to simply buy a new pair of AirPods Pro at $249.
It’s worth mentioning here that Apple doesn’t repair AirPods in the traditional sense. If you bring in a broken AirPod, Apple simply swaps it out for a replacement, and unlike a device like the iPhone, it’s not worth Apple’s efforts to try and repair or refurbish an AirPod. This is why the replacement costs are the same regardless of whether you show up with a broken AirPod or simply show up looking to replace a lost one. The $10 difference for the wireless charging case suggests that this particular component might be at least somewhat salvageable by Apple.
One piece of good news in this is that battery service costs remain the same for the AirPods Pro as for the standard AirPods, which is $49 across the board for each AirPod or any of the charging cases.
Of course, if your AirPods batteries are found to be defective — holding less than 80 percent of their original capacity — during the warranty period, Apple will replace it for free.
AppleCare+ for Headphones
Last month, Apple announced a new AppleCare+ for Headphones program, which applies to all of the headphones that Apple makes, including not only the standard AirPods, but also Beats earphones, Beats headphones, and of course the new AirPods Pro.
As with AppleCare+ for other Apple products, the new plan for headphones provides up to two years of coverage for warranty issues, as well as covering two incidents of accidental damage.
Most significantly, this reduces the cost of replacing a damaged AirPod or charging case down to a flat $29 fee, regardless of the model. Considering that the AppleCare+ plan itself is only $29, this means that you’d be saving money even if you only broke one of your AirPods once.
That said, there is one big catch to AppleCare+ for Headphones — while you get two incidents of accidental damage coverage, this does not cover loss or theft of your AirPods. In other words, even with AppleCare+, unless you can hand Apple back a broken AirPod or charging case, you’ll be paying the full $89–$99 replacement cost.
Still, the extra $29 seems like a very good idea for something like the AirPods Pro, which are much more likely to get damaged, and if you’re ordering yours directly from Apple, you can add it to your shopping cart right at checkout.
However, if you’ve already ordered your AirPods Pro and either forgot to do so or didn’t think you needed it, don’t worry — you can still purchase AppleCare+ for Headphones up to 60 days from the date of your purchase.
If you live near an Apple Store, you can take them in for inspection, and if not, you can call Apple and they’ll run a remote diagnostic to confirm that you have them and they’re working properly.
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