The constant curse of Apple's earbuds — along with the lacklustre sound they produce — is that you can rarely go more than 10 seconds before one side or the other pops out. Sprng — clips for Apple's updated-in-2012 EarPods — wants to remedy that. And you know what? They do.
What Are They?
Flexible silicone and plastic hook thingies that clip on your new-style Apple EarPods and keep them in your ears.
Who Are They For?
People who can't get Apple EarPods to stay where they belong.
The part that clips onto your earbuds is white plastic, while the part that touches your ear is grey flexible silicone. They're labelled L and R, but that might just be for convenience — they're shaped identically and work just the same on either side (I tried). Oh, and they say "sprng" on the back of the silicone part.
You can either slide the clips on, or snap them into place; then you adjust them up or down so they reach just high enough to tuck under the fold of cartilage directly above your ear canal (the inferior crus of the antihelix, if we're being anatomical). Sprng has a video to make sure you don't do it backwards or something, but it's all pretty intuitive.
Apple earbuds of any iteration have always required continual fiddling for me, so once I got the Sprng clips adjusted to my weirdo ears I had to consciously keep myself from habitually messing with them. Compared to my usual cram-it-in-there-real-good method, the clips made the earbuds feel like they weren't inserted far enough. I kept waiting for them to fall out.
But they didn't. I wore them at work, on the subway, doing laundry, biking, jogging — all the things I've never been able to do without at least one earbud launching itself to freedom — and the damned things stayed put. After a minute, I couldn't even feel the hooky part (technical term), and with the earbud resting comfortably outside the canal instead of shoved halfway to my brain, they were comfortable hours on end.
In fact, they were maybe a little too comfortable; these little clips turned me into exactly the sort of constant earbudder I used to sneer at. I'd pop 'em in before I left the house and keep them in all day, sometimes plugged into nothing more than my empty pocket. I'd even carry on conversations wearing them, something that makes me want to strangle people with their headphone cords when I see them doing it. Compared to how I usually wear Apple EarPods, with one pod jammed in sideways and the other dangling uselessly by my belt buckle, the sound quality was delightful.
The Best Part
The Sprng clips do exactly what they're sold to do: Keep your Apple earbuds from falling out. Short of bashing your head into a tree, or, like, giving your headphone cord a moderate but by no means unreasonable tug, no movement you make will dislodge those little pearls.
Unfortunately, these clips only solve the lesser of two problems with the earbuds Apple gives us. Sprng-equipped Apple EarPods still sound like Apple EarPods: not great. That's no fault of Sprng's, and if you're just looking for a better way to listen to MP3s while jogging, $US10 for these little clips is pretty reasonable. But they'll never stand up to over-ear headphones, or even some higher quality earbuds.
This Is Weird...
Sprng says these clips are only meant to be used with Apple's updated EarPods, which started showing up in 2012. While the clips slide onto the new buds more easily, with a little muscling I got them on the old-design earbuds that came with my iPhone in 2010, where they worked just as well.
If you were in NYC in the past two weeks and saw me being a rude jerk by talking to people without taking out my earbuds, I apologise. It was for work.
Should I Buy Them?
Depends what you're hoping for. Apple EarPods, by virtue of them coming free in the box with every iPhone and iPod sold, are perhaps the most popular and recognisable earbuds out there, and Sprng's $US10 clips make them enormously more useful. But they won't turn your EarPods into serious audiophile gear, and you shouldn't expect them to.
So if you're happy with the sound coming from your EarPods — or just can't be bothered with the expense of a nicer pair — but wish they were more comfortable and secure, these clips are $US10 well spent. Just, please, take them out of your ears when you're talking to people, will ya? [Sprng]