Apple In-ear OEM Earphone review: Apple In-ear OEM Earphone

The Apple In-Ear headphones include a triangular carrying case, an unusual pill-shaped case for the extra silicone ear tips, and two replacement mesh caps.

An in-line clicker remote and microphone are included on these headphones, located on the cable about 4 inches down from the right earpiece. The remote includes plus and minus buttons for volume control and a central button for playing, pausing, and skipping songs. If you're using the In-Ear headphones with a first- or second-generation iPhone, the center button also works for answering or ending incoming calls; however, the volume control buttons will only work with the iPhone 3GS.

On the flipside of the in-line remote is a pinhole microphone, which can be used with the iPhone or the following models of iPods: iPod Nano (fourth generation); iPod Touch (second generation); and iPod Classic (second generation). The aforementioned iPod models can take advantage of the headphone's in-line microphone for making voice memos.

If you own an older iPod model not mentioned in the preceding paragraph you won't be able to use the microphone or remote control features of the Apple In-Ear headphones; however, you can still use the headphones to listen to music.

Despite the complicated compatibility issues of the In-Ear headphone's clicker and microphone, the headphones themselves are still a good value. Each earpiece includes two balanced armature drivers acting as a woofer and tweeter, which is a rare feature in a pair of sub-$100 headphones. Provided that you've spent some time achieving a good fit with the right size ear tips, the Apple In-Ear headphones offer a rich, full sound that doesn't strain for audiophile flatness.

Sonically, these headphones juice a little on the highs and lows, with a pleasantly transparent midrange. Compared with V-Moda's Vibe II, the Apple In-Ear headphones offer a more restrained low end and better articulation in the higher frequencies (we also found them lighter and more comfortable to wear). When heard side-by-side with Etymotic's HF2 headphones we had the opposite reaction, noticing the HF2's improved clarity and overall transparent sonic character but occasionally preferring the way Apple's In-Ear headphones emphasized lower frequencies.

For kicks, we played these alongside Apple's stock earbuds and the difference was night and day. Whether that difference is worth $79 is a completely subjective decision.

Apple includes a one-year warranty against defects for each pair of headphones, which isn't quite as generous as the two-year warranty offered by manufacturers such as Shure, but fairly standard for products in this price range.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Dec 4, 2008
  • Weight 0.4 oz
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Additional Features remote control
  • Type headset
  • Headphones Form Factor in-ear
  • Connector Type mini-phone 3.5 mm 4-pole