Pre-pandemic I was at an airport in New York, and a 20something sat down next to me with headphones on–but not on. Instead he had them around his neck and with the earcups turned up, blasting his music so that the entire terminal could “enjoy” it.
I found this stunningly rude, but I think it’s where we’re headed as a society. Case in point are these JBuds Frames by JLab Audio, just unveiled at CES. They’re essentially portable Bluetooth speakers that clip to the side of your eyeglasses.
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At just $50, they’re bound to be attractive to those seeking inexpensive ways to express themselves while disturbing others. For their part, JLab claims that “Their open-ear design features appropriately sized 16mm drivers that produce sound perfect for personal use, without being heard by those close by,” and, well, I’ll believe it when I see and don’t hear it.
To be fair to the company, their rationale for this product is that it “allows the wearer to be acutely aware of their surroundings while listening to audio content in any activity,” which I fully support, particularly if you live in a city. I just have a bad feeling that that’s not how these are going to be used.