Audiophile iPhone owners, rejoice. You can chuck Apple's awful included earbuds now that the first iPhone-compatible earphones with an in-line microphone and controls are starting to arrive from headphone manufacturers. Up first: the new Altec Lansing UHS-306 ($90).
Like a growing number of better-made earbuds, the 306 have cloth-covered cords, which makes then less likely to knot and easier to untangle if they do. The thin rubberized earbuds form-fit inside the ear canal for comfortable sound isolation and the speakers deliver full, if slightly thin sounds — but then again I'm unfairly comparing them to custom-fit Ultimate Ear phones. Read more of my hands-on impressions of the 306 by clicking on the link below.
As far as the controls are concerned, the mike on the right cord hangs at chin level and has a button that answers and ends calls, letting you keep your iPhone in your pocket. Further down the cord, below the shirt clip, is an in-line module with a sliding volume control, which adjusts volume, with a microphone mute switch on the reverse side.
Unfortunately, the 306 lacks pause/play or skip keys. But then simply pulling the plug out from the iPhone will put your music on pause. You also get a 2.5mm-jack adapter so the 306 can be used with any thus-equipped musical cell phone.
Whether or not the promised iPhone headsets with full in-line functions from V-Moda, Etymotic, Shure, Ultimate Ears and others also include music controls remains to be seen. And as far as the iPod Touch is concerned, you can use any headphones. Apple made a wise choice and didn't recess its headphone jack.
Via Altec Lansing