A couple of months ago, I posted a Photoshop mockup of a new pair of "wireless" headphones for the second-generation iPod Shuffle that Arriva, a startup based in Colorado, was working on. The irony was that the headphones weren't wireless in the traditional sense (Bluetooth, IR, or RF), but they simply had a tiny Shuffle II integrated into the headphones at the back of your neck. It's a concept that Monster has also seized upon with its iFreePlay headphones, which houses a Shuffle dock in the left earpiece.
The new headphones aren't out yet, but Arriva did send us a couple of working prototypes, one of which is designed for smaller heads. With some fiddling around, you can get the whole contraption to fit pretty snugly, though the Shuffle isn't so light that you completely forget that it's tacked on to the back of your noggin. The headphones don't sound stellar, either, but Ben Blouse, Arriva's CEO, says neither the cosmetics nor the speakers are final and will continue to be tweaked. They can make the headphones in any color and will be offering high-end earbuds very soon, as well as a waterproof model that keeps your Shuffle dry.
Blouse says he should know pricing early next week and that the headphones should begin shipping in 5 to 6 weeks. He adds, "Our utility patent pending looks very good."