updated 03:00 am EDT, Thu September 13, 2012
Mini-documentary reveals design process in headphones
Two of the videos shown during the two-hour iPhone 5 and iPod rollout on Wednesday have found their way to YouTube through unofficial channels. In addition to a new ad for the iPod line -- the first in years -- there is also a mini-documentary around the making of the new EarPod headphones, narrated by Apple's SVP of Design, Sir Jonathan Ive. In it, Ive details the process that went into making what he calls the "impossible" task of creating a single set of headphones that would fit nearly anybody.
The video shows the Earpods, which will sell for $29 and be included with the the iPhone and iPods (except the $49 Shuffle, which sticks with the traditional earphones. They are seen as having been thoroughly tested to be refined from more than 100 prototypes with an emphasis on channeling the sound and staying in even during rigorous exercise. The new body construction is said to withstand sweat heat better than the traditional headphones, and the company claims significantly better sound quality, particularly in the lower range. Independent tests, however, have yet to determine their true quality, though it's possible that Apple has made a breakthrough in this area.
The included earphones that came with all iOS and iPod devices for the last six years are among the most-commonly used brand on Earth, but are widely derided by serious listeners as offering mediocre sound -- which has created a thriving market for higher-end headphones that routinely sell for $200 or more. Whether the new headphones can rival higher-end earbuds remains to be seen, but Apple's testing and design process has once again yielded a product with distinct looks, functionality and thought behind it.
The iPod commercial continues Apple's tradition of having movement and trendy pop music drive the ads, this time featuring computer animation of the new iPods as they bounce and morph into each of the three revamped models, all of which are now available in new color schemes. The ad strives to emphasize the fun of using the product rather than highlight any particular feature.