Along with Apple's much ballyhooed iPhone 5 announcement last week was the introduction of redesigned earphones as well. The new "EarPods" represent the latest version of the iconic earbuds that are packaged with the company's music players (and now the iPhone 5).
The old earbuds, while apparently widely used, certainly didn't score many points for sound quality or fit among more discriminating audio consumers. (I wasn't impressed when I tried mine. Mediocre sounding earphones that don't fit properly? No thanks, I'll stick with my - admittedly much more expensive - IEMs.)
The new EarPods, however, are claimed to offer superior audio quality, rivaling even "high-end headphones that cost much more." According to Apple, this is a result of several new design features:
- The EarPods' design is defined according to "the geometry of the ear."
- The speaker diaphragm was re-engineered with both rigid and flexible materials to minimize sound loss and maximize sound output.
- Strategically placed acoustic vents.
Several acoustic vents on the EarPods contribute to their improved sound quality - most notably the bass vent in the stem of each earphone, which is designed to allow deeper bass.
Just as an iPhone 5 teardown quickly appeared following the iPhone 5 announcement, it wasn't long before a teardown of the Apple EarPods appeared as well, courtesy of DIY electronics repair site iFixit, giving us all a close look inside the new devices.
DIY electronics repair site iFixit took apart the new EarPods to find out what three years of R&D at Apple accomplished.
Some of the key technical features noted by iFixit in their teardown of the EarPods included the following:
- The main speaker port faces forward, and not directly into the ear canal
- A chip with the markings "TI25ASGVI 079" is found in the remote
- The voice coil is supported by a composite diaphragm made of a paper cone and a polymer surround
- Speaker basket appears much more refined
- Remote is better sealed and features strain relief
So how do they sound? Apparently better than the earbuds they're replacing. But, beyond that, the reviews are otherwise decidedly mixed so far:
If you're interested in more on the design of the EarPods, you can find information in the EarPod patent application. You can also see more on this - as well as a review of the other key iPhone 5 patents features that came to fruition last week - at the site Patently Apple:
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