It’s not easy to create earbud-style headphones that not only feel good in your ears, but also sit securely in your ears. That’s because everyone’s ears are different. Using optical scans combined with silicone molding, Apple designers created 3D models of various ear types to find a common shape across many different people. That shape led to the unique look of the new Apple EarPods. Unlike traditional circular earbuds, their design is defined by the geometry of the ear. Which makes them more comfortable for more people than any other earbud-style headphones.
They’re more stable and durable, too. Apple engineers asked more than 600 people to test over 100 iterations of the Apple EarPods. Testers ran on treadmills in extreme heat and extreme cold. They performed various cardio workouts. They were even asked to shake their heads side to side, up and down. The result: Apple EarPods provide stronger protection from sweat and water, and they’re remarkably stable in the ear. Which means they stay in, even when you’re on the go.
At the same time Apple designers were trying to define an ideal earbud shape, Apple sound engineers — acousticians — were focused on improving sound quality. First, they established a target sound for the Apple EarPods. That target: a person sitting in a room listening to high-quality speakers.
The biggest determinant of what you hear from any speaker is the movement of its diaphragm. The inward and outward motion is what creates sound. But earbud speaker diaphragms are typically made from a single material, which can limit sound output.
So Apple acousticians re-engineered an earbud speaker diaphragm with both rigid and flexible materials to minimize sound loss and maximize sound output. Adding to the superior audio quality are strategically placed acoustic vents. The most notable of these vents is the one located in the stem of each EarPod. It allows air inside the stem, which acts as an acoustic chamber, to flow out. So you hear deeper, richer bass tones. The overall audio quality of Apple EarPods is so impressive, they rival high-end headphones that cost hundreds of dollars more.
Learn more about Apple’s new EarPods here.