The AirPod Connect Sound Is Beautiful
An utterly cheesy, totally true essay about wireless earphones
The first time I saw a pair of AirPods in a pair of ears, I thought they were a joke. They were so absurd looking as to be hilarious, and my best guess was that my friend, a tech journalist who’d gotten his hands on a loaner set well before launch, had for some reason snipped his buds from their tangled wires and put them in his ears to amuse me. We sat across from each other in the TIME newsroom, where we worked back then; he’s a bit of a joker, and I’m an easy laugh.
After he explained that he was testing what would become, for me later, a life-changing piece of technology, I snapped a pic and posted it to my IG with the caption: “This is the only person in the world who will ever make AirPods look cool.” (He is handsome, and also French.)
I decided then and there that I would never own this peculiar-looking Apple product, and I stuck to it for years.
I spend a lot of my time in Google hangouts. This confers a number of benefits, connecting me with my boss and other members of the Medium team, which is largely based in San Francisco. I live in New York and have colleagues and direct reports in many U.S. cities. This technology brings us closer, but it also introduces friction. Shitty AV is a daily frustration, and the sound of people’s voices coming out of a laptop speaker is the actual soundtrack in hell. Wired earphones are a drag. Those gigantic wireless ones take up too much room in the handbag and they mess up your hair. You know where this is going.
I am told I am a Xennial (’78) but I identify firmly as a Gen Xer, mainly because I like talking on the phone for hours at a time. I stopped talking on the phone several years ago. We all did, because of smartphones and texting and the other ways we waste our time. (Also, we dislike the humid, slippery sensation that comes from holding up a phone to our cheek for more than a few minutes at a go.)
So I text, but I prefer talking. I have text-tone misunderstandings, we all do. I connect less with friends who suck at text, we all do. I try to strengthen my emoji game. You know where this is going.