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"AirPods foster a different approach to detachment: Rather than mute the surrounding world altogether, they visually signal the wearer’s choice to perpetually relegate the immediate environment to the background. The white earbuds create what Kantrowitz calls the AirPod Barrier, a soft but recognizable obstacle to interpersonal interaction not unlike that of phone usage."
“While staring at a phone suggests that attitude indirectly, AirPods formalize it, expressing potential distractedness in a more sustained and effortless manner... AirPods efficiently communicate your refusal to pretend to be “fully present”... Digital tools can improve our ability to use that space and connect with one another more effectively within it. But if those same tools instead re-create platforms oriented toward atomizing individuals within those spaces, we risk impoverishing something vital, producing a public square full of people ignoring one another, doing their best to be nowhere.” I think this combined with their environmental impact, ease of loss, brand lock-in, and terrible lifecycle pretty much nominate them for “the worst.”
in many ways it feels like apple is trolling people to see how depraved their priorities in life are, what's worth sacrificing for an additional bump in convenience and satisfactory narcissism, and "how much more can we control your life?"
"But phones and the always-on disposition that encourages their constant usage has also depleted those environments, which no longer require the same degree of sensory richness because phones themselves furnish so many of the stimuli that physical space once did. Now, the kind of space that suffices instead is a pleasant backdrop for solitary device usage, a relatively blank slate that doesn’t compete with the phone’s foreground — conditions that places like Sweetgreen and Equinox supply."