Apple EarPod headphones 'more durable' but still 'throw away'
19th Sep 2012 | 00:02
Teardown shows water and sweat resistant materials
A teardown of Apple's new EarPod headphones show them to be more durable than their predecessors, with greater resistance to water and sweat.
The new $29 (£25) buds, launched alongside and shipping with the iPhone 5 and new iPod touch, were unleashed last week promising a better fit and improved sound, by pumping tunes directly into the ear canal.
Apple promised that the EarPods, which feature two small speakers instead of one larger speaker, were like "nothing you've ever seen" but scored a disappointing 2.5 out of 5 in a TechRadar review.
Now the guys at iFixit have placed the new highfalutin earphones under the knife to see whether the innards are really that different beyond the new cone-shaped design.
Paper beats plastic
The site used a scalpel and a guitar pick to prise open the EarPods, which Apple says it spent three years perfecting.
The precise surgical procedure found Apple is now using a paper diaphram for the speakers rather than the plastic used in previous models, which makes it more resistant to tearing.
It also found that the remote is sealed better, making it less prone to water or sweat damage, but aside from those two items the innards are pretty similar, the site says.
To that end iFixit says that, if the headphones falter, then there's no point attempting to salvage them.
"Unfortunately, these products are still of the throw-away kind," the site concluded.
"Sourcing parts is next to impossible, and it would be a tough sell to convince someone to take apart their earbuds in stead of buying a new pair. They will never be the same once taken apart."
Best buds? Not quite
Our review, posted last weekend, cast doubt on Apple's assertions that the new EarPods offer as much of an improvement as it would have us believe, over the ghastly previous model.
With iFixit's teardown proving, significantly, that the innards are extremely similar, it appears that Apple has a bit of a cheek asking 25 bones for, essentially, an unrepairable pair of earphones.
Although, they'll come as standards with the new iPhone and iPod range, it seems you'd need to be an all-out Apple freak to spend your hard-earned on these buds, as a standalone purchase.