iPhone 5 Earbuds Review: 3 Reasons To Love The Redesigned 'EarPods' According to Apple Design Chief Jony Ive

By iDesign Times Staff Reporter September 13, 2012 4:33 PM EDT
iPhone 5 earbuds earpods

Apple redesigned earbuds, the "EarPods." (Photo: via Apple.com)

Apple's classic earbuds, the minimalist white ones that make your ears hurt if you keep them in for too long and have decent sound quality, were introduced with the first iPod back in 2001 and quickly become a symbol of the brand's emphasis on sleek, futuristic design.

Yesterday at the iPhone 5 launch event, Apple unveiled a redesigned set of earbuds which represent the first major change to products design in over a decade. Over the years several small design changes have been implemented, including the addition of a remote and microphone, but these new in-ear headphones represent a complete design overhaul, which Apple illustrated by official renaming the new headphones. Say hello to EarPods.

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Apple even released a special promo video to explain their new EarPods, narrated by Apple's lead designer, Sir Jony Ive:

In the above video, Jony Ive explains the three main benefits to the redesigned earphones. We've broke them down for you below:

1. They provide the best listening experience yet:

By studying the ear, Apple was able to design earphones that can direct sound into your ear canal in the best way possible.

"To optimize the acoustics, we've built in a series of ports, each with its own unique purpose," Ive explains. "A port in the back tunes midrange frequencies and provides a consistent listening experience from one person to the next. To provide rich, powerful bass, we've built ports into the stem that actually work in sympathy with the speaker. By letting airflow in and out of the acoustic chamber, they relieve pressure and allow the speaker to allow more freely, producing greater, low-frequency sound."

2. They're designed to perfectly fit in the human ear:

The human ear is so unique. No two are alike," Ive says in the video. "Making one headphone to fit everybody's ears would be like one pair of shoes to fit everybody's feet, I mean it's impossible. But that's exactly what we've tried to do with the new EarPods."

On Apple website, the company explains that the first step in designing the EarPods was studying the geometry of the ear, rather than building a speaker. To design the impossible, Ive and his team studied hundreds of ears to create a composite average.

"Everything about their design is focused on delivering incredible sound and comfort," Ive explains. "As part of an exhaustive research and development effort, we three-dimensionally scanned hundreds of ears and looked for a commonality. From that, we were able to determine a common volume. This was our starting point to developing a form to fit a broad range of ears."

The end result is an earphone that is stable without forming a seal inside the ear.

3. They're more durable than ever: 

According to their website, Apple enlisted 600 people to test over 100 different models of the EarPods for durability in a variety of conditions over the past three years:

Testers ran on treadmills in extreme heat and extreme cold. They performed various cardio workouts. They were even asked to shake their heads from side to side, up and down. The result: Apple EarPods provide stronger protection from sweat and water, and they're remarkably stable in the ear. Which means they stay in, even when you're on the go.

Release Date and Price:

Apple's EarPods are already available for purchase and cost $29.99. The new earphones will also come free with every new iPhone, iPod and iPad device.

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