One of the stranger opinions about Apple products is that they’re all marketing.
Now with more talk time, voice-activated Siri access — and a new wireless charging case — AirPods deliver an unparalleled wireless headphone experience.
For many years, soberly technical types insisted that Cupertino’s wares are actually inferior. It’s just that they’re brilliantly marketed.
That’s largely been balderdash, with a helping of nonsense.
The products themselves — iMac, iPhone, iPad — have been more powerful marketing tools than any ad could ever be.
You see them out in the world and they speak with a different tone, a different style.
Even today, look at AirPods and you know that the things themselves make more of a statement than any ad for them has. In fact, most AirPods ads have made the statement: “Oh, dear. The creative team’s out of ideas again.”
And now Apple is rumored to be releasing over-ear headphones. No, not the Beats varietal, but your actual Apple-branded over-ear rivals.
Some say they’ll be equipped with splendid technology that’ll allow you to wear them back to front. Yes, just like your baseball cap.
I, though, am more moved by their alleged name. Serial rumorist Jon Prosser insists they’ll be called AirPods Studio.
I sense your misgivings. AirPods, in your eyes and ears, are cute little things that hang discreetly. Like little pea-pods.
How can they possibly have anything in common with hulking great over-ear phones that scream: “Look at me! I’m just like LeBron James!”?
Ah, but you’re not looking closely enough at Apple’s deep, meaningful approach to product naming.
Yes, the word AirPods does make them sound like tiny cute things. But where does that leave HomePod? I happen to think HomePods are cute, but tiny they certainly aren’t. Unless you compare them to the size of your house, perhaps.
And then, somewhere in the past, there was the iPod. Now that was small, but it wasn’t entirely tiny. Though, in its day, humans marveled at how something of its size could house so many songs.
Perhaps, then, you’ll conclude that, in Apple’s Nomenclature Orchard, Pod just means Music. Loosely.
Well, perhaps. But then how do you explain the existence of Apple podcasts? Those tend to enjoy a little bit of music at the beginning and end, and a lot of talking in the middle. Why, I was on one only last week and talked far too much.
So, you see, this Pod word isn’t quite what you think. Apple is clearly using its deeper neuropsychological bent to simply find names that make you feel good, even if they don’t make a grote’s worth of rational sense.
That’s the beauty of marketing, you see. Look at it rationally and all you see is gossamer. But examine your feelings — in the company of your friendly psychologist, perhaps — and you’ll see just how much it’s affected you.
The feeling of AirPods Studio isn’t hard, then, to discern. Regular old AirPods look great — they really don’t — on the street or in Zoom meetings. Over-ear headphones just look cooler in studios, right? And who isn’t a music producer at heart these days?
The alleged AirPods Studio are said to be $349, so they have to look really cool — whichever way you look at them while you’re recording your new demo.
There, now do you get it? These naming rituals are deep, truly deep.
Or perhaps you’re already au fait with these things. Perhaps you were one of the first to grasp what the R in iPhone XR stood for, long before Apple’s EVP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller made the great revelation: Nothing.