Has Apple finally got it right with their latest EarPod design?

Apple earpodsIt has been a long time coming, but finally, Apple has decided it was time to revamp their offering to the headphones marketplace!

Ever since I had my first iPod and each iPhone I have bought thereafter, I have been thoroughly disappointed with the quality of the earphones which came with it. The new Apple EarPod headphones are said to have improved sound quality, a better ergonomic shape which is defined by the geometry of the ear and better protection from sweat and water if you are using them for sport.

The new EarPods look different to the original Apple earbuds. Although they have the same patented “seamless unibody structure”, with the mesh opening at the edge of each bud directing sound into the ear canal, each bud of the EarPod model also has an opening on the back, but we are not sure what the significance of this is.

My pet peeve about the old Apple earphones was the amount of sound which escaped for other people to hear, which seemed to impact the quality of the sound going into your ear. It seems that Apple’s engineers have worked hard on the design to improve the bass output, giving a deeper, richer bass tone, but also to minimise the amount of sound lost.

These headphones also include an built-in remote, which has been included on earlier models. This enables you to control your music and videos, adjust the volume and also answer and end calls. This remote control unit has been sealed more thoroughly, making it more durable when it comes to exposure to water or sweat.

Inside the EarPod, it would appear that the technology has not changed significantly apart from some of the materials used. They have replaced the material the speaker cones were constructed with – from plastic to paper – which should be more resilient and less likely to tear. In theory, this should also provide an improved bass tone. However, if these cones were to tear, they’re not really worth repairing. These are, ultimately, still throw-away headphones which come free with each Apple product purchase. To buy them independently will cost you £25.

I think it really comes down to this: Has Apple managed to improve the sound quality, durability, comfort and fit enough to warrant a £25 price tag? A lot of reviews online have already shown that although the new design sits more steadily in your ear than previously, they still don’t feel as natural as some other in-ear buds. Bottom line, there is a definite improvement on comfort and stability, which is a plus.

Some people have been comparing the new sound quality to more high-end earphones costing up to £200. Although, we can’t imagine this is entirely accurate, possibly a little exaggerated, we can give credit where it’s due – the sound and particularly bass quality has vastly improved. However, other rival models for the same or similar price will get you a significantly superior sound quality and design from manufacturers such as Sennheiser, Monster Cable, Sony or Philips.

So in conclusion, we feel that the new Apple EarPods are a great improvement, and very welcome as a freebie with your new iPhone 5. However, to buy these independently for £25, we think you could get something a lot better in terms of comfort, sound quality and appearance.

- Alison Wright
Kelkoo UK

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