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Apple’s New EarPods Set to Upend Premium Earphone Market

Eclipsed by the iPhone 5 intro yesterday was another huge announcement, Apple’s new, radically shaped Earpods ($29). Apple says the new design of the EarPods is “engineered to minimize sound loss and maximize sound output.” Not only will they sound better, the new shape of the earphones will also fit more people comfortably.

These new EarPods will be Apple’s default earphones moving forward, and because they ship with all its mobile products, they will be the most-used earphones on the planet. It will have a huge impact on the industry.

This, of course, should make premium-earphone manufacturers sweat. These companies use Apple’s default earphones as a baseline to design and sell their products around. As long as your earphones sound and/or fit better than Apple’s cheapos, you can make money.

Apple EarPods

Initial anecdotal evidence suggests that Apple has indeed raised the bar. Some members of the media got their hands on EarPods a little early, and their initial reports so far are positive. The Chicago Sun Times’ Andy Ihnatko on Twitter yesterday had this to say about the new EarPods:

David Pogue, from the New York Times, who finds it difficult to find a good-fitting pair of earphones, had this to say on Twitter:

And Jason Snell from Macworld got to listen to the earphones as well:

Apple’s own official description says the EarPods’ “audio quality is so superior, they rival high-end headphones that cost hundreds of dollars more.” If true, we could see Apple lay waste to another industry, one long ripe for the plucking. Apple even says the EarPods offer “greater protection from sweat and water,” which means, combined with their improved fit, they chould even challenge companies who make athlethic sweat-resistant earphones.

If you were looking for a disruptive revolutionary product yesterday, it may have slipped beneath your notice. It’s the EarPods.

You can watch Apple’s Jony Ives describe the new EarPods in the video below.

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