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CEO: $300 Earbuds Will Only Last Two Years with No Repair Options

It’s Friday, so it’s time to kick back and check out the third “Worst in Show” awards by iFixit!

They scan and select the most outrageous products from the annual CES forum and “award” them in various categories, like “Privacy”, “Security”, “Repairability” and… “Enshittification”.

“Enshittification” is the word of 2023, according to the American Dialect Society. As Wikipedia puts it, Enshittification is also known as platform decay – the pattern of decreasing quality of online platforms that act as two-sided markets.

Back to the “Worst in Show” awards. The judges from iFixit handed them out based on product-related questions like “How bad is this product?”, “Are the problems with this gadget innovatively bad?”, “How much do the negatives outweigh the positives?”, and more.

The trouble with the earbuds

In the “Repairability” category, iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens selects the anti-award for the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds.“If you spend $300 on a set of headphones, you expect it to last. Particularly if it’s from Sennheiser, the stalwart brand known for bulletproof, long-lasting over-the-ear headphones”, he says.

The problem is that “Just like almost every other True Wireless earbud, these contain three separate batteries. The bud cells will fail after two years of regular use. Sennheiser does not sell replacement batteries, and internet forums are replete with people complaining that the company won’t repair them”.

What else is “the worst”?

Okay, this one isn’t what you’d call a piece of “mobile technology”, but it’s hilarious – again, it’s Friday, so don’t take things too seriously.

In the “Who Asked for This?” category the “winner” is… Instacart AI-powered smart sarts.

“We see 10,000 ads per day, but that’s not enough for Instacart! Their new “AI-powered” shopping cart with a display screen tracks what you buy and shows you curated ads… er, “experiences” to “connect” with brands. It uses historic shopping behavior to push junk foods you’ve bought before. Grocery stores are overwhelming and navigating promotions is exhausting, and I question the sanity of whoever thought we should make it worse”, reads the blog post.

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