SAN FRANCISCO - Apple announced a new line of earphones Wednesday called EarPods, shown below. The company said the new devices feature, "a breakthrough design for a more natural fit, increased durability and an incredible acoustic quality typically reserved for higher-end earphones."
Apple made the announcement at the iPhone 5 media event where the company also announced a new iPod nano and iPod touch. EarPods will ship with each of these new devices, and they're available as a standalone purchase for US$29 at the Apple Store.
Apple has struggled in the past to get earphones right, with the previous version being the first to receive mostly positive reviews. EarPods take an entirely new approach to the product, and Apple said at its media event that they took three years to develop.
To develop them, Apple scanned hundreds of ears to use for modeling the shape and understand just how ears work. When inserted into one's ears, EarPods don't form a seal, and Apple made it clear during the media event that this was intentional.
To ensure that that the sound includes a high quality low-end without that seal, Apple built the bass port into step of the EarPods, as shown in the middle sidephoto below. According to Apple, the design will send sound directly into the ear canal, and that this will make EarPods the bee's knees.
Apple gave us a pair of EarPods at the event, and we'll have a review up once we've had time to play with them.
Apple's New EarPods