Apple's Earbuds were introduced with the original iPod in 2001. After 11 years, Apple has replaced the iconic white earpieces with the EarPods (US$29). I bought a pair right away, as they're only a few dollars more than the throw-away headphones I usually buy from the drug store. After three days of use, I can say that the EarPods won't attract serious audiophiles but they raise the bar for entry-level audio quite a bit. Here's my look at Apple's new EarPods.
OMG They Stay In My Ears
I've owned several iPods and iPhones over the years. It didn't take long for me to realize that I shouldn't even bother freeing the Earbuds from their shrink wrap. They just don't stay in my ears. In fact, my ears actively repel Apple Earbuds, as if they mean to do me harm. If the EarPods stay in my head, I'll be happy.
I'm glad to report that they do. I put them in my ears and they stayed put. I shook my head, jumped up and down, ran around the yard and took the dog for a walk. They never budged. Oh, glorious day! I can finally use the headphones I paid for.
They look like tiny hair driers. When discussing them at last week's press event, Apple noted that it's not easy to produce earphones that will accomodate a wide variety of ears. When you look at the shape of these whacky things, you get the idea that they were born of function, not form. That's fine with me.
The remote / mic is situated just a few inches below the right EarPod and pretty easy to grab. It's close enough to your mouth to pick up your voice, whether you're on a phone or talking to Siri or VoiceOver.
OK, here's this article's big caveat: I'm not an audiophile. Don't expect terms like "rich bass" or "mid-range," because you aren't going to see them. I can tell you that I was quite pleased with the sound. My anecdotal evidence is that they sounded better than my cheap drug store headphones and a pair of Earbuds I had around. Phone calls sounded good, too, and callers couldn't tell that I was on the EarPod mic vs. speaking directly into the phone.
The remote supports 11 functions, including volume, pause, answer a call, defer a call, call switching and more.
Should you use them? For most people, the answer will be yes. They ship with your iPhone 5 and iPod and might even fit in your ears for a change. The sound isn't something to write home about but it's a big improvement from where it used to be and, like a I said, a huge improvement over entry-level audio. Finally, they're only a few bucks more than bottom-of-the-line headphones and offer so much more with the built-in remote and mic. This warrants a standalone purchase as well. Have fun!