Apple researching headphones with head gestures that track fitness and health data

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 18, 2014

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday published a new Apple patent No. 8,655,004 for a “sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets”.

The system could also employ head gestures to control various features and could be a nice companion for an Apple wearable device project.

The invention encloses integrated activity monitors in a set of headphones to pick up such health and fitness related metrics as temperature, perspiration, heart rate data and more… Read More


Audiofly AF45 earbuds review and giveaway: stunningly crisp sound meets affordable price

By Jim Gresham on Dec 9, 2013

Some would say I have a terrible collection of music in my iTunes library. Ask any of my friends, or wife, and I probably rank last in choice of great music. Assuming, for now, I agree with them, that does not mean I cannot appreciate quality sound. Thus, my quest for the best pair of headphones began about a year ago. Keeping my eyes, and ears, open for anything that could quench my audio thirst.

As an average consumer, sound quality and price are both considered. Sure, if we wanted the best money could buy, we would all just buy in-ear monitors like the pros. But, not all of us make millions of dollars. Thankfully, I ran into Audiofly‘s booth at CES in January this year. Their full line of products dazzled my ears. This summer, I reviewed the AF78′s, which were astounding. Today, I take a closer look at the AF45‘s, a more financially modest pair, as we head into the holiday gifting season. You could even win a pair for yourself! I’m giving away two pair of AF33‘s and two more pair of AF45′s… Read More


Good deal: 46% off iPhone 5/5s accessory bundle

By Cody Lee on Nov 16, 2013

Those of you having trouble figuring out what to get that special someone for Christmas this year, may want to consider smartphone accessories. This is something that they would use everyday, and they’re usually fairly inexpensive.

In fact, as luck would have it, Stack Social has an awesome iPhone 5/5s accessory bundle going on right now that could take care of 3 people on your list. The deal site is offering 2 iPhone cases and a pair of earbuds for nearly half off… Read More


Coda Forte bluetooth headphones offer wireless quality

By Jim Gresham on Sep 21, 2013

When using a headphone, cable is not an option, switching to Bluetooth is obviously the best idea. There are many areas where cordless headphones are optimum, including late nights playing your favorite iOS game next to your wife, who is sleeping and doesn’t know you broke the no-gadgets-in-the-bedroom agreement. Keeping yourself out of the dog house is made simple with a pair of headphones.

However, fumbling around with a cord is not always preferred. iFrogz, which was purchased by ZAGG, would agree that wireless is the way to take listening to the next level. The iFrogz Audio Coda Forte Bluetooth Headphones with Mic, which I will term “Coda” henceforth, is an answer to the corded headphones of the past. Having previously reviewed ZAGG headphones, I am not new to the ZAGG audio scene but the Bluetooth addition is new territory… Read More


Kordl 2 prevents tangled earbud frustration

By Jim Gresham on Sep 5, 2013

In a post earlier this year, I highlighted the original Kordl, which promised to tangle-proof earbuds. After my initial review, I found, quite surprisingly, the little thumbnail size of plastic works very well. One of the largest setbacks for the original Kordl was the attachment mechanism and how the earbud wires were held.

To enhance an already impressive design, J2 Product Development set out to make a better version and reinvent the proverbial wheel. Back in action and fresh off a 250% funding spree on Kickstarter, Kordl 2 is the new way to keep tangles to a minimum. Take a look below for a snapshot of the enhancements and a brief on the simple design… Read More


Patent struggles may keep this MagSafe-like headphone adapter from being made

By Cody Lee on Aug 25, 2013

I’ve always thought Apple’s magnetic MagSafe power connector was an ingenious piece of tech. In fact, I was hoping to see them include it in the iPhone 5 and other iOS products. But obviously, that wish never materialized.

Designer Jon Patterson is still trying to make it happen, though, with the Pogo, a MagSafe-like magnetic connector for your iPhone. He’s only using it for headphones right now, but he says it’ll likely work for power cords too… Read More


Apple files patent to prevent broken headphone connectors and iDevice damage

By Ed Sutherland on Aug 16, 2013

Yet more encouraging news that Apple is designing its devices for users, rather than engineers. The original designs of headphone connectors were brittle, permitting headphones to be inserted and removed at perfect right angles. However an Apple patent application published Thursday outlines flexible headphone connectors.

In other words, you’ll likely be able to wrap plugged-in headphones around your favorite iDevice without harming the hardware. The invention doesn’t come too soon – the headphone jack is seen as the one roadblock to creating thinner, more svelte iPhones… Read More


Audiofly headphones are your new favorite pair [review + giveaway]

By Jim Gresham on Jul 16, 2013

Always on the hunt for the perfect pair of headphones, I spent a lot of time at CES digging around with audio companies that made iPhone compatible options. I noticed Audiofly received a CES 2013 Design and Engineering honor and made it a point to stop by the booth. That visit may have been my best choice of the whole show.

Before going any further, I will put my disclaimer in the introduction. These are probably the best earbuds I have ever had the pleasure of using, or reviewing. To prevent everyone from thinking I am getting paid by Audiofly for this review, these are my honest and open opinions, as always. I receive no compensation from the company for my posts, merely the media sample. If you are further concerned, I suggest you read our official review disclaimer.

Moving along, these are extremely impressive earbuds. I am shocked at their balance, tone, clarity and high profile design. Take a step inside for a gushing review of the AF78‘s by Audiofly. Most importantly, I present to you one of the best giveaways on iDB. To help one of you experience the incredible sound, I worked with the company to provide a giveaway model of the AF78′s. Headphone connoisseurs rejoice… Read More


Review: HeadStand from Just Mobile

By Jeff Benjamin on Jul 16, 2013

The fine folks at Just Mobile have always made good products for a variety of Apple devices, but this latest accessory will work in a variety of scenarios. The HeadStand is the company’s attempt to create a stand that works well with a pair of over the ear headphones, and it’s a product that I’ve been using on a daily basis for quite a few months now.

If you own a pair of cans, then you either already own a proper stand, or have probably always intended to invest in one. I know I was in the same boat for quite a while, and I didn’t actually have a proper stand until Just Mobile sent one over. How does the HeadStand perform? Take a look inside as I break it all down on video… Read More


EarSkinz add a pop of color to your white EarPods [review and giveaway]

By Jim Gresham on Jul 1, 2013

Yes, white headphones are a style of their own. Apple made lack of color famous with white headphones, starting with the iPod. Seeing someone parade down the street with a pair of slick white headphones indicated individuality and a seriousness for refined taste and class. White headphones previously noted a way to be different. Some may still try to make that argument, but with millions of iPhones sold every quarter, seeing a white pair of headphones is hardly unique.

EarSkinz is adding a flash of color to everyone’s otherwise plain EarPods. The ES2‘s are designed to specifically hug the new Apple EarPod with form fitting fashion. Arguing the covers provide better comfort, fit, and sound, EarSkinz successfully received KickStarter funding to produce a full production line of their new pod covers.

I enjoyed using a pre-release pair for the past couple weeks and, inside, I take a closer look at a fairly simple accessory. As an added bonus, we are giving a pair of ES2′s to 5 lucky readers… Read More


EarSkinz for EarPods offer both comfort and style

By Cody Lee on May 24, 2013

Apple was really proud to unveil its new and improved earbuds, dubbed EarPods, last fall. The company says it spent more than three years designing the headset, and tested a total of 124 different prototypes on over six hundred people, to get the right fit.

But even with all of that research, it’s inevitable that the EarPods are still not going to fit quite right for some people. And if you happen to be one of those people, you might want to check out these new EarSkinz covers, which promise to fix that for you… Read More


Phiaton’s Moderna MS 200 earbuds blast the bass [review + giveaway]

By Jim Gresham on May 13, 2013

Stumbling across my Phiaton friends at CES, they were quick to point out the new MODERNA MS 200 earbuds, which recently hit the market. The hot rod red coloring and genuine carbon fiber speaker wells were the first attraction, as they lay on the display table. Even in a crowded pre-convention party, they sounded like a winner.

Now, having listened to the MS 200′s from the comfort of my home, I can confirm my suspicions were true. With a racing red headphone cable matching a classic black earphone chassis, more than quality sound are the causes for head turning attraction. These half in-ear buds are quite the performers, with bass enthusiasts getting what they desire.

Gone are the days where bulky headphones were the only great way to hear the beats of your music. Take a look past the fold for a breakdown on looks and performance, while possibly scoring your own pair to take home… Read More


Kordl promises to tangle proof your earbuds

By Jim Gresham on Mar 6, 2013

You reach for your earbuds already knowing they are a tangled mess, but you don’t know any different. Why are they always tangled? The guys behind Kordl are trying to start a tangle free revolution with their Christie Street project. Having met with some Christie Street reps at CES, they have been keeping me updated on their new projects and were nice enough to send over a working prototype of the new tangle preventing clip of plastic… Read More


Taking Zagg headphones head to head

By Jim Gresham on Feb 23, 2013

I am a big fan of quality headphones. Listening to music is completely different when you have a solid pair of well crafted speakers pumping beats directly to your ear drum. Of course my audiologist, Dr. Manning, advises me to keep the roar to a minimum, but I just cannot help rocking. Thus, having crisp sound and solid bass are important to the perfect audio experience.

Today, I take a run at two pair of ZAGG headphones and give a general consumer perspective on their pros and cons. As a disclaimer, I am no audiophile, but I do have particularly refined preferences in the headphone world and continually seek the perfect set of headphones… Read More


Apple launches shorter Lightning cable, rounder headphones

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 14, 2013

Just as Scosche launched its new wall and car Lightning chargers earlier this morning (in addition to the world’s first official retractable Lightning-to-USB cable), Apple has made some tweaks to some of its own accessories.

Surprisingly enough, the new and shorter 0.5-meter Lightning to USB cable costs the same nineteen bucks as Apple’s 1-meter Lightning to USB cable, making the purchase of the latter a no-brainer. The shorter Lightning cable arrives just as Apple last month unveiled the new $29 0.5-meter Thunderbolt cable. Also new: a tweaked In-Ear Headphones… Read More


Liquidmetal allows headphone wires to be stretched 8x their original length

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 19, 2012

A lot has been said about Apple’s exclusive multi-year license for Liquidmetal, an amorphous Terminator-like alloy made from zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper and other materials. Liquidmetal is stronger, smoother and more corrosion-resistant than aluminum, but Apple is not expected to deploy it across its products until 2017.

In the meantime, here’s a nice example of how the alloy might pave the way for new industrial designs. What you see in the above clip are conductive wires that can be stretched up to eight times their original length while still functioning, thanks to Liquidmetal that’s twice as strong as Titanium and possesses the processability of plastics… Read More


Urbanears bring the party straight to your ears [review and giveaway]

By Jim Gresham on Nov 6, 2012

Having admired Urbanears from afar, on the shelves of local retailers, I was blown away when I finally got my hands on a pair of the new Zinken over-the-ear headphones. Urbanears is clearly a company priding itself by paying attention to the little things and even places a 63 page booklet in their headphones’ box to prove it.

As a reviewer, I come across a lot of products for iOS devices on a regular basis and I can count, on one hand, how many times I have been impressed with product packaging (excluding actual Apple products). I must say, when it comes to accessories, often, a book should be judged by its cover and Urbanears spares no expense. Let’s open the box on this pair of Zinkens my friends at Urbanears sent over and you too have a chance to grab a pair of your own… Read More


iFixit tears down Apple’s new EarPods

By Cody Lee on Sep 18, 2012

In addition to a new iPhone, and iPods, Apple also unveiled a new set of headphones last week. Dubbed “EarPods,” the company said that it spent more than three years developing the accessory.

Today, the team over at iFixit performed their usual teardown of the headphones, and published an extensive report of its findings. And as you can imagine, some of it is rather interesting… Read More


How the EarPods enable richer bass and crisper highs

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 13, 2012

Apple yesterday alongside the iPhone 5, new iPods and several other announcements also took the wraps off the EarPods, a new headset. Cupertino has finally refreshed its crappy in-ear headset with higher sound quality. Hopefully, the headphone is now shaped to prevent it from falling out of your ear.

The company spent three years designing the new headset and tested a total of 124 different prototypes of the EarPods on over six hundred people. You may have noticed three little holes poked in the EarPods, here’s what these do to improve sound quality… Read More


Here’s Apple’s EarPods video

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 13, 2012

Apple yesterday introduced the new in-ear headphones called EarPods that ship with every iPod touch, iPod nano and iPhone 5 (also available as a standalone accessory). The promotional video was published on Apple’s web site, explaining how the company went about re-engineering its previous crappy in-ear headset and why it spent three years redesigning it.

Not everyone was aware of the clip and you needed QuickTime to stream it from Apple’s web site. Not anymore, as Apple uploaded the EarPods video to its YouTube channel. Let us know what you think in the comments… Read More

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