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On Apple In-Ear Headphones and Nano alternatives--Ask the Editors

CNET Editor Jasmine France answers all of your questions about MP3 players, accessories, headphones, and more in this regular Ask the Editors feature.

So secretive, that Apple. In its typical fashion, the company coyly declined to answer our initial inquiries about the production force behind its branded In-Ear Headphones, and now the earbuds' product page seems to be indefinitely marked with "Coming Soon." What gives, oh purveyor of iPods? Also this week: MP3 players with customizable interfaces.

Donde esta el Apple In-Ear Headphone? Apple

Q: I just bought a new iPod Touch, which is fantastic, but I have been waiting a while for Apple to release their new In-Ear Headphones, the ones announced in September for $79. The audio quality seems like it would be fine for me, and I would really like to have the microphone and playback controls on the wire. I had read that Apple would release them in October, but it is now November 6 and they are still listed on Apple's Web site as "coming soon." I have been completely unable to find any info on this mystery. Do you know when or if they will be released? Thanks very much for your help.--Aleck , via e-mail

A: Unfortunately, Apple is being rather tight-lipped about this product. The company's rep asserted that Apple will not be releasing review samples until the earphones actually hit shelves, and she was unable to provide an estimate as to when that might be--no doubt because the headphones are being manufactured by an unknown third party. The best thing I can say is just keep an eye out at the Apple Store, although the fact that the product is this late to market is rather uncharacteristic of Apple and raises some concern regarding the production of the line. If they're not available by Black Friday, I'd consider looking at alternatives. Radius has a $50 pair that I found to be suitable, the Atomic Bass for iPhone. There's no integrated controls in those, though.

Mad props to Creative for the customizability of the Zen line. CBS Interactive/Corinne Schulze

Q: I currently have a iPod Nano 4G and am looking for a different MP3 player. Wondering if there is such things as one that has a customizable interface to fit my likings? Or at least some way to edit this?--Nathan, via e-mail

A: Ah, the customizable interface: a bit underrated, but one of my personal favorites. There are a few players with customizable interfaces, where you can set a photo as wallpaper, choose from different fonts or themes, and even move around menu selections to your liking. Check out the following:

MP3 Mailbox Monday is a recurring feature where I answer a selection of questions about MP3 players and accessories, such as headphones, speakers, and music services and software. Check back often to see if the advice presented here might be of some use to you, or send your questions directly to me. (Note: We never include last names, but if you prefer to remain completely anonymous, please state as much in your e-mail.)