Sony's been there (or thereabouts) for plenty of milestones in personal audio, even if it might not want everyone to remember some of its own missteps
. From 1968's DR-4A, the company's first noise-isolating stereo headphones, to the Xperia Ear
, which will arrive in stores this November. Back in the day, a 5.5mm audio lead with a nice woven coating was what connected your headphones to the sound source of your choice. These days, of course, it's all about Bluetooth, but the Ear lets you send commands to your phone as well as receive sounds back. Even if you wouldn't necessarily call it a headphone, per-se.
A side effect of the design of these small earpieces, of course, is that wearing them are significantly less conspicuous. In an era where people wear enormous Beats-branded cans as a matter of course, in-ear earpieces are, by comparison, invisible. While the first-generation Xperia Ear stands out, other devices of its kind — like Bragi's Dash
— aren't meant to be visible. Although, we're getting to the point where it's not necessarily right to call these gadgets wearables, since they're not really worn so much as inserted. Then again, nobody wants to walk into an electronics store and ask for the insertables