Last week, Apple released their new AirPods Pro headphones and got everyone talking—and meme-ing. Images of the new Apple product are inescapable online and on social media; but what is all the hype about? According to Apple’s official website, the AirPods Pro use state-of-the-art noise cancellation technology to facilitate “immersive sound in an all-new lightweight, in-ear design.” This release is only one of many that stirs up conversation and enthusiasm for new, superfluous technology.
AirPods are particularly relevant because they represent not only the modern influx of trendy tech we are currently experiencing but a potentially harmful distinction of class. As the popular memes explain, owning AirPods is a way of showing off in front of others. The joke is that people wear them primarily to impress and show others at a glance that they are superior because they are able to afford expensive things. This shallowness may seem easy to dismiss; however, there is validity to the superiority AirPod owners infamously exert. It does feel good and important, however fleeting, to “flex” on others, not only with AirPods but with all new technology.
This need to always have new things is created by societal pressure coming from all directions. One place it usually happens is with friends. This is usually in the form of harmless jokes, such as making fun of somebody when they have a Samsung instead of an iPhone, but the fact that these jokes still happen in the first place is evidence of this pressure.
Another place where people feel pressure from others is social media. This can happen when you’re just scrolling through social media and see somebody post a picture with their fancy new wide-angle lens on the newest iPhone. This usually leads to people feeling like they’re missing out because they cannot afford to buy this phone and, therefore, cannot truly capture moments in their life the way they want to.
This pressure also comes from people who begin to think they’re better than others just because they have these things. An example of this is certain people using objects such as AirPods as status symbols to flex on others. On top of this, meme culture also adds fuel to the fire by making people think anybody with AirPods is snooty, when they may just use them for more efficient running.
The problem with this pressure is that a lot of these new forms of technology are simply too expensive for the average college student to invest in, especially when the things they already have still work well. These prices will also cause many to think that those who actually have earned the newest tech did so through hard work, when in reality they may have just been given to them by their parents.
While there is a lot of pressure from society and the people around you to always have the next big thing, remember that it is not a necessity. There is nothing wrong with believing you should have nice, new things, but you shouldn’t desire them to a point that you lose sleep over it. If you feel like you want to treat yourself to something nice, treat yourself to some relaxation time or hanging out with friends.
As college students, it seems like we are going nonstop from when we wake up to when we go to sleep. The last thing you should be worrying about is whether or not you will have the newest phone. If you are feeling that pressure from society just remember the world will not stop spinning if you don’t have the latest Android or Apple product.