Nostalgia tends to focus on the best parts of our memories, glossing over things we’ve worked hard to forget. It turns out there are lots of good reasons we left audio cassettes behind, but if you’re determined to keep the dead format alive, you can now enjoy your music in less than CD quality through a pair of wireless headphones.
NINM Lab is no stranger to upgrading antiquated technology with modern conveniences. The company’s first Kickstarted product was the Instant Magny 35: an accessory that essentially turns 35-millimeter cameras from Nikon, Olympus, and even Leica, into Polaroid-like shooters that can immediately print out shots using Fujifilm Instax Square instant film. In some ways, it was an upgrade, but the accessory also added a lot of bulk to relatively compact cameras, so it’s hard to imagine any photographers embracing it as an improved experience.
In a similar fashion, the company’s new IT’S OK cassette player does succeed in bringing new functionality to cassette players with the addition of Bluetooth 5.0 built right in. So instead of plugging headphones into a physical jack (which is still an option), users can stream their mixtapes to Bluetooth speakers, or wireless headphones and earbuds. It eliminates the inconvenience of a cord, but everything else about using audio cassettes, from having to fast-forward or rewind to find the track you want, to recording songs in real time, to having to carry a bunch of tapes around, sounds like a genuine pain. Is being ironic really worth all that effort?
There’s no denying that Sony’s Walkman was one of the most important gadgets of the past 40 years. It paved the way for the iPod, and even the smartphone that followed, and if you refuse to let it die, the IT’S OK will be available via a Kickstarter campaign launching on the Fourth of July. (No, it doesn’t appear to be yet another Stranger Things marketing stunt.) Available in three colors: Sakura pink, Cloud white, and Evening blue, it’s going to cost nostalgia seekers $63 if they back the Kickstarter campaign, or closer to $90 if they wait until this thing pops up at Urban Outfitters. It doesn’t come with wireless headphones, however, so you’ll have to budget for that, as well as a stack of blank Memorex tapes.