Are iPods losing their 'coolness'?

Fri Feb 23, 2007

There is no denying that the iPod has become part of our popular culture. What started as a neat toy for Mac users blossomed into a fashion craze for young urban hipsters. These cool urbanites identified each other not with secret handshakes but by the white ear-buds that had become the icon for “coolness”. The rise of the iPod sub-culture has a grassroots foundation in the heart of the thriving metropolis - on gritty city streets, on crowded subway trains and in public places. The iPod fad proliferated in cities like New York, where people walk everywhere. Those little white ear-buds also started popping up everywhere and the iPod caught on like wildfire. Now car commuters are crying for a piece of coolness too. Auto manufacturers have heeded their cries - most new cars being put on the market today are iPod ready.

But with Apple pushing for dominant shares in every market, they are in danger of alienating their core group of users. Those street-smart iPod evangelists who started the whole viral marketing thing won’t think twice about ditching the pod for the next cool gadget that comes along (with the exception of hardcore Mac users, whose loyalty borders on stubbornness). Why?

The reason is simple - everybody has one.

There is no longer anything separating the cool from the uncool, the hip from the square, the geek from the flavour of the week. The line between urban chic and the vast hinterland outside of the urban centre has been eradicated. Now the straight-laced banker can bop to his iPod tunes in his BMW while he commutes to the city from the burbs. Now farmer Joe can till his field while listening to some twanging country and western on his nano. Does that sound like the kind of scene an urban hipster wants to be part of?



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