I was sitting in a coffee shop at the weekend on my own and feeling uncomfortable as us Brits do when in public with no one to talk to. Staring at my phone I got a notification that a new podcast episode I wanted to listen to had arrived and so I pondered the situation. My coffee was full, my chicken and bacon toastie was uneaten and so I had some time to reflect on life (in a negative way of course) and to enjoy the food and drink.
And then I remembered that I had my AirPods in my pocket and so I popped one in and started to listen to the podcast. I didn’t feel conspicuous or that people were staring at me, it just made sense to enjoy the podcast while drinking my coffee. The tiny size of the AirPod means a lot in these situations because it almost feels as if you are multi-tasking in the most invisible of ways. The talking in one ear, in great quality, was perfectly pleasant and I was aware of the outside world at the same time which got me to wondering about this sudden new use for my phone, one that seems obvious now.
Like most others, I consume my phone via the screen and don’t carry EarPods with me. The thought of listening to music or podcasts when out and about had never really occurred to me as a socially acceptable thing or something that wouldn’t get in the way of what I was doing at the time. For some reason, however, with the AirPods it feels different and so natural to listen to some entertainment while doing a multitude of other things.
Whether I am spending time at work investigating a complex enquiry, writing this article or simply lying in bed pondering life (in a negative way again), the AirPods fit into each of the situations with aplomb and have made me use my iPhone for many more audible tasks that I have ever used in my entire time using phones and PDAs.
It always felt like I had to deliberately choose to listen to things on my phone in the past, but the revearlution (awful pun, sorry) is here and it could well be the case that we are about to experience our phones in whole new ways that we had not considered before. It’s not virtual reality, it’s not a pixel-perfect 3D screens, but it is obvious and Apple has created something here that could feel normal for us all in a year or two. We could all be walking around with funny little white things sticking out of our ears and it could be as invisible as staring at your phone screen.