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Apple In-Ear headphones hands-on

CNET's Donald Bell gives his first impressions of Apple's In-Ear headphones.

Photo of Apple In-Ear headphones.
Click for a slide show of the Apple In-Ear headphones w/ microphone. Donald Bell/CNET Networks
Better late than never. Apple's $79 In-Ear headphones, promised back in September with a projected October release, showed up on my desk this morning with an apologetic look.

I've only been listening for a few minutes, but so far, it looks like Apple has delivered a worthwhile pair of headphones. They don't quite have the crisp, high frequency detail of the Etymotic HF2 headphones I had at my desk, but they blow away Apple's stock earbuds (not too difficult a feat) with a buttery low end and pleasant mids and highs.

We're happy to see that the headphones work just fine with the iPhone, despite the fact that Apple's online store doesn't advertise the product as iPhone-compatible. More specifically, we found that the headphones and microphone are compatible with the iPhone 3G (we'll have to dig up a first-gen model), but the clicker and volume controls don't seem to cooperate.

(Update: On the iPhone 3G and first-generation iPhone, the headphone clicker seems to work fine for playing, pausing, and skipping tracks, as well as answering/ending calls, however, the headphone volume control clicker is unresponsive. For the first-gen iPod Touch, the headphone's clicker, mic, and volume controls are useless, but the headphones themselves work just fine. The Apple iPhone 3GS is capable of supporting both the remote clicker and volume controls.)

We'll update this post after more testing and have our full review up by the end of the day. In the meantime, check out our Apple In-Ear Headphone photo gallery.

Editor's note: CNET's full review of the Apple In-Ear headphones is now available.