Amid the barrage of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC 2012), Harman Kardon - the high-end audio manufacturer - also announced its first range of own-brand headphones that will be available exclusively at Apple Stores. Pocket-lint was on hand to get a first look at the classic over-ear "CL" headphones.
Now there's more than a little whiff of the B&W P5 design about Harman Kardon's CL headphones, despite the latter manufacturer basing its design, at least in part, around the classic Apple iPod. The earcups do follow that smooth-edged rectangular design, but at the end of the day it's only a rectangle. Whether we thought they looked "Apple" or not was irrelevant really; what mattered is that we thought they looked rather cool.
The exposed design comprises a sandblasted steel headband with a second flexible leather-cladd band underneath for a comfortable fit. The band flexes up or down as needed, but the earcups aren't able to drop lower so the cone-headed among us may not necessarily get the best fit. By contrast, for example, the B&W P3 series, like the P5, have earcups that can be pulled downwards to suit.
The industrial-style design certainly looks edgy, and we like the exposed wires that come as part and parcel of not having an encased outer headband. It's got a raw yet well-designed look to it.
Rather than a hardwired cable the CL opts for a 2.5mm port to attach the included cable - which has a small control to jump between your tracks and adjust volume when using your Apple device (different wiring configurations mean this may not necessarily work with some other manufacturers', devices according to Harman).
The earcups themselves are mounted on independent swivel brackets in order to rotate two-dimensionally for a more comfortable fit. The material that Harman uses is also very comfortable and will partially mould to your ears to create a more sealed environment.
Included in the box is a branded, pouch-like carry case in which the headphones can be stored flat to save on space when on the move.
But of course headphones are all about the sound. The CL's 40mm large enclosure drivers are ported for better bass performance. The headphones are able to recycle information from the back of the driver for extra oomph in the low-frequency department - meaning extra kick when it comes to bass. Harman claims the CL will deliver better, cleaner bass performance than its competitors.
But the big question is: how do they sound? Oh how we'd love to tell you, but Harman had a lock down on the final product - we were only shown one of the final CL mock ups that wasn't credited with the power of audio.
A headphones launch without working headphones, ah there's never a dull day in the world of tech.
The Harman Kardon CL over-ear headphones will be available to buy - or to listen to! - in your local Apple Store from June 13 2012, priced £169.95. Go check them out.
What do you make of the Harman Kardon CL design? Apple-esque? Or more B&W?