AirPods: The Modern Indicator of Wealth
AirPods have been considered by Apple users as a sign of culture, a sign of wealth, and a sign of quality all wrapped into one.
This past Christmas, social media feeds were flooded with photos of everyone’s newly unwrapped AirPods.
Although AirPods first came out in December 2016, it wasn’t until December 2018 that the earphone’s sales rocketed more than ever before. When Apple’s wireless earphones first came out, a lot of people, including King’s senior Sydney Powell thought they were “so extra.”
Powell first saw a pair of AirPods when her roommate, senior Lauren Davis came back from the Apple store with them when they initially came out. Seeing as two pairs of Beats headphones she previously owned had both broken within two years of using them, Davis was already searching the market for a good pair of wireless headphones.
Davis was drawn to the earphones because of their mobility.
“They are truly wireless earphones. Even the Beats wireless earphones still have a cord that goes around the neck,” Davis said.
Powell finally jumped on the AirPods bandwagon around Christmas time last year; she asked her parents for AirPods as a Christmas gift after her wire earphones broke.
“They thought it was funny because I never ask for anything technological,” Powell said. “And then they all wished they also asked for them on Christmas morning when they tried them out.”
AirPods are especially popular in larger cities, like New York.
“Being in the city you are always on the go, people spend most of their time commuting, so it’s nice to have them; it’s so nice when you don’t have cords getting caught in your jacket or purse and have to worry about untangling them,” Davis said.
AirPods appear to be popular in larger cities where public transportation is the primary way to commute. Whereas in smaller towns, people commute with their cars so they can listen to the radio instead.
“When I fly home from New York and have a layover somewhere, everyone in the flight has AirPods, then I get on the flight to Little Rock and no one has them,” Powell said. “It’s not really as big of a thing there as it is in the city.”
Due to fear that the product would easily fall out of one’s ears, the majority of the public rejected the idea of AirPods in 2016.
However, AirPods have proved this is not true. The commercials now even depict people defying gravity while using the product.
“I have done cartwheels with my AirPods in and they haven’t fallen out,” Davis said.
AirPods have become extremely popular within many groups of people, college students included. However, within some college student enclaves, there seems to be an ongoing joke about being broke, yet still owning AirPods, which retail for $160. AirPods are not something a college student needs. Rather, it is a luxury some chose to buy.
However, some students splurge on AirPods in order to “flex” or show them off, yet still claim they are broke.
“I think AirPods are a sign of culture, but our culture comes alongside with wealth. Our culture is very materialist and consumerist, so no matter if you have money or not, you want to fit in with culture” said Powell said.
Beyond the perceived sign of wealth, people who purchase AirPods discover they are a good investment to make if you listen to music frequently.
“It’s funny to see the stigma that they bring now because when I first got them, people were giving me a hard time saying, ‘no one will ever wear those,’ and ‘they look so dumb hanging out of your ear like that,’ but now you get on the train and you see everyone and their mother wearing them,” Davis said. “It’s harder to find people that still listen to music on the train with headphones than with AirPods; especially in the Financial District, it’s just become more of a unifying part of your uniform almost, you have the Patagonia jacket and the AirPods.”