My AirPods Pro are among the most used Apple device I’ve ever owned.
They accompany me everywhere and are the pair of headphones I reach for when listening to podcasts, conducting business calls, and working out. Which accounts for about 90% of everything I do.
Their ease of use, ultra-convenience, brilliant noise-cancelling capabilities, and great sound make them arguably the most satisfying Apple product on the market right now. Indeed, they’re one of the very few devices Apple currently makes which still retain the ‘magic’ that is curiously missing from so much of its lineup.
You can ruin AirPods Pro, though. And that’s exactly what I did during the checkout process when I purchased mine.
It seemed like a good idea at the time
I don’t own a personalised number plate. You won’t find my initials written on anything other than signed documents that required them. The only product I’ve ever willingly asked my name to be applied to* is a Starbucks coffee cup to ensure my cappuccino doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.
That was until I bought my AirPods Pro and had them engraved.
I still can’t quite remember why I did this. Perhaps I was drunk. I have, after all, made some very questionable purchases after a few cans.
Even if I had been on the sauce, it really was an odd decision on my part. The engraving option is available during the checkout process of several Apple products, but I’ve always ignored it. Alas, for some reason, I checked the box for my AirPods Pro, entered my name (I thought better of using an emoji), and promptly got on with my life.
In fact, I completely forgot I’d gone for the engraving – until they arrived.
What would Jobs say?
We’ve all experienced this. You order something, it arrives, and as soon as you open it, your heart sinks.
That’s what happened when I opened my AirPods Pro. Sure, I was still filled with excitement and anticipation about what they’d sound like, and how good the noise-cancelling would be, but, dear god, that engraving.
For anyone who hasn’t had an Apple product engraved recently, let me show you what it looks like.
There are two issues here. Firstly, having your name applied to a piece of tech is inherently stupid, unless you’re a kid. It’s the sort of thing you do with your pencil case when you’re 6-years-old. It looks really silly when you’re 41.
I know that now. I have no idea why I didn’t know that at the time of ordering. Or why I thought it was necessary.
Secondly, Apple appears to use a bold version of (I think) their favourite font – San Francisco for the engraving. It looks comically childlike, which only makes the Primary School Pencil Case Syndrome worse.
Just look at it.
You can stop laughing now. No, really – please.
Would Steve Jobs – a guy who was obsessed with the beauty and art of calligraphy – be happy with that? Of course he wouldn’t – it looks terrible. More fundamentally, I doubt he’d allow knuckle-dragging consumers like myself to scrawl all over his lovingly crafted industrial designs.
There is also literally no benefit to having your AirPods Pro case engraved with your own name. I know they are mine; as noted earlier, they follow me everywhere and are always to hand. And, at the time of placing the order, I was acutely aware that they would be the only pair of AirPods Pro in our house, so there’d never be any confusion.
But what if I left them behind in a coffee shop? Well, an engraving ain’t gonna help there is it, Mark? What have they got to go on, bar your full name?
What a daft idea.
I spoke recently about the lack of a case on my iPhone 13 mini and the propensity I have to leave Apple devices as naked as the day they rolled off the production line.
The AirPods Pro are therefore something of an anomaly in my everyday tech carry; they were slipped into a case as swiftly as possible. In fact, I’ve never ordered one so quickly in my life.
I simply couldn’t bear for people to see that I’d had my own name plastered in a Comic Sans-style font onto the side of my AirPods Pro case. Whether it was resting on a coffee shop table, on view in my gym locker while getting changed, or sitting on the kitchen side for everyone to see, it always looked silly.
This is why, in practically every piece of b-roll featuring my AirPods Pro, they’re encased in something that hides the engraving.
Of course, my ill-considered engraving hasn’t impacted my enjoyment of AirPods Pro at all; it’s purely an aesthetic thing, and I’m sure, for many people, it’s an option that makes the product uniquely theirs. But I won’t be doing it again. And, more importantly, I deeply wish Apple would use a different font.
Seriously – what were they thinking?
*Yes, I’m fully aware I’m running a personal brand. Let’s put that to one side (or, otherwise, this story doesn’t work).