What’s All the Noise About AirPods?


Lucciana Pascual

A student wears AirPods.

Jorene Ho He, Contributing Writer

AirPods have been giving wearers the excuse to discreetly listen to music for two years now. They’ve been the audible version of an eye-roll — disrespectful and clearly not listening. Fashion elites consider them to be the next level of streetwear, and techies praise them for freeing them of wires. They have been the one of the most controversial innovations to hit the market since their 2016 release.

The evolutionary Bluetooth earpiece claims to be “Wireless. Effortless. Magical.” However, many beg to differ. “Lost. F-cking. Immediately.” someone tweeted. The two-inch plastic bits can easily be dropped down a sidewalk grate, and the subway gaps spare no mercy to them either. Your precious $160 ear speakers could be fallen soldiers in a matter of seconds, or worse, you could be left with just one.

AirPods have become the most popular earpiece around the world, with twice as many expected to ship in 2018 than last year.

The earphones are being spotted on celebrities everywhere — from street style looks at New York Fashion Week to courtside at basketball games. AirPods have quietly infiltrated the world of the rich and famous, simultaneously making waves in the fashion industry. They have even been deemed stylish and described in Vogue as “the new earrings.”

Countless NYU students have hopped on the trend despite the steep price-point of $160, but not everyone sees AirPods as fashionable.

“I was reluctant to buy them before simply because of the design,” Tandon first-year Justin Hwang admitted. “I don’t like wearing them in public because they just look weird.”

Though dissenting from the warmth of fashion’s trend-makers, Hwang confesses his apprehensions about style were trumped by their high-tech functions.

CAS first-year Anna Park is a new owner of AirPods. After much internal debate, she dropped the $160 and isn’t looking back.

“In New York City, I find myself walking literally everywhere and I was getting so annoyed with having to deal with tangled wires,” Park said, “So I invested in AirPods, and I must say there’s no going back.”

Park said the ease that AirPods could bring to her life was the main draw for her purchase; she can now step away from her laptop and continue watching a show, not constricted by any wires. But the argument stands: Beats by Dre and other wireless headphones existed long before AirPods; what’s the difference?

To that, Park only has one thing to say: “Because the AirPods are the only truly wireless earbuds on the market.”

Whether you would rock them or not, NYU professors agree the style is not suited for class. Unsurprisingly, they aren’t on board with you listening to the new Ariana Grande album instead of their carefully planned lecture on the Silk Road.

“They are a great invention, of course. I use them myself. But if a student wears them in my class, I’ll have to ask him to take them off,” Language Professor Joe Vallese said. “It’s distracting both for me and other students because we’ll be wondering what are you playing in those AirPods, even if you are not.”

Professor Judith Miller voices similar sentiments.

“It sounds pretty cool for you kids, but just don’t have them on in my classes,” she said.

Miller feels a lack of respect from students wearing them in class.

“I couldn’t know if you are listening to me or the music or anything else,” she said.

So, let’s not get too stylish in class. Think twice before you decide to listen to Drake instead of your professors. But if you are investing in them for fashion, you might have the green light from Vogue and friends.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 17 print edition. Email Jorene He at [email protected].