Even without the celebrity element, there’s a sort of transience when it comes to social media trends that can’t be overlooked. Wired headphones only held their glory for a few short months before being replaced by a bulkier, more expensive option. Of course, there’s some overlap.
Though the AirPod Max — which have the added element of exclusivity given its celeb appeal and hefty price tag — might feature a sleek and modern aluminum case (in various colors, might we add), the massive headphone trend still leans heavily on the retro vibes of the ’80s and ’90s, which is why the Koss Porta Pros, originally also part of the wired Renaissance, are also still popular on TikTok; as are other styles of chunkier, over-the-head wired headphones.
“We’re seeing trends that people who belong to a younger demographic may never have previously encountered. It’s new to them. It’s fun. It’s interesting and conversation-worthy and Instagrammable,” Weingarten explains. “We see the resurgence of vinyl, so it makes sense that we’d see the silhouette of earphones popular in that era. Interestingly enough, we’ve never seen a resurgence of the hideous steel wool-sized earphones popular when Sony first introduced their Walkman back in the ’80s.”
From a trends perspective, what’s refreshing about the newly found popularity of over-the-head “cans” is not the headphones per se, but the honest and open discussions it’s opened about the dichotomy of buying something purely for aesthetics and buying something because it’s a worthy investment. Unfortunately, for some, the AirPods Max falls into the former category.
Despite thousands of raving product reviews and dozens of celebrity endorsements, creators and influencers alike aren’t afraid to call out a trending TikTok product when it doesn’t live up to the hype — especially if said product costs over $500.
According to multiple TikTokers, the AirPods Max aren’t worth the hype. Chayse Byrd, a TikTok creator with over a million followers, reviewed the headphones saying they were, overall, unimpressive. “It’s not groundbreaking,” she captioned her video. “So don’t feel pressured into getting them. 6/10.” She noted that the minimalist style reminded her of earmuffs (for her, a con; for others, a pro) and that they cost “an arm and a leg” but didn’t satisfy her major requirements of headphones that she paid over $600 for. She notes that the headphones, although comfortable, were heavy and didn’t stay secure on her head. The sound quality wasn’t up to her standards.
Other TikTokers agree. One creator said the headphones made a “nails on a chalkboard” sound when hanging around her neck and the audio quality was subpar for the price, while another creator told her followers to save their money. Verified TikTok creator Jade Beguelin even went as far as to say: “literally, f*ck AirPod Maxes” with the words “do not let the TikTok girlies lead you astray” written across the clip of her walking down the street wearing her personalized V-Moda Crossfades.