iPod touchSource: iMore

There's a strange phenomenon that I won't even begin to pretend to have an understanding of. I believe it's called "fashion," and it's something the young and hip people partake in. I'm neither young nor hip — as demonstrated by my use of the word "hip" here — so I don't really understand why the rich and famous are suddenly wearing wired headphones again. But they are. And it's all bizarre indeed.

It's made all the more strange by the fact that Apple, the undisputed champion of the wired earbud, doesn't bundle them with its iPhones anymore. Pick up a brand new $1,100 iPhone 13 Pro Max, and you don't get any form of music-making device. You're expected to either have your own or buy AirPods like a good little consumer. That's fine with me, personally, but I know it's a topic people like to bring up every so often — just like some people still bang on about the lack of a headphone jack.

The thing is, the aforementioned hip and fashionable people aren't wearing AirPods anymore. They're wearing EarPods. Or, worse still, some massive headphones with an equally massive cable dropped across their chest. It's a look, that's for sure. And while I'd normally wonder what on Earth is going on and get on with ramming my AirPods Pro into my ears, right now, I'm reminded of the infamous iPod ads that arguably made Apple the company it is today. The ads that made the EarPods a part of not only the marketing but part of the product, too.

Celebs Wearing Wired HeadphonesSource: Vogue

Back in the day, before iPhones, seeing someone with the trademark white cable danging from their ear meant that you knew they had an iPod. Sure, other companies followed suit eventually, but white earbuds meant iPods at one point. iPods were cool, and so, as a result, so were white EarPods.

Fast-forward 20 years, and it's happening again. Celebs are buying white EarPods to plug into their iPhones, Lightning to headphone adapter in tow, which brings me back to Apple not bundling these things in the box. Imagine if it did and all the celebrities were wearing them again. And everyone who had an iPhone also already had a pair of these things in the box, ready to rock. How many would we see rolling around the local art gallery or boutique retail outlet or wherever these people hang out. It'd be free advertising the likes of which Apple loves.

Not a fan of EarPods, but still looking to jump onto this new fashion trend? These are the best wired alternatives to EarPods we've seen.

I know I won't be ditching my AirPods Pro for a pair of EarPods anytime soon, and I suspect many are reading this won't, either. But in the age of TikTok creators talking into their EarPods microphones and celebrities apparently going wired for reasons unknown, maybe we're in the minority.

Or maybe we're just old.