BLOG: Headphones – Can I pull them off?

When Apple bought Beats for a gazillion dollars last month, it didn’t make me want to buy Beats but it did get me thinking about what they would do with the brand and the technology.

Apple evolved the mp3 player, the phone and the tablet; they didn’t invent any of those items, but they took them all to a new level.

For me, the way to take headphones to the next level would be to maintain the hi-def audio but remove all wires. Why are we still dealing with the daily trial of untangling them from an insufferable mess that never has any reason to occur?

If they could solve that little dilemma, I thought, I’d consider swapping my earbuds for headphones.

I haven’t worn headphones for years. (Who needs all that bulk when in-ear phones get the job done?)

We all know earphones have been around for a long time, and if it ain’t broke…

Plus, the visual style of Beats says ‘hip teenager’ a bit too loudly for me – and much more than my Zara wardrobe can cope with.

But then I Googled headphones to research what’s around only to find that wireless headphones are already a thing. Bluetooth does the job and without the headphones needing to double in size. Plus, you can get such a product for around $100! (The Beats version costs $280 and reviewers on Apple.com don’t even seem to like them.)

So, I dived in and have now returned to wearing headphones — now more white tangles cords for me — they’re bluetooth, noise-cancelling AND they let you receive phones calls and pause or skip music tracks. I am in love.

BUT. With headphones comes great douchery. P eople can’t take you as serious as they once did. You look like you value good music more than being in touch with actual life. And with noise-cancelling, the only way people can get your attention is with wild hand-waving that embarrasses all of us. At least with small earphones, you can still talk to people at the checkout, you can still hear the world, and some people won’t even notice them.

With headphones, you are switching off society and with it, any claim you had to being ‘with it’. I get that. It’s a sacrifice I’m making for convenience.

But I also hope the Beats acquisition – and my own acquisition – is the start of something.

However, if Apple doesn’t get Beats right, they will leave all of us wearing headphones no better than the guys still wearing one of these….

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