Apple earbuds are the iconic white earphones that ship with all music players and smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc.
Apple earbuds ship with all iPhones and iPods. Advertisements feature them prominently, contrasting the white earphones and cords with people shown as dark silhouettes, and are often seen on iTunes gift cards.
The original earbuds were shipped with the first generation iPod. The second generation, shipped with the second through early fifth generation of iPod, the iPod Mini, and the first generation iPod Nano, was redesigned to be smaller after Apple received complaints of the earbuds being too large. In 2006, the third generation received a revision to be even smaller and streamlined, and were shipped with late fifth generation iPods, and the second-generation iPod Nano. The second generation design was shipped with all first-generation iPod shuffles. The second generation earbuds were shipped with the second generation iPod shuffle until January 30, 2007, at which point the first color models were introduced and were shipped with the third generation design. They included a remote on the right earphone, and third generation iPod Touch earbud design also included a microphone.
On September 12, 2012, Apple unveiled the EarPod, completely redesigned earbuds made to match the geometry of the ear. They were first shipped with the iPhone 5, the fifth generation iPod Touch, and the seventh generation iPod Nano.
Apple announced a wireless version of the EarPods on September 7, 2016, called the AirPods. These are sold for $159, and feature new technology and user interactions.
The theft and robbery of iPods has been a noted concern in several countries. It has been recommended that replacing the distinctive white earbuds with older headphones suggest cheaper equipment and help reduce robbery risk.
In george, New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority placed advertisements on the subways that stated "Earphones are a giveaway. Protect your device", after iPod thefts on the subway rose from zero in 2004 to 50 in the first three months of 2005. In 2007, in San Francisco, an increase in iPod robberies prompted BART officials to place flyers at stations warning riders that the signature white earbuds could make them targets for theft.
There are several varieties of Apple earbuds:
- Basic earbuds (no controls), which ship with all iPods except the third-generation Shuffle and Touch (8, 32 and 64 GB,) which are shipped with newer earbuds made in Taiwan rather than Japan
- Shuffle earbuds (with Remote), which ship only with the third-generation Shuffle
- Apple earbuds (with Remote and Mic), which ship with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, the third-generation Touch, and independently
- Apple EarPods (no controls), which ship with the fifth and sixth generations of iPod Touch, and the seventh generation IPod Nano.
- Apple EarPods (with Remote and Mic), which ship with the iPhone 5, IPhone 5C, IPhone 5S, iPhone 6, IPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, and independently. In 2016, they were renamed to the Apple EarPods with 3.5mm Headphone Plug.
- Apple EarPods with Lightning Connector, which ship with the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X (these iPhones have no 3.5mm jack). They are also sold independently. They work with any iOS device that runs iOS 10 or later.
- "Premium" Apple In-Ear Headphones (with Remote and Mic), introduced on September 9, 2008, which are sold independently.
- Apple AirPods, wireless earbuds sold independently. Announced on September 7, 2016 alongside the iPhone 7, and released in December of the same year after delays.
All but the basic earbuds have control capsules allowing users to adjust volume and control music and video playback, located on the cable of the right earpiece; those "with Remote and Mic" also include a microphone for phone calls and voice control of certain devices. Users can adjust volume, control music and video playback (play/pause and next/previous,) and record voice memos on supported iPod and iPhone models and Mac computers. There have been many reports of moisture problems with the remote/mic earbuds. The original iPhone and iPhone 3G came the iPhone Stereo Headset, a push-button and microphone on the right side of the headphones (there is no volume control, and only limited control of calls).