As someone who no longer identifies as a youth, I can now stand back and observe the habits and interests of current youths with a degree of objectivity. There a number of things that are popular amongst gen z that baffle me – like vaping, or performing loyalty to horrible young men like XXXtentacion. However, none of these practices cut to the core of my value system like Apple Airpods, the wireless earphones intended to accompany newer iPhones without an AUX input.
For those lucky enough to have remained oblivious to the phenomena, Airpods resemble Apple’s signature white earphone with grey trimming but instead of a wire connecting to the phone, there is now nothing to tether each earphone to anything other than the wearer’s inner ear. That sentence might not make sense due to my lacking abilities of description, or it may not make sense because the very essence of Airpods’ design is completely absent of logic. Historically speaking, the phone/earphone relationship was a single entity when connected and if the owner knew the location of one component, they knew the location of the other. Now, the twisted genius’ at Apple have somehow convinced the consumer to pay (and I mean really pay) for the privilege of owning a set of two unrelated and disarmingly small pieces of plastic. In other words, determining the location of one earphone does not automatically indicate the whereabouts of the other.
It is wholly unfair to brandish the youths as the only demographic to have been stupid enough to fall for what is surely some sort of marketing experiment. The streets of Dublin are dense with fully-developed adults going about their day, each Airpod precariously in place, ignorant of their own failure. Many of these people have partners, children and mortgages- societal structures that are sure to fall if these are the type of people that currently support them. The ease at which a single Airpod is sure to vanish is only made more striking when the recommended retail price is taken into consideration. If I were to walk into an Apple-approved retailer tomorrow, full disguise prepared, I would be asked to pay 180 euros for a set of Airpods. Mathematically speaking, that’s 90 euro per pod.
If the very act of buying and actively using Airpods isn’t enough to make the wearer a social pariah, enough of you idiots have bought them to motivate Apple to develop their capabilities further. It has been reported that the wearer of Airpods can eavesdrop on another room’s conversation, so long as the corresponding iPhone is in said room. If it wasn’t evident before, it surely is now that Apple are not prioritising customer satisfaction; as well as blatantly designing products that are intended to be lost and then repurchased, Apple have now ventured into promoting amateur espionage. If rampant inequality and a precarious livelihood don’t turn us off late-stage capitalism, surely the ubiquity of Apple Airpods will.
By Niall O’Shaughnessy – Music Editor