The Development of the AirPods
Recently, Apple’s® new premium-priced over-ear headphones launched and began shipping. The designers of the product have a lot to say about its development. According to one of the designers that worked for Apple®, the AirPods® Max’s development took at least four years.
Surprisingly, this designer assumed the non-disclosure agreement he signed didn’t apply anymore since the AirPods® Max has been launched, but it appears that Apple® quickly disabused him of this idea.
Former Apple® designer, Dinesh Dave, also tweeted this with a photo of the new AirPods® Max: “The last product NDA I signed is finally out!”
One of his followers asked him how long ago he signed it, in order to figure out how long Apple® had been working on the project. Dinesh Dave replied that it was around four years ago.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to hear anything more, as the tweet quickly disappeared, probably after Dave received a call from Apple® reminding him that NDAs apply until they are canceled or expire.
Sometimes, NDAs may expire on a particular date, while on other occasions they may contain language which has them expire when particular events occur – like after the product launch. In the absence of either, NDAs may remain in force until otherwise agreed.
As MacRumors spotted, a former Apple® employee, Ryan Jones took a screenshot of the tweet before it was deleted.
Dinesh Dave’s role was not clear, but his degree is in graphic design. It’s most likely that engineering work took place before there would be a need to involve a graphic designer. So, four years is the minimum time and the development of the product may have been going on for significantly longer.
Apple® products often tend to stay for a long time in development. This is because the company’s approach is to let others launch first so that they can watch the market, identify pain points, and then launch with something that works better than existing products. But some suggest that the new AirPods® Max was reported to have been delayed along the way by engineering challenges.