Gah, headphone cables are hateful. My wife swears by Sony’s design, claiming they’ve optimized the size and slipperiness so that when they do tangle, they at least undo easily. But every time I dig out mine they’re a spaghetti’d mess. I want someone to make Ji Woong’s YI headphones.
Check them out–when you’re using the YI’s you unzip them to suit your taste, body size, whatever. And when you’re done, you simply zip the two halves together, neatly binding up the cable into a manageable plastic strip. They’re simple, unusual, and I bet they’d be a lot simpler to deal with than the typical four feet of fine slippery plastic. Of course they’d still tangle somewhat, but at least you could bundle them into a pocket with impunity knowing you’d only have three or four knots to unravel, thanks to the chunkiness of the zipped-together wires.
The zip-pull controller unit is a nice touch too–it seems a logical place to put basic iPod controls, and the implementation certainly seems more intuitive than Apple’s latest, controversial, headset for the new iPod shuffle. The engineer in me spots the flaw in that zip-pull–how do you effect a sturdy yet flexible connection to the rest of the wiring that makes the headphones work? But that’s not really an issue since it’s just a concept.
And that’s a shame, because if they were real I’d buy some. I must have owned thirty or so sets of headphones over the years, and not a single one of them hasn’t tangled horridly at the drop of a hat. If Sony and the other audio makers really do spend chunks of R&D money trying to solve this problem, they really haven’t done very well.