Posting on technology and junk products

Is the technology in the Apple AirPods Max more than worth their price, or are they just headphones for show? (Photo: Jeremy Moller/Getty Images. (Jeremy Moller via Getty Images)

Only Apple is capable of doing something like this: offering a product and creating an almost compelling need to own it. Fast forward to December 8, 2020, when a good portion of you were preparing for the Christmas holidays. This tense silence was suddenly drowned out by a barrage of messages on social networks announcing the launch of Apple's external headphones. AirPods Max.

At the time, I was a happy guy with my “regular” AirPods; They seemed like a perfect product to me, and I never considered the possibility of buying over-ear headphones. But a need that didn't grow in me little by little: the wonderful reviews of the first users of the aforementioned headphones gradually sprouted a dangerous seed in me: self-belief. Long story short: I bought a pair of 679 euro headphones that I didn't really need.

Airpods Max en una Apple store de Hong Kong.  (Photo: Budrul Sukhrut/Sofa Images/Lightrocket via Getty Images)Airpods Max en una Apple store de Hong Kong.  (Photo: Budrul Sukhrut/Sofa Images/Lightrocket via Getty Images)

Airpods Max en una Apple store de Hong Kong. (Photo: Budrul Sukhrut/Sofa Images/Lightrocket via Getty Images) (SOPA images via Getty Images)

Made boasting and needs

I can't say that I didn't take advantage of this product because I used them everyday to watch serials and movies, but I never had the guts to go out with them. A little shame and a little modesty kept them forever in the drawer. AirPods Pro have always been more comfortable, more discreet and… What I want to say: At the level of my needs, I don't notice big differences in sound quality. Why did I buy that product I don't need?

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I kept this reflection quiet as I watched young men in their early twenties walking down the street wearing AirPods Max. A travesty of our time. They wore a device in their ears that cost more than half their salary. Assuming they've already worked.

That day I decided to put them up for sale and “recover” them for less than 400 euros. My 'adventure' cost me 279 Euros for a round trip and it got me nothing.

Samsung's first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, was spotted at the IFA consumer technology show in Berlin, Germany on September 5, 2019.  REUTERS/Douglas BusvineSamsung's first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, was spotted at the IFA consumer technology show in Berlin, Germany on September 5, 2019.  REUTERS/Douglas Busvine

Samsung's first folding phone, the Galaxy Fold, was presented at IFA in September 2019. REUTERS/Douglas Busvine (REUTERS/Reuters)

“It's not about bargaining: it's just that I don't have the money yet.”

Writing weekly about technology and for almost twenty years, he has a good perspective on marketing, manufacturers and the evolution of the market. How was the 2000s different from today? In those years, Steve Jobs (continuing with the example of Apple) had the ability to create demand on a real basis: the iPhone or iPad was an innovative product that improved the buyer's user experience to unquestionable limits. There was a potential return on investment: the money spent yielded a better return.

But in 2024 everything is different. In the logical flow of someone who writes about technology, a few weeks ago I put a Samsung Galaxy Fold up for sale; A clear aspirational device and, due to its price, out of reach for many pockets. The first offers started coming in, but a conversation I had with a potential buyer caught my attention:

“Will you give me a discount?”

– Me: “Yes, I can reduce something”

“I offer you x” (Put a crazy and out-of-place amount there.

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I let him know that this price is unacceptable and I propose another alternative with a reduced amount. The answer leaves me cold:

“No, it's not about bargaining: it's just that I haven't got the money yet. I'll get paid next week and can give you a little more.”

Come on, the guy is going to invest everything he has and put aside what he's going to earn for a spectacular phone, yes, but it doesn't do – profoundly – different from what a $100 Chinese cell phone can do.

What would lead someone under obvious financial pressure to buy an unaffordable luxury mobile phone? The first thing to say is that the first person is responsible: when purchasing goods, needs must be adjusted to financial ability.

A broken iPhone is on a table in this illustration on October 21, 2017.  REUTERS/Dado RuvicA broken iPhone is on a table in this illustration on October 21, 2017.  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

The back of the iPhone was cracked. REUTERS/Dado Ruvik (REUTERS/Reuters)

Planned obsolescence and more aggressive marketing

But that's what the Spanish Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) thought was the most responsible for it. Request And to the Cupertino company for its iPhone 6's infamous slowdown to protect the device's battery. What was baptized “Batterygate”, Apple is accused of encouraging owners of this model to buy a new one, whose performance has apparently declined.

herd “Planned Obsolescence”. Sounds familiar, right? In a market as tight and competitive as technology is, there is little room for manufacturers to innovate. And novelty is a deciding factor in making a device buyer get a new model. You have seen it a thousand times A famous monument When people who receive a new iPhone model as a gift realize that it's the same device…

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Visitors try out Samsung Electronics' new Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5 foldable smartphones on display at Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2023 on July 26, 2023 in Seoul, South Korea.  REUTERS/Kim Hong-JiVisitors try out Samsung Electronics' new Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5 foldable smartphones on display at Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2023 on July 26, 2023 in Seoul, South Korea.  REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Two flight attendants took selfies with the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5 during Samsung's latest unboxing. REUTERS/Kim Hong-ji (REUTERS/Reuters)

Simply on a cell phone. Is it better to have a more powerful processor and a more capable camera? Obviously yes, but… is it worth spending so much money? This is where accusations of planned obsolescence in technology find good breeding ground: If a device lasts twenty years in acceptable condition, who wants to update it?

Numbers don't work for brands that need to convince the buyer with powerful marketing: you'll be happy with a new tablet or mobile model.

And that's not bad, because it drives innovation and gives those of us who enjoy this world the most wonderful moments. The bottom line is that there is a significant segment of the population that is unaware of these tricks and is willing to pay more than their means so that their friends can see them on the street with the latest headphones.

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