Microsoft delays launch of earbuds intended to rival Apple AirPods
Microsoft is pushing back the launch of its new Surface Earbuds, meaning it will miss the crucial 2019 holiday shopping season.
The delay is a setback in Microsoft’s attempt to rival Apple’s latest earbuds, the AirPods Pro, which feature silicone tips, noise cancellation and audio sharing. The space is becoming increasingly crowded with others, including Amazon, launching similar products.
The Surface Earbuds were supposed to launch before the holiday season but are now set to debut in the spring of 2020, according to a tweet from Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer.
Panay said “product-making is about the relentless pursuit to get all the details right, which takes time…sometimes more than we planned on.”
He said the delay will ensure Microsoft delivers “the best possible experience” for customers.
Microsoft unveiled the new devices in October at its annual developer conference.
They’re expected to cost $249 and offer up to eight hours of listening time on a single charge. AirPods Pro offer 4.5 hours of listening time on one charge and also cost $249.
The part that people put in their ears resembles a traditional earbud but the other end has a disc that stays outside your ear. Observers have pointed out that the disc resembles a gauge, the ear piercings people slowly acclimate their earlobes to.
The design initially received criticism on social media but people were also wary of the shape of AirPods when they first launched.
The earbuds are receptive to touch, which means wearers can swipe to increase or decrease the volume or change a song or skip ahead. They’re able to translate as the wearer speaks and support 60 different languages. They also have Microsoft’s smart digital assistant, Cortana, built in.
They come in one size but there are small, medium and large tips for people with different ear sizes.