iPhone Stereo Headset (bulk packaging, 2007)

The iPhone Stereo Headset were the headphones that shipped with the first two iPhone models, the original iPhone (2007–2008) and the iPhone 3G (2008–2010). The headphones used a similar enclosed design as the later EarPods, and the right earbud included a control button with a microphone on the wire. The button is controlled by a squeeze and it can be set for a variety of tasks: answer/end calls, advance presentation slides, play/pause music/video, or capture photos. A double-press also allowed the user to skip to the next music track.

Note that the controller did not include the + and – option for volume and/or other controls, a feature now taken for granted in many headphone designs.

iLounge described these headphones as, “familiar and inexpensive, with very good earbud and microphone quality.” They also praised the bass response, warm sound, and the quality of the microphone.

This example is in Apple’s bulk packaging. I remember receiving the headphones when I attended an Apple Education professional development opportunity that required attendees to have a microphone. These were never unpackaged because I had brought and used my personal headphones.

Sources: Wikipedia, iLounge

Original iPod headphones (Generation 2, 2002)

The Original iPod headphones were the earbuds that shipped with the original iPod. They sounded quite good, shipped with two sets of black foam ear covers, were sometimes panned for not fitting some people’s ears, and came with the iPod at no additional cost so most iPod users used them.

Perhaps the most important, and in my opinion overlooked, feature of these headphones was not the specs, but the color. Soon after the iPod was introduced in 2001, an iconic ad campaign was released in 2003 referred to as “silhouettes,” created by the company Chiat\Day. In each commercial, poster, print ad, or billboard, the all-black silhouette of a dancer moved over a brightly colored background (hot pink, lime green, yellow, or bright blue) while the highly-contrasted bright white headphone wire and iPod moved along with the dancer. The effect was striking and the white cord color effectively called attention to the product nearly screaming, “I’m using an iPod!”

The white earbud design not only became permanently associated with “cool” Apple gear, but 20 years later is still being used as the only color choice for Apple-branded headphones, EarPods, AirPods, and likely future Apple headphone iterations. (Apple-owned brand Beats, however, does produce many headphone styles in multiple colors.)

According to my research, this particular example of the original iPod headphone design is a Generation 2 release, identified as such due to the addition of a plastic slider to adjust the gap between the headphone wires.

Sources: GQ, Wikipedia

EarPods (with 3.5 mm Headphone Plug, 2012)

The EarPods design replaced a previous Apple headphone design with a circular earphone design. The product description states that, “Unlike traditional, circular earbuds, the design of the EarPods is defined by the geometry of the ear. Which makes them more comfortable for more people than any other earbud-style headphones.”

EarPods also included a remote and microphone on the right EarPod wire. The remote allowed the user to pinch the thickened cord to control volume, play/pause music and video, and answer or end a call.

The same wired EarPod design was used in the EarPods with Lightning Connector product when Apple removed the audio connector from the iPhone. Both the 3.5 mm Headphone Plug and Lightning Connector options were sold at the same time since both ports were still used in Apple products.

This product was sold in a variety of packaging. This is the same packaging that shipped inside iPhone models and also available as OEM replacement parts from some online retailers.

Source: Apple.com

AppleDesign Powered Speakers II (1993)

The data sheet that Apple provided for the AppleDesign Powered Speakers II described them as “audiophile-quality…designed to work perfectly with virtually any personal computer, portable CD player or audio cassette player and with any television that supports sound output.” 

The design of the rear speaker leg allowed the speakers to be adjusted to various angles. The power and volume controls was located in the front of the right speaker and an included cable with 3.5 mm plugs that connected the two speakers. Volume and an external headphone port were also located on the front of the right speaker. A stereo audio input port was located on the rear of the right speaker.

The speakers delivered 90 dB at 0.5m at 200Hz. Each speaker measures 6.8 inches tall, 4.1 inches wide, and 3.9 inches deep. The speakers were available as a set and as a part of the Apple Multimedia Kit for Macintosh.

This AppleDesign Powered Speakers II model is beige and matches Apple desktop computers sold at the time. Another version, considered far more rare, was also available in black with silver metallic Apple logos.

Reference: Apple via picclick.com