At a certain point, a pair of opalescent iPod buds roping out from your pocket and inserted into your ears had a certain hipster cache, largely thanks to Apple's own silhouette iPod ads. I always thought this a rather interesting phenomenon, because I never particularly thought people using the stock iPod ear buds were particularly cool: rather, they seem to appeal mostly to tone deaf idiot masochists. iPod ear buds suck: as comfortable as hardened gum rolled in glass and plunged into the ear canal, and just as acoustically satisfying.
Ever since the "Let's Rock" event in September, Steve Jobs has been promising an up date with premium in-ear headphones including a built-in remote and microphone. They'd go for $79 and compete with higher end buds by Shure and Klipsch, which can go for hundreds of dollars. I've been looking forward to them: they'd double as a hands-free for the iPhone, and they were only $79. Jobs promised they'd be released in October: they weren't.
And, in fact, they're still no where in sight.
According to MacBlogzs, Steve Jobs himself was unhappy with the new buds, demanding that they beat the sound and built quality of all other high end ear buds. He pushed back on Apple's designers, who in turn had to push back on the overseas manufacturers, delaying the product for an unknown length of time. But MacBlogz then goes on to state that another source says they are simply being delayed until closer to the holidays as a marketing move.
So it looks like there's still the chance of a Christmas delivery, no matter how cynically manufactured.
Update: Oh for Jeebus' sakes... fifteen minutes after I write the post and then I read they're now for sale, with a shipping date of 7-10 business days.