When the iPhone 5 was revealed on September 12, all eyes were fixated on the taller and slimmer design. The new A6 quad-core processing chip, iOS 6 upgrade and LTE capability also turned some heads. But there is one more thing that deserves attention, and that is the brand new pair of earphones that comes along with it, which Apple calls “Earpods”.
One Size Fits All
At a glance, they don’t seem much different than the classic pair. However, a closer look shows that it’s in all white now, compared to the grey patterns of the previous model. It has also replaced the simple circle shape of the former for a more “human” form that will fit ears much better.
Apple based the new design on 3D scans of hundreds of people’s ears, finding the similarities in them to make a universal mold. They also tested it with people doing all sorts of physical activities to guarantee that they don’t fall off even in the most rigorous movements.
Music to the Ears
The main speakers on the Earpods themselves have been reduced to a much smaller one and moved to the rim. This leads the sounds from the iPhone 5 directly to the ear canals of the user for a more focused and more efficient output. The area where the speakers used to be now has a small front vent to let the drivers inside the earbuds create a fuller sound.
Apple also included two vents on the outer part of the Earpods: one at the upper part of the buds themselves and another at the stem. The lower vent enables a much deeper bass compared to the old pair, which had barely noticeable bass. It works with the upper vent to facilitate air flow, resulting in better overall sound quality.
Like the earphones that came with the previous iPhone models, the Earpods also have a remote and a microphone situated in one case on its cables. Naturally, the remote is used for volume control, song selection and video playback, and the microphone is used for giving voice commands to the iPhone and talking over the line hands-free. The case and the cable wrapping are also much thicker now to relieve any undue stress on the wires inside. The old microphone grate from previous models has also been removed.
Inside the Earpods
Opening up the remote and the ear buds themselves shows the internal hardware upgrades Apple has done. A common complaint among customers who used the previous set of earphones when they worked out was that the remote easily broke down. This was due to sweat seeping in. Thankfully, the issue has been addressed now. The remote’s case is much more tightly sealed so as to prevent liquids from causing internal damage.
The old plastic speaker cones often got torn, leading to blown out drivers and broken earphones. In its place are now paper cones, which do not tear as easily as plastic, thus, extending the Earpods’ life for more musical enjoyment.
Apple began its dominance in the electronic market when it introduced the iPod more than a decade ago, forever changing the landscape of the digital audio industry. Fast forward to 2012, and they have raised the bar once again with the sleeker, sturdier and better Earpods.