When I had a long commute from Livermore to San Francisco, I purchased a pair of Bose QC3 headphones to help block the screeching sound of the BART train and make the ride more enjoyable. Turns out, the QC3, if expensive, are extremely comfortable headphones to wear over a long period of time. I have made these headphones my primary headphones any time I’m using my iPhone. This leads to a problem — it doesn’t have a microphone built in for the phone. I therefore have purchased the headset adapter for them, which, ala the Apple earbuds, adds a microphone on to the cord leading to the headset. This worked fine with my iPhone 3G. I have now purchased an iPhone 4, but the microphone doesn’t work with it. <sadface />

What follows is an email I wrote to Bose for some advice/response:

I have the headset adapter for the Bose QC3 headphones. It worked fine on the iPhone 3G that I had, but now that I have upgraded to the iPhone 4, the microphone does not work. It has a static clicking sound every second which makes it unusable. However, the Apple supplied earbuds work fine. I suspect that the interference on the microphone line is due to the user controls provided on the ear buds for volume up/down and play/pause, which the Bose headset does not support.

It seems that this problem is not limited to the Bose headsets — it seems that many non-Apple brand three lead headsets have the same issue. See the thread on the Apple discussion boards here: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2480660&tstart=0

I’m emailing for a couple of things:

– I wanted to make sure that Bose was aware of the issue. Some acknowledgment of this problem on your website would be nice. A word that you are aware of the problem and working for a solution.

– It would be nice for Bose to investigate this issue and possibly provide a free adapter that filters these pulses and enables the same functionality that we had before.

– Even better, and my preferred option, would be to upgrade the headset adapter to support the volume up/down and play/pause button so the headset can take full advantage of the features provided by the iPhone.

Thanks for your time.

UPDATE: I received a response from Bose today. Their response follows:

Thank you for your inquiry.

We are very sorry to hear about the issue you are experiencing with your Bose┬« QuietComfort┬« 3 mobile communication kit and the Apple iPhone 4. We have not heard from customers who are experiencing compatibility issues with these two products, so we asked our Engineering department to test this. While we were not able to duplicate your symptoms exactly, we discovered a variation of the symptom. At this time, it is unknown what causes these symptoms to occur, but our Engineering department will need evaluate this further. As you have noted, there is some discussion regarding this with other model headsets –and the common factor here is the iPhone 4. Apple may also be aware of the issue if other headsets have this issue. You may want to contact them to see if they have any solutions being worked on.

It is unlikely that we will be unable to work around this symptom. If it is determined that the mobile communications kit is not compatible with the iPhone 4, then we will update our website accordingly. If or when there is any update in the future that will prevent these symptoms, we will keep your e-mail on file and contact you if there is a resolution. We are sorry we could not provide a solution at this time.

While not exactly what I was hoping for, they appear to be continuing to look in to it, which is a good sign. I’m sure either Apple or Bose will be able to figure out the problem.