Update: Refer to this video, as the one above has (curiously) been set to private.
Ahead of the heavily-rumored September 12th event, the above video has surfaced from the Vietnam-based Tinhte.vn site. While the video depicts products that at least look real, the site does have a hit-and-miss past – they’ve reported on a “plastic” white iPhone (obviously a miss), but they’ve also been able to get their hands on an iPad 3 and an iPhone 4 before their respective official launch dates. With that disclaimer out of the way, the purported headphones aren’t radically different from their predecessors. The largest difference is that the silver “grill” area of the older headphones is absent, and instead there is just a slit for sound to travel through. As for comfort, well – it’s a video. I’ll tell you how they feel if/when they start shipping.
MacRumors offers a translation of the video, which does include some idea of how they feel in the ear:
In my hands are the new earphones for the iPhone 5 that is about to come out – Apple’s next generation of iPod [sic]. These will replace the current earphones that are on the market. These are manufactured at Phax Co factory in Vietnam. They have the appearance of a horse’s head, not like earbuds. When they are worn, they have a much smaller profile. They have the appearance of a fully integrated, single unit – there’s no part that looks like it would come apart – not like earbuds; the integrated design is characteristic of Apple products. Here I have the old earphones for comparison. The new ones are much smaller; when they are worn, they do not hurt the way earbuds do. You can see on the old ones the surface is a separate part that looks like it can be detached – not like the small surface of the new one. The old earphones were mostly made in China, with some in Vietnam. But the new ones are clearly made in Vietnam. (Reading from the wires): “Designed by Apple in California, assembled in Vietnam.”
The new headphones are supposedly being manufactured in Vietnam (in the Bac Giang province, apparently, which is home to a historically-troubled Foxconn factory). The site claims that the headphones couldn’t be a knock-off, due to the quality and design: they could, however, simply be a prototype and may never see the light of day beyond this blog post.
I am personally somewhat skeptical of this, mostly because of the troubled history of the only Foxconn factory in Vietnam, and because these headphones look odd: they don’t have the tell-tale signs of an Apple product. The usability doesn’t look like an improvement over what currently ships, and the design certainly doesn’t seem to be any better than its predecessors. Perhaps it’s just me; regardless, the countdown to Apple’s next even is ticking away.