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Hands-on: How the new Lightning EarPods compare to the old 3.5mm EarPods [Video]

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It’s going on two weeks since the iPhone 7 first went on sale, which means that many of us have had time to sit back and digest the experience. We covered the iPhone 7 via an unboxing video with a glance at some of the device’s top features, but now we’ll take a closer look at the new Lightning EarPods versus the old EarPods with 3.5mm headphone jack.

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Opinion: How Apple is likely PR-managing the loss of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7

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Apple has never been afraid to declare that technology has moved on, and that something we all thought of as essential is now legacy equipment. It did this first with the 3.5-inch floppy drive, omitting it from the iMac G3 in 1998 because Steve Jobs held the view that the CD-ROM had rendered the medium obsolete.

Apple was also one of the first companies to abandon optical drives, with the MacBook Air being the first Mac to launch without one in 2008. The company of course later dropped optical drives from the Retina MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac.

Finally, in launching the 12-inch MacBook, Apple also declared that every prior port except the headphone socket was no longer necessary.

Each time Apple has done this, there have been anguished complaints and negative press. Apple has weathered the storm each time, and other manufacturers tended to quietly follow Apple’s lead a little later. But in seemingly planning to abandon the oldest and best-established standard of them all – the venerable 3.5mm headphone jack – I believe Apple is being a little more careful in how it has prepared the ground …



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iPhone 7 may include EarPods w/ headphone jack + Lightning to 3.5mm adapter

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Since the first rumors emerged claiming Apple would ditch the headphone jack with this fall’s iPhone release, many have been speculating on what exactly Apple will include as a solution. According to a new report from Macotakara, it’s not Lightning-suited EarPods that Apple is planning to include, but rather the standard 3.5mm EarPods and an adapter.



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Review: Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50x closed-back studio monitor headphones live up to the hype

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For the last few months I’ve been using my Apple EarPods for nearly every application that requires in-ear audio. I use my EarPods for monitoring while recording voiceovers, for podcasting, and for everyday music listening.

Absurd as it is, the last pair of headphones I’d owned, a pair of Sony MDR-7506’s, ended up developing a short in the cable. I simply never got around to replacing them in a timely manner.

Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50, and the updated ATH-M50x, have received rave reviews from tech sites, bloggers and YouTubers alike. The love that these headphones receive on a regular basis convinced me that the next pair of headphones that I tried needed to be these. Do they live up to the hype?

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Photos of Lightning Apple EarPods headphones emerge on Chinese media [Updated]

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Update: The original photo displayed in the article was indeed Photoshopped. However, there are other images of Lightning EarPod cables circling the web of unknown origin, as shown above. It just highlights however that images of this ilk are easily faked.

Although we are expecting a myriad of new announcements later today at Apple’s iPhone SE + more media event, Lightning EarPods were not thought to be on the cards. Images of Lightning-equipped EarPods surfaced on Chinese media today, refuelling rumors that the iPhone 7 will drop the 3.5mm headphone jack. It would make sense, then, that Apple would ship new earbuds in the box that connect to the phone over Lightning.

There is nothing else apparently different, aside from the change of port. The EarPods look visually identical otherwise. If there are other changes in the update, such as changes to sound quality, they aren’t reflected in the product’s physical appearance.



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Apple audio supplier suggestion corroborates rumored noise-cancelling iPhone 7 headphones

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My cheap headphone jack-less iPhone mockup

While it’s widely rumored that the iPhone 7 will drop the headphone jack when it launches later this year, known Apple audio supplier Cirrus Logic may have hinted about how Apple plans to handle this transition. Speaking to analysts and investors during the company’s latest earnings call (via BI), CEO Jason Rhode made a few interesting comments about what might be planned for later this year.



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Report: Apple plans to nix 3.5mm port on iPhone 7, require Lightning for wired headphones

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Citing a reliable source, a report from Japanese blog Macotakara claims that Apple plans to remove the 3.5mm headphone port from the upcoming iPhone 7, helping to achieve a “more than 1mm” reduction in thickness compared to the iPhone 6s. While the screen shape and radius will remain similar, the device will once again become Apple’s thinnest iPhone ever, albeit with a new restriction: headphones will only be able to connect over Lightning or Bluetooth…

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Rock Jaw Alfa Review: Replace your EarPods with these affordable, premium earbuds

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The Rock Jaw Alfa Genus V2 headphones ($49.90) are not especially meant as a replacement for EarPods, but that’s how I see them. Apple’s bundled EarPods have a lot of positives. They are ‘cheap’, lightweight and small. You can chuck them in a bag or pocket without worrying too much. This is in stark contrast to Beats on-ear and over-ear headphones, for example, which are expensive, bulky and heavy. However, EarPods leave much to be desired in regard to sound quality.

It turns out the Rock Jaw Alfa’s fill this gap nicely. They have the same portability as EarPods but with a focus on also providing great sound to listen to. They aren’t perfect but they are pretty great value earbuds. Read on for our full review …



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9to5Toys Last Call: iPad Air 128GB $500, 13″ Retina MacBook Pro w/ Force Touch $1,100, 11″ MacBook Air $800, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call Updates:

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Apple iPad Air 128GB Wi-Fi + AT&T Cellular $500 (Orig. $929), iPad Air 2 128GB Wi-Fi $590 (Reg. $699)

Get ready for Apple Watch w/ a pair of battery-saving Bluetooth 4.0 earbuds starting at $14 shipped

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Portable USB 3.0 Hard Drives: Toshiba 1TB $50 (Orig. $75), 3-Pack Seagate 1.5TB $150 ($210 value), more

Seagate Expansion 5TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive $120 shipped (Orig. $250)

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HooToo TripMate Wireless N Travel Router w/ USB port $15 Prime shipped (Reg. $20)

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iTunes Free App of the Week: Pursuit of Light ($1 value)

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Review: Moleskine’s new myCloud Smallpack offers plentiful storage in a tidy design, $150 giveaway

More new gear from today:

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XYZprinting daVinci 1.0 3D Printer $350 shipped (Orig. $500)

More deals still alive:

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Headphones: Audio-Technica QuietPoint over-ears $100 (Reg. $150+), Sennheiser HD 202 on-ears $15 (Reg. $24), more

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Canon EOS Rebel T3i DSLR (refurb) w/ 18-55mm Lens Kit $336 shipped (Orig. $599), more

New products & more:

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Sony’s new 43-75″ 4K UHDTVs bring an incredibly thin design, pre-orders start today

Cue praises Beats curated playlists and headphones; Iovine disses Apple’s EarPods

Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine, Apple, Beats Music, Code Conference(Image via Re/code)

It’s typical in any acquisition for both parties to sing the praises of their new partner, and Eddy Cue was certainly playing his part at Re/code’s Code Conference, saying that Beats’ curated playlists were a key strength and would help music grow again. As Mark Gurman reported in his live blog coverage at Code Conference:

Cue said Apple bought Beats because “music is dying. It hasn’t been growing.” He said combining the two companies will help it grow again […]

Cue said what makes Beats good is that it provides users with curated playlists.

He said: “When you bring what Beats has got and what we’ve got it’s not two plus two is four. It’s something much more than that” …



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Belkin launches 2000 mAh ‘Grip Power Battery Case’ for iPhone 5

While it certainly has some competition in this arena, major Apple accessory maker Belkin today announced a new ‘Grip Power Battery Case’ for iPhone 5. Similar to popular offerings from some of Belkin’s competitors including Mophie and Otterbox, the case builds in a 2000 mAh battery that claims to double the battery life of the device.

Belkin says the Grip Power case includes a shock-resistant bumper with secure-hold TPU grip, an anti-glare camera ring, and four color combinations including Civic Blue/Stone and Purple Lightning/Fountain Blue, Blacktop/Gravel and Whiteout/Blacktop.

Belkin is selling the case for $99, slightly less than Mophie and Otterbox, through its website and BestBuy.com. Full list of features below:

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New iPod touch begins shipping to customers and showing up in Apple Retail Stores alongside iPod nanos

Apple posted a user guide for the fifth-generation iPod touch to iBooks early this morning, indicating a retail launch for the device is coming sooner rather than later. Apple promised an October timeframe for preorders of the device shipping from its Online Store, but today we get word from readers that Apple is now shipping orders of the fifth-generation iPod touch, as well as the new iPod nano, with delivery expected early next week. The shipment notice above comes from a user in the United States with an expected delivery date of Oct. 15, but international users have reported receiving notices as well. The image below shows an expected delivery date of Oct. 15 from an Australian reader, while the new iPod nano is still listed as preparing for shipment. Yesterday, Apple started shipping orders for the 30-pin to Lightning adapterThanks, Penpal1278!

It also appears that Apple started to sell the new iPod touch and iPod nano in at least some of its retail locations:

[tweet https://twitter.com/richardlai/statuses/255638557606162432]

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iPhone 5 reviews released: ‘Impossibly light but solid feel, iOS is speedy on the expansive screen’

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Engadget:

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The iPhone 5 is a significant improvement over the iPhone 4S in nearly every regard, and in those areas that didn’t see an upgrade over its predecessor — camera, storage capacity — one could make a strong case that the iPhone 4S was already ahead of the curve. Every area, that is, except for the OS. If anything, it’s the operating system here that’s beginning to feel a bit dated and beginning to show its age.

Still, the iPhone 5 absolutely shines. Pick your benchmark and you’ll find Apple’s thin new weapon sitting at or near the top. Will it convince you to give up your Android or Windows Phone ways and join the iOS side? Maybe, maybe not. Will it wow you? Hold it in your hand — you might be surprised. For the iOS faithful this is a no-brainer upgrade. This is without a doubt the best iPhone yet. This is a hallmark of design. This is the one you’ve been waiting for.

The Loop:

Many of us have experience with LTE from using the iPad. I’ll tell you it’s great to see it on the iPhone. I actually use LTE more on the iPhone than I do on the iPad, simply because I use the phone a lot more. The speed is incredibly fast, especially when compared to what the iPhone 4S could do.

Like the faster processor and graphics, LTE gives you the feeling of never waiting for anything. Apps open fast and you are ready to work or browse the Web right away.

The Telegraph:

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Specificationists will say that with the iPhone 5 Apple is now behind its rivals in terms of features but in truth it’s hard to think of a feature offered elsewhere that the average person – as opposed to the tech obsessive – really needs. NFC is not sufficiently widely used, wireless charging is nice but still requires a charger plugged into the wall and most people get along fine without removable storage. The iPhone 5 is a great smartphone made even better. It’s fast, lightweight and backed by the largest application store for any device. It’s also probably the most beautiful smartphone anyone has ever made.

More reviews below:



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Jony Ive explains design process of Apple’s new EarPods [Video]

We told you they were coming: Apple officially unveiled its new “EarPods” earlier today. The company explained during this morning’s media event that the EarPods are three years in the making. Apple has yet to post the video of the full iPhone 5/iPod event, but now we get a look at a video played during the presentation. It features Jony Ive explaining the process of creating the new earbuds. In addition to the engineering process described by Ives above, Apple explained on its website that it tested over 100 prototypes to make the EarPods more durable and stable than its previous-generation earphones:

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.