Nothing can be worse than the ipod buds. The SC buds are more comfortable, isolate and are durable. Plus, SQ is better. I-buds always sound tinny whereas the SC buds actually have bass. Plus, $9.99 is a decent price for the Ink'd, compared to the almost $30 for replacement ibuds at the Apple Store website. (Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic - Apple Store (U.S.)).