It's like the new iTunes, yet somehow worse.

What's more irritating than having your new iPhone spiked with (and this is only one non-fan's opinion) a dull, musical turd?

How about a high-quality speaker that looks nice and sounds good, but can only emit the crooning voice of Bono?

This devilish device, called "Pro Bono I: A Speaker That Only Plays U2," has reared its horns on the marketplace thanks to Brooklyn-based software artist Omer Shapira and tech designer Surya Mattu. Shapira in particular can be a bit of an electronics troll; his previous project was a hidden transmitter that turns off people's Google Glasses. This latest invention continues the jabbing of Silicon Valley's more-questionable outputs, in this case that infernal iTunes update loaded with U2's mediocre-rated new album, Songs of Innocence.

Use a stereo or computer to try to play your favorite tracks on "Pro Bono I," and it will detect the audio signal and immediately start blasting Songs of Innocence. Here are Shapira and Mattu explaining why they built this horrid thing:

Pro-Bono I is a response to Apple's placement of content on every iTunes-connected product, without prior consent. It's not just hilarious that a company that emphasises individualism and taste would put one album on every device it sold (although that is, we admit, kinda hillarious), it's also terrifying.

The consequences of placing a payload inside something you think you own reach further than an insult to your musical taste. It may compromise your civil rights, personal safety and freedom of expression. This breach of rights is a deal between an Electronics manufacturer and a record label, the next one may be an uneasy deal with an oppressive regime.

For all the madmen out there (and perhaps Bono), you can purchase one of these customized speakers on eBay for $1,500. That price may sound steep, but think of it as the cost of investing in, as the creators put it, "memorabilia from this short dystopian episode so it never happens again."

UnstableTechnology/GitHub

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Environment

    Europe’s Cities Weren’t Built for This Kind of Heat

    A record-breaking heat wave across London, Paris, and Amsterdam is signaling an urgent need for design and cultural changes to combat climate change.

  2. animated illustration: cars, bikes, scooters and drones in motion.
    Transportation

    This City Was Sick of Tech Disruptors. So It Decided to Become One.

    To rein in traffic-snarling new mobility modes, L.A. needed digital savvy. Then came a privacy uproar, a murky cast of consultants, and a legal crusade by Uber.

  3. photo: bicyclists in Paris during a transit strike in December.
    Transportation

    Paris Mayor: It's Time for a '15-Minute City'

    In her re-election campaign, Mayor Anne Hidalgo says that every Paris resident should be able to meet their essential needs within a short walk or bike ride.

  4. photo: Cranes on the skyline in Oakland, California
    Life

    How to Make a Housing Crisis

    The new book Golden Gates details how California set itself up for its current affordability crunch—and how it can now help build a nationwide housing movement.

  5. photo: a wallet full of Yen bills.
    Life

    Japan’s Lost-and-Found System Is Insanely Good

    If you misplace your phone or wallet in Tokyo, chances are very good that you’ll get it back. Here’s why.

×