Apple’s AirPods quickly went from initial mockery to millennial status symbol

“Of all the widely ridiculed tech products, Apple’s AirPods have experienced an extraordinary turnaround. Back in 2016, they were roundly mocked by the tech industry,” Elena Cresci reports for The Guardian. “Tiny wireless earbuds? It seemed like a recipe for disaster – streets would be littered with these lost headphones, which would clutter up city pavements like discarded gloves and babies’ socks.”

“But fast-forward to 2019 and, somehow, the £159-a-pair little pods have transformed into a bona fide status symbol. Diana Ross has a pair, Kristen Stewart wears them and a woman in Virginia has even started a cottage industry by turning them into earrings for people,” Cresci reports. “And so, the butt of the joke is not the AirPods themselves but the wealth and status of the people who wear them… As one viral tweet joked, the world’s Top 10 richest people are: 1. AirPod users; 2. The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos; and 3. Bill Gates.”

“But is it fair? ‘The thing is, AirPods aren’t even the most expensive wireless headphones out there,’ says Katy Leeson, the managing director of the social media marketing agency Social Chain,” Cresci reports. “That said, the jokes about them can’t have hurt Apple – if anything, the people mocking the product have led to a sales bump. ]”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Pretty much every Apple introduction —— from the Mac to iPod to iPhone to iPad to Apple Pay to Apple Watch to AirPods —— was “roundly mocked by the tech industry” (while they feverishly attempted to half-assedly knock off Apple’s innovations behind the scenes). Expect this rather humorous state of affairs to continue ad infinitum.

Apple AirPods 2 said to deliver deeper bass, more sensors, higher price; AirPower to launch this spring – February 11, 2019


  1. Good take by MDN… with an unfortunately accurate prediction.

    No matter how many times it happens, the naysayers, trolls, whiner and “analysts” regurgitate the same old garbage as if sharing valuable insight into the state of Apple.

  2. No… they’re cheap sounding headphones that are pretty much still a mockery and of course pricing them 80% higher than they should’ve been wasn’t enough for Cook.

    Now in gen-2 he plans to make them sound like they should have in the first place, and of course that deserves another 40% or more bump in price.

    If you don’t like that then you’re absolutely going to love the price of the 2019 iPhones.


    1. Zerorandy, I actually own a pair of AirPods…and I love them! I do not expect high-end audiophile output, which is unrealistic. But they are so incredibly nice for phone conversations and Siri interaction. You can use one or both, as you choose. A single AirPod works great for Apple Map turn-by-turn directions without impeding situational awareness. They work great for videos and news and music, imo – my AirPod experience has been great.

      It took me a while to get on board because I am frugal by nature and tend to stay well behind the cutting edge. But my younger daughter got a pair and demonstrated them for me and I was sold. The agony of wires is gone. They last for hours and hours before needing to be recharged and, then, their case recharges them without a fuss multiple times before it needs recharging.

      You are welcome to your opinion. But I believe that you will find that your take is not shared by many.

    2. Zeroandy,
      You can only scream “up is down” and “left is right” for so long before you are recognized as a worthless use of space. Congratulations… you have arrived.

      You are, in fact, AbsoluteZeroandy.

      1. I will continue to “mock” Apple’s ear-bud products. From those shipped with the 1st iPod, to my latest earbuds shipped with the iPhX, the fit is wanting. With a 3rd party “rubber,” usage is possible…only if I’m stationary.
        True, you can’t please everyone, all the time, but there is no other product that Apple sells that fails so completely in a area/mode of which it is marketed…functions with movement.
        It’s relevant because 3rd party products function for me in this respect. I’m left to believe Apple’s resistance to modify is completely ruled by aesthetics? The buds are just a tweak away from serving a broader range of the population, but finding an aesthetic solution that increases functionality is too great of task for a design-excellence company? Please.

  3. This article is a bit rich coming from The Guardian because in recent years The Guardian always starts off by knocking any Apple product and usually prints a headline with a negative tone.

    Typical examples were “Apple iPad Air 2 review : Apple’s best tablet yet, but is that enough?” … or … “Apple iPhone SE review – too small for most people”. It’s an iPhone specifically designed to be smaller than other phones, slagging it off because it’s small seemed petty.

    The Guardian are no longer amongst the first to get new Apple products for review, so when they finally do get to review stuff, they will have been able to trawl through loads of other reviews and they never seem to miss any opportunity to repeat criticisms made by others or jump onto any bandwagon.

    For all their negativity about pretty well every Apple product ( although to be fair, their review of iPhone X was mostly positive ), those products still seem to sell in good numbers, while many of the rival products which they praise effusively don’t sell at all well.

    1. When Charles Arthur was their Technology Editor, The Guardian published insightful tech articles and enjoyed privileged access to Apple, even though Charles was sometimes critical about Apple products, but Charles has moved on.

      The Guardian’s technical coverage is now a bit of a joke and the new technology editor hasn’t appeared to cultivate a relationship with Apple. Charles Arthur earned special access to Apple and I believe still has that access, but his successor does not.

  4. “streets would be littered with these lost headphones, which would clutter up city pavements like discarded gloves and babies’ socks.”

    Please, tell me which streets have them lying around for me to pick up!

  5. There might be sales bump, but I teach at an expensive private technical university and you rarely see them. I asked my daughter (who is attending another university) about them and her answer involved the word “douche” (followed by an apology for using that word). So, this sales bump seems to be missing the Z’s (or whatever they are called).

    1. With all due respect for you daughter’s observations, in the United States, the AirPods were the number one tech gift for the holiday buying period.

      The initial bad press were based upon initial observations that were NOT based upon first hand use but rather “these things look ugly and they should fall out of the ears easily (which they never do). What can I say. They work fine for me but I use them mainly while driving so that when I receive a phone call, I can keep my eyes on the road without looking for my cell phone. Or just to listen to music while I drive – they don’t block out completely the outside environment so it’s safe enough to use, IMO.

  6. There was an initial awkwardness in wearing them in public. Once enough people were seen doing it, it became socially acceptable.

    Rather like how the word “iPad” attracted initial mockery but was quickly accepted.

    Think different.

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