Wait, So Are AirPods Still Cool?

Donning a pair of wired earbuds can be beautifully ahead of trend, exactly on trend, or delightfully anti-trend.

Apple

10/26/2021 3:47:00 PM

Donning a pair of wired earbuds can be beautifully ahead of trend, exactly on trend, or delightfully anti-trend.

Amidst the release of the unexciting third-gen AirPods, the case for sticking (or reverting back) to their wired predecessors.

.But it was this distinctive legibility—AirPods presented as something new, more or less in the shape of something familiar—that would eventually prove to be its greatest vector for evangelism once the slew of early adopters crossed into the realm of celebrities, professional athletes, and the street-style set. It quickly became impossible to look at a photograph of anyone wearing AirPods and not immediately recognize them as AirPods. From there the accessory’s function as visual shorthand for the rich and famous accelerated; by the launch of the second-gen and AirPods Pro versions in 2019, HBO’s

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Big Little Lieswas using AirPods to delineate the power moms fromShailene Woodley’s less rich character (who wore regular ole wired ones—more onthosein a sec). Later that year, in a poll of 100 teens, The Strategist found AirPods camesecond only to a phone in terms of items they couldn’t live without

.The third-generation AirPods, announced during Monday’s Apple event, clock in as a marginally improved, $179 Goldilocks option landing between the $129 second-gens and the mind-boggling $249 Pros. There’s a slate of medium-interesting features including something called “spatial audio”; the company insisted this feature is responsible for bringing one’s music to life “with sounds that surround you,” which did not quite land with this audio laywoman who is pretty sure that is how hearing generally works. But with AirPods reportedly accounting for headtopics.com

57% of the “high-end hearables” market, Apple knows it doesn’t need to reinvent anything here; upon review of existing AirPod options, you get the distinct feeling of perusing a wine list and being predictably tilted toward the second-tier Sauvignon that feels both pronounceable yet just superior enough to the house white, thanks to the cunning powers of consumer psychology.

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New Apple AirPods Review: Great Sound, if They Stay in Your EarsThe third-generation AirPods feature better sound, battery life and water resistance, but have a different shape that might not fit your ears.

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