Apple’s earbuds were inspired by the dark side, or more specifically, the stormtroopers from Star Wars, according to an interview with Apple’s chief designer Jony Ive in The Wall Street Journal. Ive reportedly told Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams he had the “look of the original Stormtroopers in mind when he designed Apple’s earbuds.”
It’s also interesting to note that the costume designer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Michael Kaplan, told Vanity Fair in 2015 that Apple itself inspired the new stormtroopers of the First Order. “With the Stormtroopers it was more of a simplification, almost like, ‘What would Apple do?’” Kaplan said at the time.
It’s an ouroboros of design. Ive took inspiration from the old stormtroopers, while Kaplan took prompts from Ive. Abrams also took Ive’s suggestion to make Kylo Ren’s lightsaber “rougher [and] spitting sparks.”