MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2008 (#36)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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140 MacDirectory CLOSER LOOK The Wi-Gear mission statement is one that grabs you and doesn't let go: "At Wi-Gear, we believe that innovation comes from bringing value to the user and not through blindly pushing the technology envelope." Sounds good, right? Their iMuffs wireless headphones sound even better. Wi-Gear's goal is to "create intelligently designed products that improve people's lives." To this end, they have focused on two particular aspects of emerging technology, Bluetooth and the iPod. Said Mark Pundsack, president and CEO of Wi-Gear, Inc. "(There were) two major things, the iPod being one big side of it. The (other was) Bluetooth maturing and offering more capabilities. When we started there were a lot of Bluetooth (wireless) headsets being used in Europe but not here yet. But then as Bluetooth capabilities started to emerge (in the U.S.) we decided to (make a wireless headset) for iPod." Pundsack said he had some hesitation to start working with the iPod, which he feared might just be a fad. "When I first started with the company we weren't even sure if we were going to go for the iPod market, but then when the news came out and we saw that their sales were skyrocketing that was it." He has never regretted his decision, and admits that, even to this day, he continues to be astounded by the iPod's broad appeal. "I'm amazed at how early on we had calls from grandmothers, literally 70 and 80 years old talking about how they are excited about getting iMuffs – and it's for them, not for their kids. This is the only product I've ever worked with that literally doesn't have a demographic." iMuffs provide that same broad appeal in large part because Wi-Gear worked hard to make sure using them was easy. "We want the user to be able to use this right out of the box, (so we designed it so that) you take two pieces out of the box, you plug one in, you turn one on and that's it." He adds, "One nice side effect of having making the adapter that plugged into the iPod was that we had control of both pieces so we could make them work really well together. We also spent time making sure the ergonomics worked out. We tried some competitive products and I kept on having to take them off my head to figure out what buttons to push – so we made sure that our product worked without having to look at it. Our buttons are easy to touch when they are on your head, there are three buttons, the big one is play, and there's forward, back, and volume is an actual dial. The iMuffs also come with a feature that allows them to be paired with your Bluetooth phone, which means your iPod stops playing when your phone rings. Said Pundsack, "I've missed calls when I was listening to my iPod and (this feature) is really great. It automatically pauses the iPod and you can switch over and talk, and then go back to your music. The iMuffs are selling well, and users love them. In fact, Wi-Gear's Web site is loaded with positive, unsolicited comments. But the company is not content to rest on its laurels, and continues to look for ways to make their product better. "We are going to continue to improve software and hardware for the iMuffs, and then there are a bunch of things we can do within the stereo Bluetooth realm, like making it smaller and wider, more sporty, or stretching it to transmit from a computer to speakers wirelessly." Sporty, comfortable, and with a range of up to 30 feet, iMuffs may just be the only accessory your iPod or Bluetooth phone needs. See for more details. The iMuffs are priced at $179.99. IMUFFS BY WI-GEAR > YOU'LL DEFINITELY WANT TO STAY TUNED WORDS BY JONE DEVLIN

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