When I was in high school, I rigged my Volvo to play my first-gen iPod through its speakers. It wasn’t easy. My first attempt was a cassette tape connected to an aux cord plugged into the iPod, which worked fine save for every 40 minutes or so when you had to manually flip the cassette. Second was a device that hooked into my iPod and synced up to a radio station. It would fizz in and out, never quite agreeing with the car’s stereo system. It’s the agreement you enter the minute you buy a new piece of technology—that’s when it begins its death march to incompatibility, when even the coolest devices become unusable.
Not all obsolete tech is something you’re willing to give up, though—take the Bose Stereo System that I begged my parents for in the sixth grade. It played CDs (Aqua’s Aquamarine was on rotation) and had a built-in subwoofer. It sounded great—and, crucially, it still does. (Way better, in fact, than the $200 Jambox I bought a few years ago, which first stopped fully charging and then stopped working altogether.) I don’t listen to CDs anymore, but I still use my Bose—made Bluetooth-compatible with an $18 investment, a tiny receiver made by Mpow that can Bluetooth-ify anything with an aux input.
Mpow can fit right into any aux input, lives off battery life (or plugged into an outlet at all times, if you prefer), and allows you to play any of the music on your phone directly through the sound system you’ve connected it to. You can take it with you on vacation if you suspect your Airbnb isn’t quite up-to-date with wireless connectivity, listen to Spotify on your commute without overhauling the car stereo, or turn an older surround-sound system anew without having to manually plug in your iPhone (or iPod or laptop).
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