Will.i.am debuts i.am+ EPs earphones as Apple Store exclusive

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2016
Musician will.i.am's "i.am+" tech brand on Monday released a pair of pricey Bluetooth earphones dubbed the "EPs," with initial sales to be exclusive to Apple's online and brick-and-mortar retail stores.




As advertised on the i.am+ website, EPs are fashion-forward earphones that integrates high-end materials like metal and resilient woven fabric cord with advanced electronic technology. Instead of plastic, the earphones feature a circular metal design reminiscent of vinyl records because "tech doesn't have to look like tech," the company says.

Functionally, the EPs come packing 14mm drivers and an aptX sound engine, fed by internal batteries that last a claimed six hours per charge. Recharging is accomplished via an included micro USB cable. The device also supports A2DP controls and an integrated remote with microphone. When not in use, the two coin-shaped buds magnetically snap together to form a necklace.

Available at select Apple Stores and through Apple.com, the i.am+ EPs sell for $229.95, and come in gold-on-black or black-on-black.

The debut comes after two disastrous product launches in the "Puls" and "Dial," both failed attempts to capture a piece of the wearable market. The current release, the Dial, features an operating system/voice assistant dubbed "AneedA," no physical user interface, a front-facing camera and cellular network support. Sales are limited to the UK market.

Interestingly, will.i.am is rumored to be working on an original TV series with Apple related to the app economy, presumably for distribution on Apple TV. Project details are scarce, but the vehicle is said to be an unscripted reality show that will likely feature a hefty dose of Apple's own app development efforts.

The series and today's product launch are not rumored to be related.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    It's kind of sad, because this is one of those products that doesn't actually innovate anything. It's just the same specs as all the other BT earphones in a new shape. I feel a premium look should pair with a premium experience. It seems like a missed opportunity because it's:

    - the same battery life as the nearly 3 year old, and similarly designed Beats Powerbeats2 BT earphones
    - a housing that seems to be larger and more obtrusive that current Bluetooth earphone designs
    - still using the same old fiddly micro-usb behind a rubber grommet sealed port for charging. (Why not make these things wirelessly charge.)


    palomine
  • Reply 2 of 12
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Will.i.am is a huge Steve Jobs/Apple fan. Most artists are. He speaks very admirably about Jobs.
    I'd like to see Apple team up with more artists and hire some more.

    I say Apple make all his products exclusive and give his words a thought. He really wants to innovate technology.

    His smart bathroom idea was actually really futuristic. Not as dumb as it sounds when he explains it.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 3 of 12
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,672member
    It's kind of sad, because this is one of those products that doesn't actually innovate anything. It's just the same specs as all the other BT earphones in a new shape. I feel a premium look should pair with a premium experience. It seems like a missed opportunity because it's:

    - the same battery life as the nearly 3 year old, and similarly designed Beats Powerbeats2 BT earphones
    - a housing that seems to be larger and more obtrusive that current Bluetooth earphone designs
    - still using the same old fiddly micro-usb behind a rubber grommet sealed port for charging. (Why not make these things wirelessly charge.)


    1. Battery life follows technology and in that regard battery tech doesn't move fast.   
    2. It is design - silly design but design none the less.  
    3. Wireless charging is to inefficient to be considered environmentally friendly.  



  • Reply 4 of 12
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Those look kind of similar to a $15 pair of bluetooth headphones that I saw on Amazon recently.

    Hideous looking and much too large for in ears, IMHO. Who wants something that's reminiscent of a vinyl record on their ear?

    And bluetooth 2.0? What?  :#
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 5 of 12
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    His Dial phone is pretty innovative and the only innovation I've seen since iPhone 2007:

    The ending is amazing.
    Apple should acquire Aneeda and put Will.I.Am on the team. I mean Siri needs so much help. I really hope iOS 10 has a huge Siri revamp otherwise I might want one of these Dials as a Siri alternative.

  • Reply 6 of 12
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,369member
    wizard69 said:.  
    1. Wireless charging is to inefficient to be considered environmentally friendly.  



    Somebody should have pointed that out to the Watch development team then. Haven't you heard, Apple is the most environmentally friendly company on the planet.
    staticx57messagepad2100
  • Reply 7 of 12
    jmgregory1jmgregory1 Posts: 451member
    I've always felt that although Will.i.am was creative, the products he's coming up with are not game changers. As an example, when I read that these headphones used Bluetooth 2.0, I thought it was a misprint. So I go to Apple's site and sure enough, it's 2.0. Because 2.0 is "better" than 4.1 / LE?  

    These se things are clearly a play for money, given how the over designed Beats have shown that people buy headphones for their looks over how they actually sound, and I imagine these headphones are not going to be high on any audiophiles list. 
    SpamSandwichpalomine
  • Reply 8 of 12
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,581member
    Such a shame Apple didn't acquire any number of well-engineered audio products companies, favoring instead fashion over function. It is possible to have both.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 9 of 12
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    I've always felt that although Will.i.am was creative, the products he's coming up with are not game changers. As an example, when I read that these headphones used Bluetooth 2.0, I thought it was a misprint. So I go to Apple's site and sure enough, it's 2.0. Because 2.0 is "better" than 4.1 / LE?  

    These se things are clearly a play for money, given how the over designed Beats have shown that people buy headphones for their looks over how they actually sound, and I imagine these headphones are not going to be high on any audiophiles list. 

    I agree he's creative and his products aren't game changers(Dial is a little) but for a guy who's basically "broke" in the tech industry (Facebook, Microsoft, Samsung) he's KICKING A**. His AneedA voice assistant is a ton smarter than Siri and he's the first developer I've seen develop a non iPhone-knockoff cell phone.

    He's a huge Apple fan and gives credit to them when due(unlike Goog) which is why I believe Apple could use him.

    If Apple could use Trent Reznor and Dre why not Will.i.am who's developing hardware, software and hit records?
  • Reply 10 of 12
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    redstater said:
    Such a shame Apple didn't acquire any number of well-engineered audio products companies, favoring instead fashion over function. It is possible to have both.
    Apple was trying to expand their market from people like you to the people similar to those in will.i.am's fan base. And since outside the United States people like you are in short supply (to be kind) that strategy of theirs was understandable. Apple knew that the "peak iPhone/peak smartphone" days were coming - as they have - and that they had two choices: come up with a compelling new hardware product or use the goodwill and brand loyalty that they earned with the iPod, iPhone and iPad to expand their customer base. The second choice is a lot easier than the first. And moreover, why only do the first when you can do both? The only reason not to is to appease people like you who hold people who aren't like you (which is like 97% of the globe's population) in low regard. The rub is that Apple can still chase the 97% of the world's population's money while keeping you on the reservation, because they know that you and people like you aren't going anywhere. They know that as much as you and people like you are going to turn red, stomp your feet and have smoke coming out of your ears from Apple doing business with the likes of Dr. Dre, will.i.am, Drake, Chance the Rapper, LeBron James etc. you are going to keep buying their products because your only alternative will be what Microsoft and Google offer. For you guys support for Apple and its products became a class/culture issue instead of a mere technology and market issue and as a result you are trapped by the boundary lines that you drew yourselves into, unable to even consider anything else. So, you are going to just have to grit your teeth while Apple courts the very consumers that you ran to Apple to get away from in the first place. Meanwhile, the new customers that Apple is now courting gets to enjoy the best that both worlds have to offer, in addition to the simple freedom of choice that you lack.

    You're so full of shit. The Beats deal is a lot deeper than you understand and don't talk about people well-versed in technology like they're morons.

    Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre and Steve Jobs all got along because they loved music. For years Beats was chasing Apple for acquisition not the other way around.

    The deal made so much sense because Beats shares a lot of philosophy with fellow Steve Jobs' Apple.
    Beats made $3 billion in one year with a marketing budget of $0 something Apple would admire considering they advertise MORE with LESS money.
    Beats had unique streaming software and curation that'll help Apple Music.
    Jimmy Iovine and Dre were key acquihires that no tech company in history would have considered being useful until too late.
    Both are Apple fans that wouldn't sign a deal with anyone else and again, were chasing Apple for a deal.
    Beats hardware design shares philosophy with Apple.
    Beats lead hardware designer is an ex Apple employee after all.

    And just now we're discovering more and more reason why the $3 billion dollar acquisition wasn't so bad.
    Iovine is a master music negotiatior and well respected by pretty much everyone so expect more exclusives like Chance the Rapper, Drake etc. He was even a judge on Idol or The Voice a few years ago. Dr. Dre is the most successful artist in the music industry and if you thought Chance the Rapper was a big exclusive just wait until Dre brings Eminem. The Siri Beats Pill idea isn't so bad either. These are devices that already outsell Alexa, so Apple could take over that market in a matter of weeks or even DAYS.

    The fact Apple could still carry 3rd party headphones/earbuds shows confidence in the Beats as more than just a headphone brand.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 11 of 12
    not just apple exclusive, in the UK - you get a free pair of EPs when you buy the DIAL at Three. http://www.three.co.uk/iamplus?intid=3home-dial
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 12 of 12
    xixoxixo Posts: 417member
    impressed.i.am.not
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