The $160 gadget that wants you to do something you may never have considered


It’s a thing. Apparently.


You never really know other people. You may think you do but, one day, they’ll say or do something that surprises you, and you’ll imagine your entire view of them.

Sometimes, technology drives them toward these surprising possibilities. As my example, I present something I simply never knew that people did: Listen to a podcast while swimming.

Also: These $99 bone conduction headphones work underwater — and when you don’t have your phone

Does that seem strange to you? I always thought of swimming as an elemental pursuit. There’s you in very few clothes, the water with very few ripples and a sense of peaceful exertion, coupled with strange bubbling noises in your ears.

This doesn’t seem to be the case for everyone.

A company called H2O Audio insists it isn’t. It wrote to me insisting it isn’t. “We have officially launched the H2O Audio Pro Series with the new Playlist+ technology,” its enthusiastic press spokesperson told me in an email.

Playlists+? What could this mean?

Well, it’s a “groundbreaking technology that loads and stores content from any popular streaming app into the memory of headphones for offline playback later during a swim, run, or workout.”

Also: The best headphones you can buy

The company muses that this is found “nowhere else in the world.” While I muse about what sort of things I’d like to listen to while swimming.

Please don’t tell me “motivational speeches” or “meditational moods.” Please, instead, tell me “news of governments drowning in sleaze and awful politicians sinking without a trace.”

“How deep does this go?” I hear you mumble through the bubbles.

H2O insists that its Pro Series has an IPX8 rating. This allows you to go 12 feet under and still listen safely to gardening tips from experts.

And goodness, you can load your favorite sounds and podcasts while you sleep and your headphones are charging.

So there, is this something you’ve ever considered? Is this something that’ll make your morning swim more edifying? Could this improve your performance? We’re all looking to improve our performance, aren’t we?

Also: I sweat so much it damages the earbuds. Here’s what I wear to run now instead

I can’t tell you whether this is a sensory experience that’ll enhance your life. I can’t even tell you whether it’s worth the $160 for the privilege of enjoying it.

Still, H2O Audio CEO and founder Kristian Rauhala insists: “This is something our customers have been requesting for years.”

I wonder if he could record that sentence on a streaming app so customers can download it and listen to it on a loop while they swim.

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