Why Apple Poked Three Holes In The New EarPods

Why Apple Poked Three Holes In The New EarPods

Apple’s new EarPods have been in development for three years as Apple tried to create the best earphones that fit everyone’s ear. Not only are they supposed to fit everyone’s ear better, but they’re also engineered to have better sound performance than any earphones Apple’s ever made.

The first thing you notice when you see the new EarPods is that they have a very unique shape, along with three little holes poked in them. Why are those holes there? Well, it has everything to do with speaker diaphragm movement and an airtight seal created with your ear canal.

To sound great and not fall out, most earphones need to literally plug up your ear. That’s why most earphones come with different earbud attachments, so you can find the one that fits snug in your ear. When your earphones fit tightly in your ear this has the effect of forming a seal with the ear canal.

For most earphones, that seal creates a vacuum that impends the speaker diaphragms from making outward progress when they move back and forth. Apple poked holes in the EarPods so that the vacuum is no longer there, giving the speaker diaphragms more mobility and better acoustic performance.

Along with better acoustics, the EarPods are supposed to make the experience of using them a lot better physically. You know how when you’re wearing your earphones and hear a loud thumping sound every time the earphone cord thwaps against your chest? Removing the vacuum eliminates that problem as well.

The three holes will also allow you to make phone calls more naturally. Normally inline-mic earphones make the user’s voice sound weird because of that airtight seal with the ear canals. By allowing more motion in the ear canal, you’ll now be able to hear your voice naturally as some sound is allowed to resonate back to your ear drums.

  • djkikrome

    I can’t wait to try these out. Plan to buy them the first chance I get.

  • John Clinton

    hey Buster, I bet Foo Fighters will sound awesome on these earpods.

  • lwdesign1

    Your article is incorrect. The new EarPods do NOT form a seal in your ear and therefore do NOT create a vacuum. See the video by Jony Ive about the EarPods on the Apple site at http://www.apple.com/iphone/design for the correct information. The ports do allow for better sound and increased speaker travel, but your basic premise of a vacuum formed in the ear only relates to in-ear-canal earbuds, which the EarPod is specifically not.

  • mr_bee

    I think they look pretty cool but I’m going to reserve judgement until I try them.

    The thing that really worries me about them is the holes on the outside. I can’t see how this will work without “leaking” sound all over the place which is enough of a problem with the old ones as it is.

    Most people are too stupid to realise they are bothering everyone else on the train with their horrible rap music (or they don’t care which is worse), so if these things have that same problem I might have to start shooting random people on the bus and that won’t end well for them or me.

  • Matthew Gonzales Landry

    I think they look pretty cool but I’m going to reserve judgement until I try them.

    The thing that really worries me about them is the holes on the outside. I can’t see how this will work without “leaking” sound all over the place which is enough of a problem with the old ones as it is.

    Most people are too stupid to realise they are bothering everyone else on the train with their horrible rap music (or they don’t care which is worse), so if these things have that same problem I might have to start shooting random people on the bus and that won’t end well for them or me.

    So if they played horrible country music you’d feel better? Buy a car, hick.

  • Matthew Gonzales Landry

    I think they look pretty cool but I’m going to reserve judgement until I try them.

    The thing that really worries me about them is the holes on the outside. I can’t see how this will work without “leaking” sound all over the place which is enough of a problem with the old ones as it is.

    Most people are too stupid to realise they are bothering everyone else on the train with their horrible rap music (or they don’t care which is worse), so if these things have that same problem I might have to start shooting random people on the bus and that won’t end well for them or me.

    So if they played horrible country music you’d feel better? Buy a car, hick.

  • Tallest_Skil

    So if they played horrible country music you’d feel better? Buy a car, hick.

    I fail to see where he said anything about country music. There was absolutely no excuse for what you have said, at any rate. There is horrible rap music. There is good rap music. Most of it is horrible. There is horrible country music. There is good country music. Most of it is horrible. Guess what applies to every other genre? Just… guess.

  • John Frum

    Holes in earbuds are hardly a new innovation.

  • John Frum

    I can’t wait to try these out. Plan to buy them the first chance I get.

    They come with the iPhone 5 and the new iPods.

  • Tallest_Skil
    They come with the iPhone 5 and the new iPods.

    And standalone.

  • really_seriously

    Well now I am going to check the author before I take the time to read the article. Or is there a way to filter out the rank amateur articles written by Buster. Take a moment to actually learn about a product before writing your worthless drivel. Also look up the word impends. You’ll find it doesn’t mean what you seem to think it does.

  • Philip Osborne

    @lwdesign1 The article is not incorrect, because nowhere does it state that Apple’s earpods create a seal. It says that the problems of sounding great while not falling out have, in the past, been solved by creating an artight seal, but that Apple’s solution is different.

    Read the article again and notice that it says: To sound great and not fall out, MOST earphones need to literally plug up your ear … For MOST earphones, that seal creates a vacuum … Apple poked holes in the EarPods so that THE VACUUM IS NO LONGER THERE … REMOVING the vacuum eliminates that problem as well.”

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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