In the past few weeks, our office and the marketplace itself have been deluged with themed headphones. Whereas strapping on a pair of Sonys or Sennheisers used to be enough, today's best buds are all about merchandising either a celebrity or an entertainment franchise.
A couple years ago, HP started a trend by hiring DJ Dr. Dre and attaching his name to a line of headphones. Today, we've got earpieces from Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, 50 Cent, and... the HBO series True Blood. Manufacturers may have already gone too far, but I think the truly outrageous designs are yet to come.
Here are 10 themed headphone designs I expect to see in the near future.
The Zucks – Private listening is so 20th century! Named after everyone’s favorite Facebook founder, this headset allows you to share your musical preference with friends, coworkers, and anyone within 20 feet by broadcasting outward.
The RIMs by BlackBerry – This newfangled stereo headset works great with your 8-track tape deck and betamax player. The proprietary, half-inch connector requires a special “bridge adapter” that links a BlackBerry phone to your stereo.
Michael McDonald Smooth Set – Designed for the geriatric crowd who still listen to Yacht Rock, these large phones feature a built-in AM radio, but also sync with your calendar and play loud noises 15 minutes before appointments to keep you from forgettin'.
Kanye West Showboats – Smartphone apps such as Shazam have long been able to tell what you what you're listening to, but they don't give your music ratings. The K West buds use special AI technology that interrupts cheesy songs with a message that says "I'm really happy for you and Imma let you finish listening to this, but Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' is the best jam of all time."
Dexter Beat Killaz – This noise-cancelling pair is big enough to envelope both your ears, but is light and clear because it’s composed of 90-percent plastic wrap. Designed for watching horror movies, the headset ensures that only you can hear your screams.
Twilight Tweeters – Can't decide whether you're on team Edward or team Jacob? These buds can switch between Jacob ("high-pitched rock preset") and Edward ("sappy emo preset") modes with the flick of a button. Better still, they sparkle in the sunshine.
Fleetwood Mac Dreamphones – These rugged headphones don't sound that great, but their manufacturer guarantees they'll last over 40 years. Of course, they break apart once every couple of years, but an inexpensive kit will always snap them back together. Includes special tambourine-boost mode.
The Flavas by Flava Flav – The sides of these giant red phones have clocks, just so the people sitting on either side of you on the bus know what time it is. It's time to get ill, of course!
The Piano Men by Billy Joel – Perfect for everyone from angry young men to Catholic school girls and longshoremen, the piano men make everything sound like Long Island. What does Long Island sound like? You just have to experience it.
The Equalizers by T-Pain – Through the miracle of autotune technology, all of your music—even your William Hung albums—can sound really good. Best of all, you don't have to sell your bling to afford them.