The Necessity of Earbuds

A piece of tech that we just can’t seem to leave behind

Chris Jennings
3 min readApr 9, 2022


Hello Medium Friends!

This post was originally featured recently in my newsletter Iterate. If you like my writing on Medium and want to get regular updates in your inbox, please subscribe here:

When did earbuds become an essential piece of tech?

Sure, we’ve always had headphones for listening to music on public transportation or wherever. But something changed in the last decade or so. The earbuds (likely in their cute little charging case) have become a regular part of our everyday carry (EDC) ensemble.

Most people wouldn’t leave the house without their phone, keys, or wallet. Yes, I do think that keys are going the way of the dodo and your phone can more or less already act as your wallet. More and more people are adding another item to this essentials list.

What are they?

I won’t get into the debate over which earbuds are best, although I do have a surprising opinion that I can share at another time. Let’s just look at the earbud as a generic product that serves a single purpose. It sends audio into our earholes whenever we want it.

Sounds simple right? It’s just a way for us to listen to something whenever we want. It may be music, audiobooks, podcasts, you name it. The magical earbud will give it to us to replace the sound of whatever mundane chore or ambient noise we’d otherwise be hearing.

They come in all shapes and colors. They may rest over our ears, they may hang down past our earlobes, and they may get shoved deep into our ear canal to better block everything else out. The important thing is that they are small enough to be easily carried in a bag or a pocket in case they’re needed.

Did Apple do this?

It’s easy to associate Apple with tech trends, whether it’s true or not. The Apple AirPods were and still are an extremely popular product for the brand.

Analysts estimate Apple sold between 14 million and 16 million AirPods in 2017. In 2018, AirPods were Apple’s most popular accessory product, with 35 million units sold. 60



Chris Jennings

I write about the intersection of technology, productivity, and mindfulness. See more of my work at