Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

For two years, Apple's AirPods were a bizarre curiosity. They were clever, but they looked odd and didn't sell very well. Then, they exploded, and according to one source, they have sold more units than even the iPhone at the same age.

The state of play: This will come as no surprise to anybody who has walked down the street or taken the subway in New York of late. AirPods had limited availability when they were first released, but as they became more common, they also started to look less weird. With broad adoption, Apple has managed to re-architect what is socially acceptable and even desirable.

The rise of AirPods has also followed the iPhone upgrade cycle. When people get a new iPhone without a headphone jack, that's often their impetus to buy headphones they can use across all of their devices.

  • AirPods are also an elegant solution to a core problem with all smartphones, which is that they're clunky and generally hard to use as a phone.

Our thought bubble, from Axios' Courtenay Brown, who got a pair of AirPods for Christmas: "One day without AirPods taught me that I've forgotten how to talk on the phone and basically do my job without them. Ordinary bluetooth headphones — which squeeze my ears, make them sweat and are just a way less seamless experience — are not an adequate replacement."

Go deeper: The sign that Apple has ripened

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Americans reflect on Independence Day amid racism reckoning

A Black Lives Matter banner and a United States flag on the facade of the U.S. embassy building in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Simon Shin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

America's leaders are rethinking how they view Independence Day, as the country reckons with the historic, unequal treatment of people of color during a pandemic which has disproportionately affected nonwhite Americans.

Why it matters: The country’s legacy of racism has come into sharp focus in the weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. From Confederate statues to Mount Rushmore, Americans are reexamining the symbols and traditions they elevate and the history behind them.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 11,031,905 — Total deaths: 523,777 — Total recoveries — 5,834,337Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 2,788,395 — Total deaths: 129,306 — Total recoveries: 790,404 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  5. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.
13 hours ago - Sports

Washington Redskins to review team name amid public pressure

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins have announced they will be conducting a review of the team's name after mounting pressure from the public and corporate sponsors.

Why it matters: This review is the first formal step the Redskins are taking since the debate surrounding the name first began. It comes after weeks of discussions between the team and the NFL, the team said.