At a Glance
Combination lanyard/earbuds for the first-generation iPod nano.
The iPod shuffle’s included lanyard become one of its most popular accessories thanks to the shuffle’s small size and light weight — by carrying the shuffle around your neck, the shuffle is easily accessible and relatively safe from harm. The main drawback to the lanyard is that once you plug your headphones into your shuffle, you have a tangle of wires and cables around your neck.
The iPod nano is perhaps even more suited to wearing around your neck thanks to the fact that it’s nearly as light as the shuffle but even thinner. However, instead of including a lanyard with the nano, Apple announced an optional accessory designed to give you the benefits of a lanyard without the cable mess: the iPod nano Lanyard Headphones. This $39 accessory looks similar to the shuffle’s lanyard except that it actually includes a pair of Apple’s iPod earbuds — the earbud cables are hidden in the lanyard cord. You just plug the Lanyard Headphones plug into the bottom of your iPod nano, where it both connects securely and accesses the nano’s bottom-mounted headphone jack.
Unlike the shuffle lanyard, the Lanyard Headphones lanyard is adjustable in length: The left and right lanyard cords actually wrap around the back of your neck to the other side, where the right and left earbud cables, respectively, emerge at clips (one on each side) that determine how long or short the lanyard should be. The design is difficult to explain, but the photo above illustrates it nicely.
We like the design of the Lanyard Headphones — it works as advertised, giving you the convenience of a lanyard without all the cable clutter of a traditional lanyard/headphone setup. However, two issues, both perhaps unavoidable, prevent us from giving the product a higher rating. The first is that since the headphones are incorporated into the Lanyard, you’re stuck with whatever those headphones are, good or bad. They just so happen to be the same earbuds as those included with the iPod. If you’re happy with those earbuds, then you’ll be happy with the performance of the Lanyard Headphone; if, like us, you prefer to listen through better headphones, the convenience of the Lanyard Headphone will be tempered by the fact that you’re stuck with Apple’s ‘buds. The second issue is cost: At $39, the Lanyard Headphones aren’t cheap. Sure, you’re getting both a quality lanyard and an extra set of earbuds, but given that you’ve already got a pair of the same earbuds, it feels like you’re re-buying them. Both of these criticisms are admittedly a bit unfair, considering that, by design, Apple had to incorporate earbuds into the Lanyard Headphones. However, if the earbuds included in the Lanyard were of higher quality than the iPod’s stock earbuds, the Lanyard Headphones would represent a real upgrade for the money.