I see them more and more across Paris. People in the metro, on the street, riding around on those electric scooters. Little bits of white dangling from ears. Each and everytime I see someone wearing them, I know that they are completely brainwashed Apple fanboys and girls.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple and their products. I have an iPhone and a Macbook Air at home. I have accumulated iPads like old running shoes and there is no fucking way I’m going to switch to Android or Windows for my personal life. But there is one category of technology at which Apple has never excelled: anything for listening to portable music.
This is ironic, of course, for the company responsible for upending the music business with the advent of the MP3, iTunes store, and the iPod. You would think that since so much of their revenue comes from music that they would spend time creating hardware (another one of their specialties) that actually lets you enjoy music.
But no, since the days of the first iPod, Apple has managed to grow into the world’s most coveted brand by ignoring this crucial part of technology. Apple’s earbuds were revolutionary at the beginning simple because they were white. They were clean. They were bright. And they stuck out as being different.
Thinking – and by extension being – different is exactly what Apple wants you to believe that you are doing. The white headphones showed the world that you had an iPod even while it was tucked away in your bag or pocket. Now that you had the technology, you had a way to show the rest of the world how cool you were.
There was just one problem: they are the shittiest pair of headphones money can possibly buy.
First, I don’t know for which alien lifeform they are designed for but they do not stay in your ears. If you have a scarf or adjust your shirt or make any sort of movement, they fall out. Then, if you manage to keep them in your ears you are obliged to turn your volume up to the max to be able to hear anything coming out of them. Kiss goodbye to any nuances in the music you are listening to. Add in some ambient noise like riding in a car or on the metro and you might as well just listen to the speaker at the bottom of your phone by jamming that into your ear.
You should be tipped off by the fact that they come for free with your iPhone or iPod, Apple doesn’t even offer a case for free, so we would have to assume that the headphones are shittier than any basic phone protection case they could jam into the packaging.
As a music lover, I have never once used Apple’s headphones to listen to anything. So when I saw that Apple came out with cordless versions, dubbed Airpods, I wanted to see if they had changed anything at all.
The answer quite simply is no. It’s the same poorly designed shape with the same poorly designed acoustic experience. But now instead of having a cord to catch them when they fall out of your ears every few minutes, they just fall onto the ground, into sewers, into piles of dogshit. You can’t exercise with them. You can’t even turn your head to look both ways before crossing the street. And of course you can’t listen to anything of quality either.
Oh, Siri on command in your ear? Thanks but I already know the weather.
The promise of cordless headphones is incredible. But there are too many other options to justify using Apple’s Airpods. My Bose Soundsport headphones are sweat and water resistant, have a significant battery life, and snuggle into the ear to ensure a tight fit and very high quality acoustic experience. I have friends who swear by Jabra for their talk-through feature. If having cordless headphones is your goal, there are too many other better options to have an excuse for using Apple’s.
Which leaves only one possible reason: to look like you think differently. But really, wearing those white Airpods sends an outward signal to the rest of the world that 1) you are so trendy that you have the latest Apple technology, and 2) that you are clearly wealthy enough to be able to afford to lose expensive technology.
Apple has managed to create a recurring revenue stream by sucking even more cash out of their fanboys and fangirls, and it does make you look like you think differently – because you are clearly thinking less intelligently.