March is only halfway through, but it's already been a busy month for anyone studying the intersection of fashion and technology. From Huawei's colorful new P10, through the excesses of the Geneva Motor Show, to the two luxury Android Wear smartwatches announced by Tag Heuer, a couple of days ago, and Montblanc, yesterday. Each of those categories contains some measure of tension between the ephemeral quality of constantly evolving technology and the long-term commitment of buying something simply because it looks lovely.
But there is one category of almost perfectly harmonious fashion-tech product, and that's headphones. There's little conflict between sumptuous good looks on the outside and great sound on the inside, and the new breed of quickly improving wireless cans embody a simultaneous improvements in both camps: better functionality and tidier, wire-free aesthetics. That's why I'm jazzed about B&O Play's new tangerine H4 cans.
Introduced only last month, the $299 BeoPlay H4s are the most affordable wireless over-ear headphones in the portfolio of Bang & Olufsen's less exclusive, consumer-focused sub-brand. I have yet to hear them for myself, though their simple, honest design already had them high on my list of new headphones to check out. Now that they're going to be available in a surprisingly delightful tangerine color, I'm promoting them by a couple of spots on that list.
Tangerine is hardly a color I'd have said I liked before seeing the new H4 variant, but it really works beautifully within the headphones' total design. It's one of B&O Play's new spring/summer collection colors (along with sand and charcoal, which amount to a faint beige and a dark gray, respectively), and the fact that audio companies now have seasonal collections is a notable thing in and of itself.
Moto tried turning the Moto 360 smartwatch into a fashion item that was refreshed not with new models but with new collections, however that effort didn't pan out. In that case, it was mostly down to the shortcomings of the Android Wear platform and the infancy of the smartwatch as a tech product. Headphones are much more mature, however, and I think what B&O Play is doing here might become a more widely adopted trend. Now I just need to figure out if I have any outfits that match a tangerine pair of ear speakers.