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What are Oles wearing? Those darn Apple headphones…


This is my last chance to write for The Mess before I graduate, and I’d like to use it to discuss some questions that have been plaguing me. 


One: What is the deal with those darn Apple headphones? Two: Why is no one talking about this? And, three: Am I crazy?  


April 23 was the first day that I really noticed this phenomenon. I know that because I wrote in my Notes app  “Apple headphones everywhere???”  that day. I saw them in Buntrock. I saw them in Rolvaag. I saw them strewn about outside the Caf. The pink ones and the green ones, especially. I had to Google what they were. Based on their weird shape and their coloring that is somehow both pastel and metallic, I kind of assumed that they were Apple’s doing. 


And I was right — these are the “AirPods Max,” Apple’s confusingly-named over-ear wireless headphones. They cost $549. And, much to my shock, they came out in December 2020. Why did I never notice them until now? When I Googled “why are AirPods Max getting popular,” all I found was a few articles from 2022. Maybe that’s when the trend hit the rest of the world, and St. Olaf just caught up? Are these presents from Christmas 2023? Am I just crazy? Why did a seemingly significant amount of people suddenly start buying $550 headphones? 


Do you all remember 2019? Do you remember how people talked about AirPods in 2019? People lost their minds. AirPod users were mocked relentlessly. The AirPods were released in 2016, got popular by 2019, and, all of a sudden, “Getting AirPods for Christmas” became a concept that inspired literally hundreds of thousands of memes. Now, in 2024, those silly headphones have also seemingly gotten popular a few years after their release date, but the trend is met with nothing but silence. 


I think it’s obviously kind of sad how obsessed people used to be with the latest Apple products. How we all clung to the idea that a slightly different version of a tech product, a version that was probably slightly worse than its predecessor in many ways, would be enough to actually improve our lives. Now, it’s considered slightly weird and dorky to care about the next iPhone release. Or maybe all this junk is so expensive now that the people who are talking about it just aren’t in my tax bracket. I don’t know. 


But I also think it’s kind of sad to think about the fact that one of America’s biggest corporations is still rolling out product after product, year after year, in a sort of postmodern, dystopian commitment to the ideal of endless progress, an ideal that we now accept without even talking about it. 


None of the new Apple technology is exciting, or even that cool. I remember the first time I FaceTimed someone on my mom’s iPhone, and I remember freaking out about Siri. Now, it feels like no new consumer tech is as purely fun and exciting as those things were. The biggest breakthrough of the last two years is obviously AI, but that’s just as terrifying as it is exciting. 


Well, anyway. I do think the headphone trend is pretty fun. Definitely more interesting than earbuds, albeit less practical. There are definitely cuter, better, and cheaper options than the Apple ones, though. But if you want to really devote yourself to assembling the best “Apple Ecosystem” possible, then, you know, you do you.

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