Apple having trouble syncing audio between wireless AirPods - report

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Continued delays for Apple's completely wireless AirPods headphones are reportedly related to troubles in syncing audio between the two separate earpieces, according to a new report.




Citing a person familiar with development of the AirPods, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Apple's stumbling block is the wireless connectivity between the left and right parts.

Unlike with most headphones, Apple's AirPods are completely wireless, with each earpiece unattached to the other. This requires the two parts to stay in sync, otherwise stereo sound would become disorienting.

In addition, the same person reportedly said that beyond audio sync issues, Apple is also still working out what to do when a user loses one of the AirPods, or if the battery dies in just one of the units.

First announced alongside the iPhone 7 in September, Apple's AirPods were originally due to launch in October. But Apple missed that launch window, and has since said that the headphones will debut later this year.




AppleInsider's own sources said in November that AirPods remained on track to launch before the end of 2016. With with more than a week down in the month of December, Apple's window for launch before Christmas and the start of 2017 is dwindling.

Certain selected reviewers were provided AirPods by Apple back in September. And retail stores around the country already have demo units onhand awaiting a launch.

The latest indications could suggest that those units in the wild may need a software update to address nagging problems related to syncing the wireless earpieces.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook allegedly sent an email to a customer in late November telling them to expect AirPods to begin shipping in the "next few weeks."

Apple's AirPods, Powerbeats 3, Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones all feature a the Apple-designed W1 chip that makes it easier to pair with multiple Apple devices. In addition to the W1, AirPods also include beam-forming microphones, accelerometers, infrared sensors, and a small charging and carrying case that will provide more power on the go as well as the mechanism to sync with the iPhone 7.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 111
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,613member
    I never considered this additional technical hurdle. I think I'll go for the Beats-x when they become available. Knowing myself the chord will be a requisite for preventing pod-loss.
    bluetom7yojimbo007
  • Reply 2 of 111
    lanklank Posts: 27member
    This makes sense. I have hearing aids that work with my iPhone. They are great in many ways. But, this is one issue, since they have separate connections things can get a little strange "between the ears" at times when listening to sound from my iPhone. I thought this was why the Beats earphones have a wire between them when the AI review of the Beats earphones asked for complete wireless. Be careful what you ask for. I hope they have a good solution. Bless those Apple engineers.
    DaveMacTXrandominternetpersondouglas baileycaliequality72521daren_mitchelluraharawilliamlondoncornchipanome
  • Reply 3 of 111
    paxman said:
    I never considered this additional technical hurdle. I think I'll go for the Beats-x when they become available. Knowing myself the chord will be a requisite for preventing pod-loss.
    Amen. So ready for BeatsX already lol
    cali
  • Reply 4 of 111
    ben20ben20 Posts: 120member
    Maybe they will bring that earphone jack back again ?
    blastdoordysamoriabaconstangkrawall
  • Reply 5 of 111
    I also have made-for-iPhone hearing aids and have the same issues as lank is saying. The beta versions of 10.2 are getting better by the version to resolve this issue. Version 7 from Wednesday really helped but the problem is still there and I would think that as soon as we see this issue resolved, we will see the wireless pods dropped. 
    douglas baileycaliwilliamlondonpscooter63cornchipanome
  • Reply 6 of 111
    rf9rf9 Posts: 70member
    ben20 said:
    Maybe they will bring that earphone jack back again ?
    It already has an earphone jack.  It's an adapter that plugs in to the lightning jack.  Included or $9 if you need another.  You don't even kmow it's there when you're using it.
    randominternetpersonking editor the gratecalidysamoriaequality72521stevehStrangeDaysuraharawilliamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 111
    It's so like Apple to make sure a product is ready before it ships. It's so unlike Apple to announce a product before its ready to ship. 
    douglas baileycaliMr.Jonesdysamoriaequality72521stevehdaren_mitchelllarryanetmagecornchip
  • Reply 8 of 111
    Good Lord. What engineer signed off on these things to be shown to the world before this MAJOR failure point was discovered? This is incredibly disappointing.
    edited December 2016 randominternetpersontechprod1gymobiusMr.Jonesdysamoriarogifan_newgtrArtem's_Thoughtsawesomeepicguylarrya
  • Reply 9 of 111
    holyoneholyone Posts: 391member
    lank said:
    This makes sense. I have hearing aids that work with my iPhone. They are great in many ways. But, this is one issue, since they have separate connections things can get a little strange "between the ears" at times when listening to sound from my iPhone. I thought this was why the Beats earphones have a wire between them when the AI review of the Beats earphones asked for complete wireless. Be careful what you ask for. I hope they have a good solution. Bless those Apple engineers.
    Yeah, the kind of hellish time those guys would be having if SJ was hearing this. heads would be rolling.
    calipulseimagesnetmage
  • Reply 10 of 111
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,270member
    Good Lord. What engineer signed off on these things to be shown to the world before this MAJOR failure point was discovered? Wow, guys.  :/  Unbelievable.
    Quite believable. Apple has announced innumerable things that were delayed or never came to fruition.
    pulseimagespscooter63
  • Reply 11 of 111
    Good Lord. What engineer signed off on these things to be shown to the world before this MAJOR failure point was discovered? This is incredibly disappointing.
    Many bloggers received pre-release models back in October, and not a single one reported any issues like this.

    Apple is going the extra mile to cover edge cases and avoid bad press. It's exactly the sort of thing people carry on about when non-issues like antennagate and bendgate crop up. You should be glad.
    Solicalitmaystevehequality72521charlesgresbaconstangstanthemanjas99cornchip
  • Reply 12 of 111

    This seems almost Dilbertesque. 

    Pointy-haired boss: Get rid of that cord, it looks sloppy! 

    Engineer: We can't do that. We need the wire to keep the...

    PHB: Of course you can!  see?  [snip].  By the way, I've announced that these will ship in 2 months.


    In any case this story makes more sense than the theory about manufacturing challenges.  Hope they solve the problem soon, but I'm not optimistic.

    gatorguydysamoria
  • Reply 13 of 111
    thedbathedba Posts: 482member
    If they completely miss the holiday shopping season, then this will be a failure on the part of Apple. 
    OTOH I am happy they are taking the time to get this right .
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 14 of 111
    Leave it to you bozos to always find something to gripe about.

    On the positive side, it's far better for Apple to work out this chink BEFORE the Air Pods are released, both to quell potential customer complaints/class action suits, and to perfect the technology in order to solidify any new patents involved, thereby distancing and proofing themselves further from the inevitable copy cats.

    On another positive side, while I'm waiting, myself, for the Air Pods, I bought a pair of PowerBeats3 Wireless which I really like. They're noticeably better than PowerBeats2 which I had used for years. There's no fragile little flap over the charging port, the signal doesn't cut out when I turn my head (with my iPhone in my front pants pocket on the opposite side from the PowerBeats antenna), the charge lasts longer, and Bluetooth switching between devices (iPhone, iMac, AppleTV, Apple Watch) is a snap! You don't have to disconnect one device before connecting the new one.

    I also solved the problem of the wire always binding up around my neck and collar: I run it in FRONT of my neck and between the top two buttons of my shirt. There's plenty of slack that way so as not to restrict my head movements, and I can simply take them out when I want to and let them dangle on my chest.

    The Air Pods are still intriguing to me, assuming that they'll stay in my ears securely. I like the idea of being able to use just one at times.
    edited December 2016 douglas baileyStrangeDaysstanthemanjas99cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 111
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 928member
    Good Lord. What engineer signed off on these things to be shown to the world before this MAJOR failure point was discovered? This is incredibly disappointing.
    Are you assuming that an engineer signed off for that to be done or do you have evidence?
    dysamoriastevehjas99
  • Reply 16 of 111
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,696member
    They had better fix these and make them 100% perfect.

    My ears are pretty good, far above average, and I can hear the slightest delays, down to the millisecond. That is one reason that I have long been skeptical towards wireless sound.

    Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be if the L and R are not perfect in sync? There would be all sorts of phasing issues and sound would not be reproduced accurately anymore.
    dysamoriagtrjas99netmageduervocornchip
  • Reply 17 of 111
    I don't want to veer off topic. but to those that have mentioned hearing aids;
    I'm exploring various MFI hearing aids for my father. Any recommendations? I'm particularly concerned about battery life.
  • Reply 18 of 111
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,270member
    Mikeymike said:
    I don't want to veer off topic. but to those that have mentioned hearing aids;
    I'm exploring various MFI hearing aids for my father. Any recommendations? I'm particularly concerned about battery life.
    I have no specific experience with hearing aids, but I tend to find Wirecutter to be the best at rooting out the best products.

  • Reply 19 of 111
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 884member
    This is probably the new Apple product that I could be least excited about since the 1990s.
    edited December 2016 dysamoriabaconstang
  • Reply 20 of 111
    Welcome to Apple's version of beta-everything, consumer selfie photo, social online existence. Add it all up and Quality is out the door for profits only.
    avon b7
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