Apple had durability in mind with the new EarPods. Notice the new remote design (left), which includes larger cable wrapping near the remote than the previous earbuds (right) to reduce strain on the wires.
If you're using your EarPods with an iPhone or iPod, chances are you'll be stuffing them into your pocket or backpack a lot, which can put a lot of stress on the connections.
To make the new EarPods more resistant to water and sweat damage Apple's designers removed the external microphone grate.
As an iFixit user rightfully pointed out to us, the previous microphone grate was for show only! We confirmed that no hole exists in the plastics. Thanks Todd!
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