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The first Apple ear buds were released in 2008 and were revised in 2012 with the iPhone 5.
I got the first set of ear buds with my iPod Touch. They were a gift from my family. I got the revised version last year.
I think that the new Apple ear buds have improved a lot compared to the first Apple ear buds in several ways. I noticed that the sound quality is much better and the new Apple ear buds are designed to fit in your ear easier. The original ear buds would break easily if you pulled it out of your phone too fast.
So in my opinion the newer Apple ear buds are better and more reliable.