I've got a first generation iPhone. About once a year, like clockwork, the standard Apple iPhone headphones will start to crap-out on me. Audio will flake out in a channel, the clicker will stop answering the phone, and ultimately they'll give up the ghost. The flaking out is an audio-on/audio-off thing, eventually becoming a completely off thing. This is not the schmutz in the iphone problem.
I think I've tracked down the physical defect (but am not a headphone/electrical engineer)
The image above shows two flakey headphone jacks with their protective covering pulled back. It looks like, over time, the plastic covering wears away and exposes the bare wires which, I assume, interferes with the magic that makes the headphone work.
Is there a way to salvage these headphones? How can I keep this from happening to future headphones? Will that happen to all microphone-clicker headphones, or are there's others that will be more resilient? Are there low budget third-party headphones with comparable average audio-quality, a clicker, and will work with a first gen iPhone? I've been wary of trading up lest I'm buying for a new $100 pair of headphones every year (instead of a $30/pair). Is it the design of the iPhone itself that causes this (i.e., something that won't happen with the newer models)
When I'm not using the headphones they get wrapped up in my pocket like this. Is this damaging them? You can also see how the base of the jack casing has split. This is something else that happens to the headphone.
My goal here is to make my headphones last as long as they can.