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How Not to Kill a Headphone Jack: Apple Bungles Wireless Earbud Launches

Variety logo Variety 12/12/2016 Janko Roettgers
© Provided by Variety

Apple apparently can’t catch a break this holiday season: The hardware giant is likely going to delay the launch of its BeatsX wireless headphones until next year, if an email sent out by B&H Photo is any indication. The retailer informed consumers who have pre-ordered the device this week that it will take “at least 2-3 months” until the earbuds become available.

MacRumors first reported about the shipping delay. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

This comes after Apple already had to delay the launch of the much-anticipated AirPods in October. Apple first introduced the AirPods at its iPhone event in September, promising music listening without any wires and any manual pairing. Apple reportedly delayed the launch of the product due to an audio syncing bug, and the company has yet to say when AirPods are going to be available.

Missed product launches like these are rare for Apple. What makes them worse is that the company dropped the headphone jack with the introduction of the iPhone 7 in September.

Not giving users an option to easily plug in their own headphones was a controversial move, but Apple painted it as a big step toward a wireless listening future. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller even claimed that it took “courage” for the company to “move on and do something new that’s better for all of us” when he explained the changes on stage at Apple’s iPhone event — a choice of words that was widely mocked online.

To be fair, it’s not like iPhone 7 owners don’t have a way to listen to their music on the go. The company included a set of earbuds in the box that plugs into the phone’s lightning port. Also included is an adapter that connects existing headphones to the port. However, users can’t charge their phones and listen to their headphones at the same time with these solutions.

The iPhone 7 also works with other Bluetooth headphones, including those made by Beats. But the transition to a wireless headphone future nonetheless seems to be rockier than even Apple expected.


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