Apple's In-Ear Headphones receive a subtle upgrade

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple has discretely updated its premium In-Ear Headphones, replacing the rubber 3.5 mm headphone plug casing with a hard plastic one, perhaps in an attempt to fix cord protectors that users complained came easily unfastened.



The change, spotted at the Christian Science Monitor Horizons Blog, makes the new headphone plug look like the Mag-Safe power adapter employed on MacBooks.



Though the $79 headphones, launched in December of 2008, received generally positive reviews, users peppered the upgrade with a myriad of complaints, including issues with the rubber plug protector coming loose.



While the upgrade addresses one of the device?s common complaints, other problems remain. For example, the premium upgrade?s volume buttons do not work with the original iPhone or iPhone 3G.



Many users have bought the headphones to step up from the widely panned stock headphones included with iPods and iPhones.



Apple?s In-Ear Headphones replaced the original, $39 upgrade model, which were largely considered to be a flop. The flush, almost conical shape of the first iteration 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.



Apple's In-Ear headphones originally used a rubber plug casing | Source: CNet News.com



Apple has since replaced the plug casing with a hard plastic one.



The new earbuds served as an admission by Apple that the original design didn't work, as the new design has a right-angled shape that fits much more directly. And after the debut of the iPhone, the second-generation iPod touch, and fourth-generation iPod nano, the ability to record voice became a crucial component of any headphone upgrade, so the improved In-Ear Headphones filled that need.



The premium upgrade features three different sizes of ear tips and a carrying case for the tips and headphones. It also has a stainless steel mesh cap, intended to keep the product clean.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 51
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    The cable looks darker too.
  • Reply 2 of 51
    akf2000akf2000 Posts: 223member
    Christian. Science. Monitor. Horizons. Blog.



    W.T.F.
  • Reply 3 of 51
    m01etym01ety Posts: 278member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by akf2000 View Post


    Christian. Science. Monitor. Horizons. Blog.



    W.T.F.



    What's your issue? The Christian Science Monitor is a very reputable US newspaper, with some of the best international and political coverage, with seven Pulitzer prizes. You may remember hearing about their reporter, Jill Carroll, who was kidnapped in Iraq a few years back. They are based here in Boston, my lovely hometown, and are one of the latest newspapers to be forced to get rid of their print editions due to the economy and a changing market landscape.



    I will assume A) that you have never heard of the CSM, since you are based in the UK, and/or B) that you confuse Christian Science with Scientology, which are two very different things, the first being an actual religion founded in the 19th century by Mary Baker Eddy with a strong focus on the coexistence of religion and scientific truth and education, and the other being a money-grubbing sect founded by a third-rate sci-fi author half a century ago whose members include unstable celebreties like couch-jumping Tommy Cruise and ought-to-diet John Travolta.



    Glad we got a chance to clear this up.



    *****



    With regards to the earphones, yes, I recently switched mine in because of some fraying, and the replacements I got do have the harder plastic cover. I noticed it immediately. Also: they are excellent (if) expensive earphones. If you have the cash and like bass and music, blow them on a pair. For serious. They're great.
  • Reply 4 of 51
    Just noticing this now? It changed over a month ago.



    Sadly the ear cups come off and get lost just as easily, and they still don't ship a spare pair of medium ones. So now I have one medium and one large, which is far from optimal.



    Actually if I could get them to fix one thing, it would be the sharp edges of the mic/controller. It sits right near my lapel, so when I turn my head it catches on it and sometimes pulls it out of my ear. If they rounded off the ends this would not be a problem.



    Maury
  • Reply 5 of 51
    akf2000akf2000 Posts: 223member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by m01ety View Post


    What's your issue? The Christian Science Monitor is a very reputable US newspaper, with some of the best international and political coverage, with seven Pulitzer prizes. You may remember hearing about their reporter, Jill Carroll, who was kidnapped in Iraq a few years back. They are based here in Boston, my lovely hometown, and are one of the latest newspapers to be forced to get rid of their print editions due to the economy and a changing market landscape.



    I will assume A) that you have never heard of the CSM, since you are based in the UK, and/or B) that you confuse Christian Science with Scientology, which are two very different things, the first being an actual religion founded in the 19th century by Mary Baker Eddy with a strong focus on the coexistence of religion and scientific truth and education, and the other being a money-grubbing sect founded by a third-rate sci-fi author half a century ago whose members include unstable celebreties like couch-jumping Tommy Cruise and ought-to-diet John Travolta.



    Glad we got a chance to clear this up.



    *****

    well I wasn't expecting that! Cheers!
  • Reply 6 of 51
    warbrainwarbrain Posts: 25member
    Or it's more that they're bringing these in line with the other headphones. The iPhone 3GS earbuds feature the same hard plastic.
  • Reply 7 of 51
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    My damn right ear is too big for the medium buds and too small for the large ones. Dammit! However as far as sound quality, they sound decent.
  • Reply 8 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    While the upgrade addresses one of the device?s common complaints, other problems remain. For example, the premium upgrade?s volume buttons do not work with the original iPhone or iPhone 3G.



    And what is the reason for this lack of backward compatibility? I'd upgrade in a heartbeat if they were fully compatible with my 3G.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post


    Actually if I could get them to fix one thing, it would be the sharp edges of the mic/controller. It sits right near my lapel, so when I turn my head it catches on it and sometimes pulls it out of my ear. If they rounded off the ends this would not be a problem.



    100% agree! I can't believe they still haven't addressed this. Maybe the testers at Apple (or wherever they're designed) don't wear shirts with collars.
  • Reply 9 of 51
    akf2000akf2000 Posts: 223member
    yeah the buds are DEFINITELY non-standard sizes and also there are no replacements, big red flag for anyone thinking of buying. I lost one medium bud and now am stuck with L.
  • Reply 10 of 51
    xgeckoxgecko Posts: 3member
    I highly recommend these with the in-ear ear buds:



    http://www.complyfoam.com/Product/T%...new-version%29
  • Reply 11 of 51
    galleygalley Posts: 971member
    The reason why the volume controls didn't work on older iPhones was a hardware issue on the iPhone side.
  • Reply 12 of 51
    xgeckoxgecko Posts: 3member
    The link above is for replacement memory foam ear tips.
  • Reply 13 of 51
    xgeckoxgecko Posts: 3member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galley View Post


    The reason why the volume controls didn't work on older iPhones was a hardware issue on the iPhone side.



    What I don't get is my iPhone and earbuds were both made by Apple and they don't work together because of a hardware "issue". Makes no sense and frustrates me to no end.
  • Reply 14 of 51
    voodooruvoodooru Posts: 70member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by m01ety View Post


    the first being an actual religion founded in the 19th century by Mary Baker Eddy with a strong focus on the coexistence of religion and scientific truth and education, and the other being a money-grubbing sect founded by a third-rate sci-fi author half a century ago whose members include unstable celebreties like couch-jumping Tommy Cruise and ought-to-diet John Travolta.





    "an actual religion" vs. "money-grubbing sect" ??



    one claims the invisible man as their leader the other claims an alien ship as their leader.



    "money-grubbing sect" can easily be applied to the "actual religion" as well.



    silly right??





    LOL
  • Reply 15 of 51
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by XGecko View Post


    I highly recommend these with the in-ear ear buds:



    http://www.complyfoam.com/Product/T%...new-version%29



    That's expensive foam!!
  • Reply 16 of 51
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    Religions and cults are not the same thing. And I don't even want to get into it, just don't please.
  • Reply 17 of 51
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galley View Post


    The reason why the volume controls didn't work on older iPhones was a hardware issue on the iPhone side.



    This is incorrect. The headphone jack connections are identical between the two. Apple has directed resellers to say this and also to claim "complete incompatibility" with the iPhone and iPhone 3G. Technically, everything but the volume up and down buttons work. The center button and microphone works.



    The method that the centre and side buttons are received by the phone is identicle. The fact that the signals sent aren't implemented it because Apple refuses to on the software side as it's not a "feature" - it's to clear inventory of the old iPhone headphones.



    Apple has directed resellers to spout this mumbo jumbo, but anyone who understands how the Jack works will know this can be upgraded by Apple - they just refuse to. A mate at a rather prestigous reseller told me they'd given such directions and he "couldn't tell the truth in public as it was against company policy and contradicted Apple's reseller instructions." A fact I was strongly unhappy about having two iPod Touch 2Gs in the house and one iPhone 3G.



    Now I have a 3GS and it's all fine. Still, I disapprove of both the lie, and their incinuation that the microphone and centre button won't work when they will.
  • Reply 18 of 51
    emulatoremulator Posts: 251member
    still crap, I'd discard them one day 1 if they were the standard plugs that came with the iPod.
  • Reply 19 of 51
    warbrainwarbrain Posts: 25member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    This is incorrect. The headphone jack connections are identical between the two. Apple has directed resellers to say this and also to claim "complete incompatibility" with the iPhone and iPhone 3G. Technically, everything but the volume up and down buttons work. The center button and microphone works.



    The method that the centre and side buttons are received by the phone is identicle. The fact that the signals sent aren't implemented it because Apple refuses to on the software side as it's not a "feature" - it's to clear inventory of the old iPhone headphones.



    Apple has directed resellers to spout this mumbo jumbo, but anyone who understands how the Jack works will know this can be upgraded by Apple - they just refuse to. A mate at a rather prestigous reseller told me they'd given such directions and he "couldn't tell the truth in public as it was against company policy and contradicted Apple's reseller instructions." A fact I was strongly unhappy about having two iPod Touch 2Gs in the house and one iPhone 3G.



    Now I have a 3GS and it's all fine. Still, I disapprove of both the lie, and their incinuation that the microphone and centre button won't work when they will.



    If this is the case then why hasn't someone come up with a hack available in Cydia that would enable it?
  • Reply 20 of 51
    magic_almagic_al Posts: 325member
    The CSM founder insisted that Christian Science be in the name and that that there be a daily religion column, but otherwise it's a serious, straight news source.



    The in-ear headphone package design is still gynecological looking.
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