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.