Well, folks, I got my pair in... so here's a first impression:
1) First thing I notice: they just... fit. I couldn't believe it... but you know that feeling when you get a pair of IEM to fit perfectly and they don't move or wiggle anymore? This is it. They just get in, and stay in. It's amazing.
2) Cable really is nothing to write home about. If you know the old model, then you know how the cable is on this one.
3) Okay, let's get to sound immediately, because I know this is what many of you care about:
Bass: wow... this tiny thing can really push air. Bass is fuller, more textured, and has more tone. Mid bass is thick and powerful. Upper bass is lean and lean. Too bad there is not much (if at all) low bass to speak of. But still... it's a huge step up from the old model in this department, and even compared to the in-ear model. Apple didn't lie when they said these would have more bass. That said, though, bass is not prominent. It's just barely enough for you to realize it's there. A bass boosting amp gives them a bit more authority, but still nothing compared to $100 IEMs. But if you're comparing these to $200 Beats by Dr. Dre Solo? Or Bose QC15? Things get very interesting. Very very VERY interesting...
Mid-range: lush, lean, and somewhat airy. Still kinda cold and analytical like the old model. Also I can notice some static as volume increases. Looks like these clip just as easily as the old one. Nothing to write home about, really... even though I think midrange is most prominent of the whole presentation.
High: strident... fair extension. Somewhat sibilant depending on the track. It sounds somewhat more detailed and less... edgy than the old model, though the difference is quite small that I can't say for sure if it's my head messing with me.
Soundstage: blah... do you seriously want to know?
Instrument Separation: well, better than the older model for sure. I feel like there are at least two drivers in there. Can't say whether it's better than the in-ear model. I need more time with these.
4) Buttons on Remote: bigger, rounder, clickier. Better than the old model for sure.
5) Mic: noise-canceling? Is that codeword for "muffled, warm, and nose-clogged voice"? Bah... same as old model and in-ear.
Overall, I think it's a good value at $29. Apple is "half-right" when they say these 'phones can beat some $200 headphones (Beats By Dre...). For sound quality, I'm sure I can do a lot worse than these at the same or higher price point. For instance, they sound eerily similar to the in-ear model... except that their bass has "moar BOOM" than the in-ear. But if it's me, I'd choose this over the in-ear any day.
So... I'd say... if you love bass, and you love HIGH quality bass, then... look elsewhere.
If you love the sterile and analytical sound of the in-ear (ADDIEM for those who are still wondering which "in-ear" I kept mentioning) but would like a more comfortable fit + more bass, then... you can do a lot worse than these for $29.
Edited by Bill-P - 9/17/12 at 8:46pm