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New iPod In-Ear Headphone reviewed: Apple's best yet

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
After a false start two years ago, Apple has released a new set of in-ear buds that are finally worth trading up to from the company's own pack-in models and which may well compete against third-party earbuds that are significantly above its price class. We explain why.

The first attempt: the original In-Ear Headphones

Of all the iPod accessory markets Apple has dipped into since launch over seven years ago, the company has ironically been the most conservative around personal audio. It wasn't until 2005 that Apple offered anything more than a replacement set for the (necessarily) cheap earbuds that have always come with the company's portable music players.

These buds, the first iPod In-Ear Headphones, have commonly been regarded as outright flops. They only cost $39, but it was painfully obvious that this was Apple's first attempt and that it was built to a price. The flush, almost conical shape was very difficult to keep in one's ear even in ideal conditions, and most of the improvement in audio quality simply came from moving the sound deeper into your ear opening.

As such, there was almost no incentive to buy Apple's own take on higher-end earbuds; unless you just had to have the lanyard set for the early iPod nano, you were better-off buying something in a similar price range or slightly higher that fit better and had more than just a passive audio enhancement. And of course, in the era of iPhone and iPod touch, the absence of either a microphone or a remote was virtually a deal breaker.

Comfort and fit options

The new earbuds are, in a sense, an admission by Apple that the original design didn't work: the new design has a right-angled shape that fits much more directly.

To say it's an improvement in stability would be an understatement. The new buds can be inserted deeply enough into the ear passage that there's little if any room for them to slip out, although they do require a degree of "massaging" (really, wiggling) to get a perfect fit. Running with the In-Ear set didn't jostle it out of place or create any real doubts.





The silicone ear tips have also changed somewhat, though not by much: they're now a set of clear, very thin covers instead of the earlier solid gray models. They look nicer, but they're importantly very soft and comfortable on the ears. We've used a set of Shure E2Cs in the past that were certainly comfortable most of the time but were bulky enough to potentially cause discomfort over a long stretch of listening. We wore Apple's earbuds for hours and not once felt any pain or signs they'd been in place for too long.

It's also noteworthy that listeners aren't forced to wear the earphones a particular way: they remained snug both inserted directly and hooked over the ears, although the cords were more likely to come loose than on earbuds intended to be worn this way, as with the Shures.

Like most earphone makers, Apple includes both small and large eartips in the box, and given the comfort of the mediums should easily accommodate unusual ear sizes. For some reason, however, Apple has chosen to package them in a "pill" that opens at either end rather than simply stuffing them in a bag. It's a nice touch, but it's utterly excessive: most iPhone and iPod owners don't share their earbuds with others that also happen to have different ear sizes and don't really need an elaborate container as a result.


Sound quality

By far the most heavily trumpeted aspect of the new iPod In-Ear Headphones is their dual-driver output. While sounding slightly exotic, the effect of this switch really amounts to the same as having separate tweeters and woofers in speakers. It separates the high- and low-range frequencies into more distinct output and prevents sound from seeming muddled by mixing too many frequencies into one single driver.

That's largely how it pans out in practice. Compared to the single-driver E2Cs, which are known to be slightly bass-heavy, Apple's buds have more clearly evident treble and slightly more detailed as well. In DJ Shadow's "Midnight in a Perfect World," for example, the hisses and pops from the sample records are easier to detect and are more likely to be heard even as the beats first take full effect. Classical music and other treble-rich audio sounds good as well, though spoken dialogue may sound slightly brittle.

Those who listen to electronic and urban music should be happy, and not necessarily in the way they think: the earphones still have satisfying bass response, but they're tangibly more neutral than the Shures and certainly more so than punchy earbuds like V-MODA's Vibe line. The notion that absolute neutrality is necessary is something of a myth -- many earbuds need extra bass to make up for weaker portable amps -- but Apple appears to get reasonably close to the sweet spot between too much and not enough bass, especially for the price.

Noise isolation is inherent to in-ear buds like these and certainly muted most sound, though not quite as absolutely as full-fledged in-canal models; loud footsteps and other more moderate noises occasionally creep in. This could be a good thing for urbanites keen to listen for oncoming cars, or a bad thing for audio purists.

One caveat exists for those unused to in-ear buds: a certain amount of cleaning is necessary, as the tips and grilles will gradually accumulate wax. It's not difficult, but it's necessary. Apple thankfully has an improvement here too. Instead of throwaway stick-on caps to protect the drivers, the company uses metal caps. These are both more durable and can also be washed to be used again. The one worry is if users exhaust both pairs of caps included in the box; there's no publicized replacements, so owners may have to shell out another $79 if both sets are lost.

The mic, remote and iPhone compatibility

Apple's 2008 In-Ears mark the company's first-ever microphone accessory for iPods, and this by itself may be the single most important addition to the iPod line in recent memory. It's finally possible to record voice memos on the fourth-generation iPod nano and the second-generation iPod classic. second-generation iPod touch owners now also have support for voice-aware software like Google Mobile App or even voice-over-Internet calling suites like Truphone. It's a game changer, and that Apple hasn't chosen to restrict the functionality to individual app types is a boon for iPod touch owners who want some semblance of the iPhone experience.

Unfortunately, support hasn't extended back to earlier iPods. The first-runs of the iPod classic and iPod touch both won't recognize the mic at all, and older iPods with entirely different firmware won't support it either. Apple has never publicly explained why this is the case, though we suspect Occam's Razor is in effect. The firm wants to push owners to upgrade their devices, and the time spent retrofitting the earlier hardware would only delay some purchases. The possibility also exists that the earlier iPods may lack some necessary circuitry, but nothing appears to have been confirmed on this front.



As for sound quality, there were few complaints. It's not meant for recording podcasts, and quality is relatively basic. But with such a small footprint, it's hard to complain and it's in fact fairly free of distortion or excessive sensitivity. Only louder background noises like nearby cars registered during testing outdoors.

The remote function also embodies this ultra-minimal design. It's obviously lifted almost directly from the iPhone and works just as well: you click once to play, pause, answer or end calls, twice to skip forward, and three times to skip back. About the only additions are volume controls that respond a similar way. It's strange but also very intuitive, and an absolute lifesaver for cold weather, subways, or other areas where temperature and security could actually make it dangerous to pull out an iPod to change tracks.

Officially, Apple only supports iPods, but here's where the company delivers a pleasant surprise: all iPhones support the mic and most of the remote functions out of the box. We tested this ourselves, and it delivered good call quality. The only functionality broken is the volume control, and this is less of an issue given the dedicated buttons for this on the iPhone itself. You don't really lose functionality over Apple's default earbuds, and so the new In-Ear Headphones could well be a step-up over the bundled headset for those who want higher quality.

About the only quirk for the mic/remote combo is its placement. Rather than putting it on the main cord, Apple places the remote on the cord for the right earbud. It's understandable from a voice perspective, since it brings the mic closer to your mouth, but it's not intuitive in the way a remote sitting on your chest might be.


Durability concerns?

The one misgiving we have for the new earbuds are their useful lifespan. Apple is a fan of small, subtle earbuds, but as a result has more fragile-feeling buds and thinner cables. They're well put together and convey a sense of quality, but they aren't as sturdy as Shure's usual cabling or those of other more audiophile-grade earpieces.

That could potentially lead to damage over time; while not a serious complaint, we can imagine some users having to seek replacements if the cords fray or the earbuds get crushed. Treat them with care and they should last as long as any other set, but be aware they aren't meant to handle a large amount of abuse.

The iPod In-Ear Headphones in review

We've heard that Apple is "cheating" with its new in-ear design, as it's not entirely the company's own baby: a third-party headphone maker is believed to have been heavily involved in creating the audio system and mostly relied on Apple for the cosmetics.

However true that might be, it's probably a wise strategy in hindsight and is what leads to a very strong recommendation from us: better to borrow from the best than to make a poor original. The new models are actually very pleasing to listen to, and that second driver has much to do with it. It's enough to seriously consider abandoning even other earbuds in the class if you're missing out on the microphone and remote functions, particularly if you live north of Apple's home state of California and have to risk freezing skin to change tracks.

And more importantly, the price is right. A quick comparison puts Apple's $79 offering about $20 lower than the Shure SE110s and a similar amount above Sony's MDR-EX85s, both of which have single drivers and are more prone to indistinct sounds as a result. Apple's claim of almost revolutionizing earbuds is something of a misnomer: the sound isn't so good that it would blow away a normally high-end dual driver setup. All the same, the In-Ears are sufficiently inexpensive that they can make far more economic sense than springing for many $100 or $120 sets.

Time will tell if there are any long-term problems that will surface with the earphones, whether it's the cord or cleaning the caps, but for now it's hard not to recommend them to iPhone and modern iPod users alike. They sound good, the in-line functionality works well, and of course they fit in with Apple's design aesthetic. If you're looking to upgrade from what Apple gave you in your iPod box, you finally have a real alternative from the electronics giant itself.

Rating 4.5 out of 5



Pros:
Well-balanaced yet sufficiently bass-rich sound
Inexpensive for the quality
Comfortable for long periods
Voice memos, VoIP now an option for newer iPods
iPhone support
Good (though not great) microphone input
Simple but effective remote

Cons:
Thin cables and small earpieces
No support for first-generation iPod classic or iPod touch models
Volume doesn't work (yet) on iPhones
Remote placed in a slightly unusual location
post #2 of 56
Ok so when are they going to be in store? I've been visiting my local (Toronto) Apple Store everyday for the past a week or so and they are not in store yet!!!
post #3 of 56
Still taken aback that didn't make them "FULLY" compatible with the iPhone 3G at least. YES, I know they are partially compatible. This is such an Apple thing to do. One of the best companies in the world manage to do things like this that are so dumb it's shocking.

Steve, you get a bag of coal for X-MAS

Anyone makes any excuses for them, or tires to defend Apple in any way shape or form on this one get an internet-slap! ZIP IT!
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #4 of 56
Quote:
iPhone support

So this it a "Pro", yet....

Quote:
Volume doesn't work (yet) on iPhones

YET? What are the waiting for, the parting of the seas at Macworld? Come on. If the volume controls don't work on the iPhone it's not supported - end of story. In fact if you go to the online Apple store you'll see there's no iPhones in the supported models images at the bottom, cause they are not supported. Imagine if this was a Zune, you would have slated them to piece over this. I'm sorry but I find it embarrassing to hear you say it's supported.

Quote:
(yet)?

Cars are "flying around the world" on "a lot liter of water", it's just that the engines aren't supported yet.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #5 of 56
iPhone: From my understanding, the volume aspect requires that receiving input socket have all 4 segments/connectors. The iPhone only has 3. (forgive the layman wording). So it will take a complete change-out of the input socket to begin solving the issue. I bet the next iPhone edition that comes out will have it.


The bigger question I have... from my understanding... the new MacBook (Pros) can use these as complete mic/headphone set. Has anyone tried this out? doe the controls work as well??? This would a good thing to know and could tip the scales for some.


Thanks for the article btw.
post #6 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The one misgiving we have for the new earbuds are their useful lifespan.

The trouble with my last iPhone earbuds was that the connection between the microphone/remote and the earbuds didn't tidn't withstand much, and I soon had to buy a new pair. It looks like it's as fragile here..
post #7 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Still taken aback that didn't make them "FULLY" compatible with the iPhone 3G at least. YES, I know they are partially compatible. This is such an Apple thing to do. One of the best companies in the world manage to do things like this that are so dumb it's shocking.

Steve, you get a bag of coal for X-MAS

Anyone makes any excuses for them, or tires to defend Apple in any way shape or form on this one get an internet-slap! ZIP IT!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

So this it a "Pro", yet....

YET? What are the waiting for, the parting of the seas at Macworld? Come on. If the volume controls don't work on the iPhone it's not supported - end of story. In fact if you go to the online Apple store you'll see there's no iPhones in the supported models images at the bottom, cause they are not supported. Imagine if this was a Zune, you would have slated them to piece over this. I'm sorry but I find it embarrassing to hear you say it's supported.

But Apple doesn't even claim to support iPhone, it is AI that is saying that. I understand the lack of volume control is a bummer, but all the other functions do work, really, three out of four features that do work. If you can deal with the durability concerns and lack of volume control, maybe the improved sound quality can make it worthwhile. There doesn't appear to be a lot of competing options that even have a button and mic on the cord.

Given the additional regulatory hurdles because of the updated radios and such, as well as the earlier release I would expect that the iPhone 3G hardware design had to be completed maybe as much as half a year before the Touch had to be done.

I really don't care for this product as is, but I do hope it gets supported by third parties, particularly ones that make more conventional headphones with a hoop. I just can't use ear buds.
post #8 of 56
I'd love to see an article on how crap the new MacBook Pro speakers are compared to the old one. They really sound terrible and buzz the case like an old TV.
post #9 of 56
I don't know what all the hubub is about that apple came out with these earphones. because the plastic is white?

if you're serious about in-ear phones, check out the line from Etymotic Research. I have had a set of the the ER6's for over a year. They're reference neutral, totally isolating, and the same price as the apple's on ebay.

http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er6.aspx

Check them out
post #10 of 56
I have a issue with my left ear that I cannot use a in-ear headphone, I had a tube implanted in my ear similar to the tubes that implanted in children. For this reason anything blocking the airflow into and out of the ear is out of the question for me.

I have been stuck using the old fashion headphones and battery life on the iPod really falls down using these as they have to power a larger speaker.

I wish that Apple would go the other way for us that have to have tubes in our eardrums.

If your kids have tubes in their eardrums they also should not be using the ear buds also for the same reason I can not.

It is nice to see Apple develop these new ear buds but I wish they would develop better old style head phones for us that can not use ear buds for whatever reason, I can not see why I have to break down and buy a good quality headset that is close to the same price as a iPod 16 GB.
post #11 of 56
Ya. It'll be cool if they were in any Apple store. I don't understand why Apple drags such products. I mean I do know, because of the hype. But its headphones, not new computer or iPhone.
Apple had me at scrolling
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Apple had me at scrolling
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post #12 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Still taken aback that didn't make them "FULLY" compatible with the iPhone 3G at least. YES, I know they are partially compatible. This is such an Apple thing to do. One of the best companies in the world manage to do things like this that are so dumb it's shocking.

...

Anyone makes any excuses for them, or tires to defend Apple in any way shape or form on this one get an internet-slap! ZIP IT!

The iPod Touch 2nd-gen is a newer product, and this is not the only capability/spec Apple improved after the iPhone 3G came out. Newer products are often better than older ones (from any company--it's not just an Apple habit).
post #13 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by elconcho View Post

I don't know what all the hubub is about that apple came out with these earphones. because the plastic is white?

if you're serious about in-ear phones, check out the line from Etymotic Research. I have had a set of the the ER6's for over a year. They're reference neutral, totally isolating, and the same price as the apple's on ebay.

http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er6.aspx

Check them out

But with disposible, non cleanable "filters" at $10/set? WTF?

I don't think it makes any sense to compare the eBay prices with retail prices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

Ya. It'll be cool if they were in any Apple store. I don't understand why Apple drags such products. I mean I do know, because of the hype. But its headphones, not new computer or iPhone.

You mean delays? It may have been that way so they can announce all their products at one event. I imagine that Apple would make more money if they had them available right away when they're fresh on everyone's mind. Heck, releasing so close to Christmas is not so good for gift purchases, where as iPhones and computers seem to be a less likely gift, if money was a consideration.
post #14 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeske View Post

I have a issue with my left ear that I cannot use a in-ear headphone, I had a tube implanted in my ear similar to the tubes that implanted in children. ... I wish they would develop better old style head phones for us that can not use ear buds for whatever reason, I can not see why I have to break down and buy a good quality headset that is close to the same price as a iPod 16 GB.

Not to try to one-up you, but I was born without a left ear. No ear, no ear canal opening, nada. I actually spent about 30 minutes on the phone with an Apple Cust. Service Rep. about a year ago addressing this issue from my own perspective. What I would LOVE to see is a mono/stereo setting option.

I dovetailed my argument in favor of this option in what I thought was a very convincing manner. If you are driving, waiting to hear a flight call at the airport or sharing your earbuds with a potential romantic interest on the beach, it would be nice to have the option to hear all of the music from each earbud. As it is, if you need to, or are only able to listen to one earbud, some music is so heavily split stereophonically that what you end up listening to is nothing close to the full sound of the song. You end up listening to the bass, rhythm guitar and harmonies, or you can choose the rest of the band minus the fore mentioned. I don't know if that would satisfy your needs as well or not, but that is a moot point at this juncture.

The Rep. was very courteous and seemed quite interested... but that has yet to yield any change, to the best of my knowledge.

Jeff
post #15 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's 2008 In-Ears mark the company's first-ever microphone accessory for iPods, and this by itself may be the single most important addition to the iPod line in recent memory. It's finally possible to record voice memos on the fourth-generation iPod nano and the second-generation iPod classic. second-generation iPod touch owners now also have support for voice-aware software like Google Mobile App or even voice-over-Internet calling suites like Truphone.

actually, the iPhone earphones work great with the 2gen iPod Touch, mic and everything, so this was actually possible as soon as the apps were made. the volume control is definitely welcome though!
post #16 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

The trouble with my last iPhone earbuds was that the connection between the microphone/remote and the earbuds didn't tidn't withstand much, and I soon had to buy a new pair. It looks like it's as fragile here..

I go through a pair every few months because of this issue. Bought a pair of V-Modas and didn't have any better experience, so I'm back to cheap and crappy, rather than expensive and crappy.
post #17 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPilya View Post

iPhone: From my understanding, the volume aspect requires that receiving input socket have all 4 segments/connectors. The iPhone only has 3. (forgive the layman wording). So it will take a complete change-out of the input socket to begin solving the issue. I bet the next iPhone edition that comes out will have it.

Actually, according to an earlier AppleInsider article by Prince McLean, the iPhone has 4 conductors as well but:

"The new headphones are not listed as compatible with the iPhone, because it was not designed to adjust volume with the mic switch; the mic should still work and the headphones will work with any iPod or other standard headphone jack device."
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...008_ipods.html

I thought the same thing as you - not enough conductors. So it seems to be a hardware deficiency, which I have no doubt will be resolved in the next iPhone.

If it were on the software side, they would have (probably) added support through a software update in advance because they have no real incentive to keep this functionality locked away since...the next iPhone won't be out for a while yet and they would likely sell even more of these things if those volume controls worked with the iPhone (which would also allow Apple to market them as iPhone compatible).
False comparisons do not a valid argument make.
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False comparisons do not a valid argument make.
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post #18 of 56
Lets hope if they were to update the design, they will make the cable a lil bit thicker for durability. My old apple earphones broke because of the cable, Just got my self a senn yesterday. Wished it were Apple in-ears though but I dont own an iPod Touch or the iPhone so it would be a waste to get the new Apple in-ears
Apple is a hardware company, dont believe me? Read this Article!. For those who understand my message, help me spread this info to those who dont get it.
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Apple is a hardware company, dont believe me? Read this Article!. For those who understand my message, help me spread this info to those who dont get it.
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post #19 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff K-C View Post

What I would LOVE to see is a mono/stereo setting option.

Well, you can actually cut off the left earpiece. Snip the left wire right at the "Y" and you'll have a "mono" headset. It should be obvious, but if you have set of iPhone buds, cut off the left side and NOT the right side with the mic and switch. Be sure NOT to nick the right wire when you make the cut.

I have a couple of pair that I've modified this way and use them as a mono phone headset and to listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and TV shows on my iPhone. (None of which demands stereo.)

On the rare occasion I want to listen to music I just dig out the unmodified set.
post #20 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

Well, you can actually cut off the left earpiece.

I think you missed the point..
post #21 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

I go through a pair every few months because of this issue. Bought a pair of V-Modas and didn't have any better experience, so I'm back to cheap and crappy, rather than expensive and crappy.

I don't own it, but when I will change my earbuds (I buy new ones every year because cable breaks inside) I will buy this: Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 Studio. Expensive, yes, but I know I will not waste my money and will be able to just buy a new cable.
post #22 of 56
I liked this article it seems to be well done and researched. Keep up the good work!

Now I would like to point out a concern that some of us have with lead wire length. For us taller folks the length of the ear bud wires are often to short. That is slipping the iPhone into ones pants pockets and keeping the buds in the ear is next to impossible. So in reviews of such items it would be nice to comment on cord length and the relative difference with respect to the standard buds.

It is a given that this is not important to everybody. The other issues that crops up is if you use such with your laptop. Here longer cords can help in the same manner. Maybe what is needed is a review of extension cables that work specifically with these buds.

Finally I realize the largest use for these is music and other energainment but you don't want to soft pedal other usage. For example Voice over IP, cell phone usage or even functionality with a note taking app. You touched on this a bit but more detail would be welcomed.

In any event it is good to hear that Apple has such good value in hardware. It is a good counter arguement to the idea that everything in an Apple store is overpriced.


Dave
post #23 of 56
Anybody who has not yet listened to an iPod with high end earphones like Shures is truly missing out at hearing what the iPod can do.

I rip all my cds to lossless in iTunes and play the songs through my Nano and Shure e500s (they are now known as SE530s). Most of the time I don't even bother with an amp because the sound is just that good. The added bonus is that ear monitors lock out outside noise so you can play the music at lower volumes and still hear more detail.
post #24 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Still taken aback that didn't make them "FULLY" compatible with the iPhone 3G at least. YES, I know they are partially compatible. This is such an Apple thing to do. One of the best companies in the world manage to do things like this that are so dumb it's shocking.

Steve, you get a bag of coal for X-MAS

Anyone makes any excuses for them, or tires to defend Apple in any way shape or form on this one get an internet-slap! ZIP IT!

And exactly who are you?

Maybe Apple needs your legal guidance. In the meantime, could you direct us to a cell phone manufacturer that has similar offerings and advertises them for such?

As I posted previously, Apple states in its iPhone Safety Guide:

Driving and Riding Safely
Use of iPhone alone or with headphones (even if used only in one ear) while driving
a vehicle or riding a bicycle is not recommended and is illegal in some areas.


Certainly it would seem prudent for Apple not to even suggest that the new headsets be intended for use in the iPhone. In particular, the in-ear construction totally blocks external sounds, unlike the current ear phones. The liabilities could be onerous.

Obviously, one could claim that they would never drive with using the headphones in both ears. However, just walking out of your home with them on, you put yourself in jeopardy if you are deemed liable for causing an accident while wearing headsets.

Sounds scary doesn't it. However, even the "USA Track & Field", the national governing body for running, has banned the use of headphones and portable audio players like iPods at its official races, "basically (because of) an insurance issue. And they are not the only one.

I guess is Apple shouldn't stir the pot. There is no universal consensus on what one can wear re headphones, i.e., one ear, two ears or no ears. As listed here, http://www.cellular-news.com/car_bans/, many places just outright banned cell phones altogether regardless.

http://www.macworld.com/article/1342...iving_ban.html
post #25 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

And exactly who are you?

Maybe Apple needs your legal guidance. In the meantime, could you direct us to a cell phone manufacturer that has similar offerings and advertises them for such?...

Hey Ireland I got this one.
*kaslap*
post #26 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Still taken aback that didn't make them "FULLY" compatible with the iPhone 3G at least. YES, I know they are partially compatible. This is such an Apple thing to do. One of the best companies in the world manage to do things like this that are so dumb it's shocking.

Steve, you get a bag of coal for X-MAS

Anyone makes any excuses for them, or tires to defend Apple in any way shape or form on this one get an internet-slap! ZIP IT!

Yes, I know this is the way Apple has been for a long time (so the veterans tell me on this forum), I'm somewhat new to the Apple scene and this type of stuff really bothers me... Apple (and Steve) make excellent, innovative products --- but they always find something to leave out, restrict, or remove. I'm not criticizing Apple for any other reason then I think they have unprecedented potential to impact the marketplace with truly awesome products, and I want them to continue to do so. It's unfortunate to watch some of the decisions they make, and your headphone issue is not even scratching the surface. btw, I apologize if I've included some of these in earlier posts, but I wanted to emphasize my point.

- iPhone camera, poor quality, no autofocus, no flash, no video capability, and no MMS.

- Precipitous removal of IEEE1394 on Macbook, and the Macbook STILL doesn't have an expresscard slot! The MB Firewire issue has been rehashed a million times, so I'll skip it to the next issue. Besides allowing mobile broadband without having to have an unwieldy USB "dongle" sticking out, the addition of an expresscard slot on the MB would have been an easy solution to the lack of a native firewire port. Also, considering Apple's computers last a long time, it would have allowed future expandability when Firewire 3200 and USB 3.0 come out in a year, not to mention acting as a convenient way to add things like eSATA/external RAID, scientific/data acquisition equipment, RS-232, etc. In 3-4 years from now, when everyone is shuffling around HD video and 20+ megapixel RAW files on external harddrives (or SSDs) via USB3, FW3200, and eSATA, the Macbook will still be stuck with 30MB/s USB 2.0 Similarly, backup will be a PITA in the future when people upgrade their Macbook with 1.0+ terabyte internal drives.

- The non-professional screen on the 15" Macbook Pro. Besides forcing professional users (including their "bread and butter" designers and artists) into an ultra-glossy display, the resolution is a paltry 1440x900. Average consumers may not care, but this is NOT supposed to be a consumer machine. 1680x1050 should be the minimum, and 1920x1200 would be preferred. For photographers, graphic designers, video professionals, engineers, etc, it is very important to have as much screen real estate as possible as well as having the highest clarity possible. And yes, they do make LED backlit displays in these resolutions. the 15" Dell Precision I was looking at had an LED backlit 1920x1200 display. It was gorgeous.

- Not offering a professional Quadro or FireGL video card on the Macbook Pro. Although these expensive cards are very similar to their consumer counterparts, the difference is in the drivers, firmware, and optimization. They are heavily optimized for OpenGL performance and have many OpenGL features that the consumer drivers do not. Also, they have much higher tolerance and precision in calculations for maximum accuracy and reliability versus the target of maximum raw performance for consumer gaming cards. These professional cards also have to be officially certified by different ISVs for CAD/3D/engineering software, and their tech support won't even talk to you if you have problems if you are not using certified equipment. With the Apple machines now being able to run Windows (and Linux) natively, it has opened up a much larger market for people who need to run certain apps in windows or linux.

- 4GB RAM limit on the MB pro. Many could argue the Macbook doesn't need more than 4GB of RAM (at the moment at least), but this argument does't apply to the Macbook Pro. Considering OSX on the Mac Pro easily supports 16GB+ of RAM, there is simply no reason for this limit to exist on ANY computer. Even if the new nVidia chipsets require extra work on the BIOS/EFI or chipset level for more RAM support, Apple should have had this done BEFORE selling a new "professional" laptop. Your average $800 windows laptops are coming with 2-4GB of RAM already! This is another fatal blow in addition to the display and graphics card limitations for professional users.

- Mac Mini update. HELLO? APPLE ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?? The Mini hasn't been updated for almost 18 MONTHS! WTF! Whether they are doing a major redesign or replacing the Mini with a new form factor, there is NO EXCUSE for not at least giving it incremental processor, chipset, RAM, or harddrive upgrades!

Those were off the top of my head, I'm sure there are many more...
post #27 of 56
The article is right on the mark about the original model. I bought a pair after I broke some high quality in-ear buds and it was the only time I returned something made by Apple. They were tinny and just AWFUL to listen to. I usually try earphones before I buy, but this was the exception because I have never been disappointed by Apple before. Never again. I will only buy earphones from a reputable audio store... even if I have to pay a bit more, it's worth not having to return them. Apple should stick to computers, MP3 players, phones and their OS - Earphones are not their thing.
post #28 of 56
Yes, I must say I'm a little "once bitten, twice shy". I bought a pair of the old in-ears to replace some aging Sony in-ears whose cord had frayed finally after 5 years. To be completely honest they were nothing short of awful. Impossible to keep in your ears and a sound quality barely above the normal awful ones.

I now sport the Bose in-ears which are very nice.
post #29 of 56
Winterspan, that's a lot of pent up rage there my friend, let it out!

Whilst I would never defend Apple and their decisions, they're big enough to do that themselves, I'm sure they have their reasons for not bowing down to your every wish. After all, they're in it for the money, and if they make money selling their current crop of computers, how are these so-called exclusions bad decisions? The iPhone for example, people keep whining about its shortcomings, but people keep on buying em!
post #30 of 56
Re: Response #14 - You Have A Left Ear?

Can't you go to Radio Shack and get a stereo to mono jack adapter? I don't see why Apple should bend over backwards for the 0.0001 percent of the population without a left ear.
post #31 of 56
Quote:
Compared to the single-driver E2Cs, which are known to be slightly bass-heavy

What? I've owned two pairs of E2Cs and they've both sounded slightly bass-light even with the foam plugs. The detail and low frequencies are certainly there but they don't deliver the punch of some rivals.

I thought that maybe it was just my ears playing up but people seem to agree.

Still, the new iPod headphones are intriguing. It's a shame that it's impossible to try them out before buying.
post #32 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shogun View Post

Re: Response #14 - You Have A Left Ear?

Can't you go to Radio Shack and get a stereo to mono jack adapter? I don't see why Apple should bend over backwards for the 0.0001 percent of the population without a left ear.

Read my post again. I'm certainly not asking anyone to bend over backwards, or even think before they post. My point was that there would be a number of reasons that such an option could be useful, its a known option on many other audio devices, and far from having to bend over in either direction, it would be a cheap and easy modification with no physical changes to the current hardware necessary.

Jeff
post #33 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff K-C View Post

Read my post again. I'm certainly not asking anyone to bend over backwards, or even think before they post. My point was that there would be a number of reasons that such an option could be useful, its a known option on many other audio devices, and far from having to bend over in either direction, it would be a cheap and easy modification with no physical changes to the current hardware necessary.

Jeff

I'm in agreement with Jeff. I have both ears with 100% hearing in both*, yet there are countless times when only having 1 earpiece in would be useful. It's a tiny setting to add, and it doesn't even need to be that easy to reach. But I would like to see it there.





*Interestingly, my hearing is technically better than 100%, as I can hear sounds outside of normal human capacity, especially in the high range (I can actualy hear the refresh rate of CRT monitors, and so being in a room with to many drives me slightly crazy )
post #34 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

And exactly who are you?

Maybe Apple needs your legal guidance. In the meantime, could you direct us to a cell phone manufacturer that has similar offerings and advertises them for such?

Well eh, yes, predictable.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #35 of 56
I realize that innovation comes from trial and error.
I realize that people need to kvetch from time to time.
BUT
Why can't people just be happy with the product FOR NOW.

Not every product can BE every thing to every person.....
Your obvious "need" my not BE so obvious to any one else. It's a MASS MARKETED PRODUCT.
There will always be upgrades. It's like the weather. You don't like it, wait 5 minutes (or in Apple's case, 10).

I own these (got them Saturday the 13th) and LOVE them. Satisfied, happy (use them with my iPhone) and glad I spent the extra $$ for them. No, they don't have volume controls. I knew that going in. But instead of complaining I worked around it.
Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter and
those who matter don't mind
--Dr. Seuss
Reply
Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter and
those who matter don't mind
--Dr. Seuss
Reply
post #36 of 56
this article is clearly too friendly, the price is an impudence!!!
post #37 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Actually, according to an earlier AppleInsider article by Prince McLean, the iPhone has 4 conductors as well but:

"The new headphones are not listed as compatible with the iPhone, because it was not designed to adjust volume with the mic switch; the mic should still work and the headphones will work with any iPod or other standard headphone jack device."
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...008_ipods.html

I thought the same thing as you - not enough conductors. So it seems to be a hardware deficiency, which I have no doubt will be resolved in the next iPhone.

If it were on the software side, they would have (probably) added support through a software update in advance because they have no real incentive to keep this functionality locked away since...the next iPhone won't be out for a while yet and they would likely sell even more of these things if those volume controls worked with the iPhone (which would also allow Apple to market them as iPhone compatible).

Hey! Common. The iPhone have 4 connectors since the first version. And nobody know if it really require some hardware changes to be able to control the volume. Maybe not. And maybe we will see the support of it in a next firmware update.
If it is just a quadruple click for volume up and five click for volume down, or any other kind of coding, it could be easily supported by a firmware update.
We will have to wait. That's it!

But maybe someone can actually investigate and see what kind of signal this headphone sends when pressing the volume buttons?
post #38 of 56
Like everyone else who wants this for the iPhone, having no use of the volume controls is just plain stupid to me. The fact that Apple themselves points out that its not compatible with the iPhone should be a flag for reviewers to not sugar coat the product for iPhone use. Its not compatible with it. It's not for iPhone users, period.
post #39 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by clemo View Post

this article is clearly too friendly, the price is an impudence!!!

??? earbuds and headphones range from under $5 to far more than Apple charges for theirs. I don't see the big deal here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slapppy View Post

Like everyone else who wants this for the iPhone, having no use of the volume controls is just plain stupid to me. The fact that Apple themselves points out that its not compatible with the iPhone should be a flag for reviewers to not sugar coat the product for iPhone use. Its not compatible with it. It's not for iPhone users, period.

But here, compatibility really is in degrees, not absolutes. An Apple tech note does say everything does work except volume control, just that the page for the product says it doesn't support iPhone to keep stupid people from buying them and complaining the volume control doesn't work.

As long as the user doesn't mind that the volume controls don't work, then it will suit them just fine.
post #40 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff K-C View Post

Read my post again. I'm certainly not asking anyone to bend over backwards, or even think before they post. My point was that there would be a number of reasons that such an option could be useful, its a known option on many other audio devices, and far from having to bend over in either direction, it would be a cheap and easy modification with no physical changes to the current hardware necessary.

Jeff

Cool. Point taken.
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