Never before has this degree of fit and finish been applied to a phone. Take the glass inlays on the back of iPhone 5, for instance. During manufacturing, each iPhone 5 aluminium housing is photographed by two high-powered 29MP cameras. A machine then examines the images and compares them against 725 unique inlays to find the most precise match for every single iPhone.
Look at iPhone 5 and you can’t help but notice the exquisite chamfer surrounding the display. A crystalline diamond cuts this bevelled edge. It’s what gives iPhone 5 its distinctive lines. Fitting for a phone so brilliant.
It’s not easy to create earbud-style headphones that not only feel good in your ears, but also sit securely in them. That’s because everyone’s ears are different. Using optical scans combined with silicone moulding, Apple designers created 3D models of various ear types to find a common shape across many different people. That shape led to the unique look of the new Apple EarPods. Unlike traditional circular earbuds, their design is defined by the geometry of the ear. Which makes them more comfortable for more people than any other earbud-style headphones.
They’re more stable and durable too. Apple engineers asked more than 600 people to test over 100 iterations of the Apple EarPods. Testers ran on treadmills in extreme heat and extreme cold. They performed various cardio workouts. They were even asked to shake their heads from side to side, and up and down. The result: Apple EarPods provide stronger protection from sweat and water, and they’re remarkably stable in the ear. Which means they stay in, even when you’re on the go.
At the same time Apple designers were trying to define an ideal earbud shape, Apple sound engineers — acousticians — were focused on improving sound quality. First, they established a target sound for the Apple EarPods. That target: a person sitting in a room listening to high-quality speakers.
The biggest determinant of what you hear from any speaker is the movement of its diaphragm. The inward and outward motion is what creates sound. But earbud speaker diaphragms are typically made from a single material, which can limit sound output.
So Apple acousticians re-engineered an earbud speaker diaphragm with both rigid and flexible materials to minimise sound loss and maximise sound output. Adding to the superior audio quality are strategically placed acoustic vents. The most notable of these vents is the one located in the stem of each EarPod. It allows air inside the stem, which acts as an acoustic chamber, to flow out. So you hear deeper, richer bass tones. The overall audio quality of Apple EarPods is so impressive, they rival high-end headphones that cost hundreds of pounds more.
How a product looks and performs matters, but so does its impact on the environment. That’s why nearly every Apple product is made from highly recyclable materials like aluminium, and why we refuse to use harmful toxins in our components.
Every iPhone, starting with iPhone 3GS, is free of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). That includes our newest iPhone — iPhone 5. In fact, Apple has one of the strictest BFR-free and PVC-free standards in the industry. And we expect the same from our suppliers. We go so far as to disassemble our products into individual components and materials in our Cupertino lab. Then we test them using many methods, including X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and ion chromatography. We do this to ensure that every product we release meets our environmental standards.