Since they first came on the scene decades ago, I’ve had an on- and off-again love affair with Apple (the computer/device company). I can distinctly remember the fascination I felt when viewing their first mouse-controlled computer in the ‘80s, for example. I’ve owned many Apple computers and devices over the years, and still do.
But the problem with Apple devices is that they are so darn expensive. Too expensive, in my view. An example of this is AirPods and AirPods Pro. I was really excited to be given enough gift money to purchase my first AirPods about three years ago. At a cost of somewhere around $160, they seemed exorbitant and gift money was the only way I could hope to afford them. I enjoyed them for a while but became jaded over time with their reduced battery life. I’m still not sure the $160 was a worthwhile price to pay.
Fast forward to today, and my recent hankering to get AirPods Pro, at an even more eye-watering price of something like $230. Here again, gift money was a key factor, but there was just no way I could see to afford a new pair. Instead, I turned to Craigslist to look for a used pair. After some searching, I hit upon what I thought was an incredible deal to buy a new-in-the-box AirPods Pro for a negotiated price of $110. I was so excited at this “steal” but my excitement gradually turned to frustration when I could not get the devices to work consistently and properly, over and over again and especially in trying to pair them with multiple devices. I found it hard to believe that Apple could make such an expensive device that was so patently terrible.
Then I made an appointment to have these AirPods Pro looked at by an Apple technician at an Apple Store. Almost immediately, they spotted that the AirPods Pro I had purchased from someone on Craigslist were — you guessed it — fake. I was told that the pair I had purchased was a better fake than anything they had previously encountered, and I was shown real ones to compare to the fake ones. Honestly, I doubt that I could possibly have spotted this myself in the first place, but that didn’t stop me from feeling incredibly dumb at being so easily duped. Lesson learned.
Eventually I decided to go ahead and purchase the real thing and although the Apple Store offered them at a discount, I still paid over $200 for them. The bargain I made in my mind to justify this is that I’d sell other gear on eBay to make up for this cost. (I had wasted all of my gift money on the fake ones.) I’m still working on achieving enough eBay sales to pay off what I spent on the AirPods Pro.
However, I will say that in the case of the real AirPods Pro, Apple’s often repeated “it just works” mantra has proven correct. Although I am not an audiophile and have no pretense to special expectations for audio, I am greatly impressed with how well these function. Everything that Apple’s marketing claims project has been on target with them. They really are a joy to use, and I can easily switch from my iPhone to my iPad to my Mac Mini to whatever else, and they just work. I get noise reduction, I get spatial audio (pretty neat IRL), I get a great fit in my ears (a problem with my old AirPods). I have lots of video calls for work for which these just work so smoothly, effortlessly.
Bottom line: I’m still an Apple fan. And Apple things still are way too expensive. But I still pay, when I can afford it.