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Circuit Breaker

Will.i.am's new Bluetooth earphones are vinyl-inspired Apple exclusives

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Will.i.am has released a new pair of wireless Bluetooth earphones. They're expensive, they're supposed to look like vinyl records, and they're available exclusively through Apple.com and select Apple stores.

The new EPs might also be the best looking product we've seen from will.i.am's tech company, i.am+. They're certainly a cut above the clunky Dial smartwatch, and they seem like they might actually have a use case (that is, listening to music), unlike i.am+'s wholly unnecessary $475 iPhone camera accessory, the foto.sosho.

Opinions at The Verge differ on whether the EPs actually looked any good, but we all agree they are at least striking. They come with gold or black highlights, and the circular covers clip together magnetically, back-to-back, to keep the earphones cinched around your neck when not in use. Other pleasing features include a built-in mic and volume controls, woven fabric cable construction, and larger-than-usual 14mm drivers in the earphones themselves (although that's no guarantee of audio quality).

you get an audio greeting from will.i.am every time you turn on the EPS

However, the EPs are on the expensive end ($229.95) and are host to some questionable design touches. They're engraved with the messages "left and gone" and "right and wrong" to tell which earphone is which, and Apple's product notes inform users they should "listen closely for i.am+ founder will.i.am’s voice when you turn on your EPs or connect to Bluetooth." That'll probably lose its charm sometime around the fourth or fifth time you hear it.

Will.i.am has a frankly abysmal track record when it comes to making consumer technology, but with audio products the proof is in the pudding. We'll have to wait and hear.