Things That Cost A Lot Of Money #2: iPhone/iPod Headphones

Everything required to make your very own Gordian Knot (pocket not included)

Everything required to make your very own Gordian Knot (pocket not included)

If you’ve never purchased an Apple product that came with headphones then you may be inclined to think of me as an asshole for the things I’m about to say. If you have bought anything that came with headphones then you’ll likely think I’m being way too lenient on one of the biggest rip-offs to ever hit the market. Apple obviously knew people would hate their headphones and go out of their way to use any other kind, and so Apple did the right thing. By doing the right thing I don’t mean they fixed them or they offered them for a reasonable price. I mean they incorportated the remote into the headphones so that, at the very least, it would take a while before more affordable and longlasting headphones with the same remotes hit the market. I’m well aware of the fact that apple calls them “ear buds”, but that’s just typical apple bullshit. They’re headphones. That’s all they want to be.

So since this is about money let’s get right down to the price. It’s roughly eighty dollars (plus applicable taxes) for a pair of headphones. I realize that my Canadianess might warp the prices a bit, but I’m pretty sure we’re still trading at roughly equal so the price difference for my American friends should be minimal. Eighty dollars. For headphones. You can actually buy a cheaper mp3 player that comes with headphones for less than that and the headphones they give you will last years longer than the apple ones. My personal favourite part, too, involves the warranty. I have returned apple headphones so many times to get another working pair that they actually cut me off from ever getting another pair of them. Apparently it’s my fault that they continue to provide me with garbage hardware. That’s the Apple Way, though, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much.

So how do the headphones bite the dust? Oh, there are plenty of ways. One thing is the soft plastic that’s around the edge of the actual “bud” that’s supposed to protect your ear from the sharp edges where the two pieces come together. This fragile plastic will shred off if you even think about them. After this you can either sand down the edges or experience constant pain in your ear when you try to listen to music or talk on the phone for more than thirty seconds. Even with sanded down edges you will still experience pain after using them for a while. Trust me.

The second thing that can go is the wire on the headphones. The ends are held together with whatever glue is likely most poisonous to the Chinese children who assemble them (apple really likes efficiency) and while it’s good at killing children, it’s actually pretty terrible at holding the protective sleeve on the wires themselves. This situation is not helped in any way by the mathematical coincidence that apple headphones are the most likely of any variety I’ve ever owned (and that’s sadly a great deal. We’ll discuss my problems later) to tie up into a gigantic fucking knot everytime you put them in your pocket. Whilst trying to untangle the knot you are almost certainly going to loosen some more of that plastic and once that happens your sound quality turns to shit and no amount of glue or electrical tape is going to save you. It’s time to take your wallet/purse/pocket full of dimes (the proverbial “March of Dimes”, if you will) out and head back to talk to a Mac Genius. You may want me to go on about the Mac Genius, but this isn’t the blog for those assholes. They’re going to get their own, trust me again.

The remote can randomly stop working for seemingly no reason, allowing you to still listen to music but not really use the headphones to their fullest. At this point if you find this acceptable then do yourself a favour and buy a pair of ten dollar regular ones that will be louder and last way longer. You probably can’t, though, can you? It’s rather sad that we’re clinging to that remote, people. Two buttons for volume and one button for.. everything else. Brilliant. You could argue that having only three buttons makes it harder to break, but of course in doing that you would obviously be making yourself to be an asshole. The only way they could be worse with more than three would be if they arrived broken in the package. Oh yeah, some of them do that too.

My personal favourite, though, is when they just stop working for no reason whatsoever. Remote doesn’t work, no audio, nothing wrong with the wires or the remote or the headphones. It just doesn’t work. For this pair I actually brought it to the Mac store (bad idea) and was told that it was obviously my fault that they weren’t working, even though the Mac Genius couldn’t see anything that I could have done to them to have made them stop working. They looked perfectly fine but they didn’t work. Obviously I was fucking around with them because I was hoping my next pair would be pink instead of white. I proceeded to call apple from within the apple store and have another pair of headphones express post mailed to me from California instead of me picking up a pair at the store. They call them genius for a reason, readerland.

I’ll admit that I’ll never buy another apple product again in my life. People shit talk Sony but they always treated me right and I almost never had to bring any of their things back for repair/replacement. Apple is the Sega of the phone world, sadly. Sega used to rush to be the first company to release a platform with whatever amount of power so they could be the first ones on the market. This was a great idea for a couple of monts, until much better and more thought out systems (that weren’t rushed) were released and eventually stomped Sega into the ground. I think Sega still exists, but they’ve long since given up on making systems. They switched to making games for other systems because they were tired of losing money. I hope one day to hear that Apple has given up on making hardware and has switched to only making apps for other phone companies and that the person who designed the “ear buds” is sentenced to be whipped to death with a cat-o-nine-buds. Who am I kidding, though? They’d fall apart long before he felt any pain.

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