Earbuds are cute, relatively convenient, and stay in place during active workouts. However, even the best of them are uncomfortable for extended wear and have poor sound characteristics.
The iPhone 3G comes with a pair of stereo earbuds which double as a hands-free set, having a built-in microphone and button. The 3G can accept a standard 1/8" stereo headphone plug without getting confused (apparently the older iPhone needs an adapter). If I plug in good full-size headphones, the sound is wonderfully improved. But I can't use the phone through them.
Someone has to make something that satisfies both worlds. The following criteria should be met:
- Comfortable, full-size "muff" style headphones
- Reasonably wide frequency response with nice bass
- Boom microphone
- 4-conductor 1/8" (3.5mm) plug
- Short (3 foot) cord
One additional feature, which would be nice but not required, is active noise cancellation — for the speakers and/or the microphone.
Bose mobile on-ear headset
It is full-size. It has a built-in microphone — inline on the cord, not on a boom. Its standard connector supposedly fits the iPhone, and it comes with four adapters to fit other phones. The cord is a little longer than I would want, but I guess Bose knows what they are doing. Neither their web site nor the manual mentions a button, so one can assume that there isn't one. And I don't know who Bose is selling to, but there is no word at all on either their web site or the manual about the audio specs. And the MSRP is $200.
I have a Plantronics stereo headphone with a boom mic. However, it is primarily intended for use with a computer. It has a long cord with two separate jacks, one for the microphone and one for the speakers. It also has a volume control and mute switch, which I think would be redundant for the iPhone. However, the sound is good, and I could theoretically get the microphone working if I made thte right connector.