WHAT IS COVERED BY THIS WARRANTY?
Apple Inc. of One Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California, U.S.A. 95014 (Apple) warrants the Apple-branded iPhone, iPad or iPod hardware product and accessories contained in the original packaging (Apple Product) against defects in materials and workmanship when used normally in accordance with Apple's published guidelines for a period of ONE (1) YEAR from the date of original retail purchase by the end-user purchaser ("Warranty Period"). Apples published guidelines include but are not limited to information contained in technical specifications, user manuals and service communications.
Perhaps I wrote my statement incorrectly, but the end conclusion is the same.
There is nothing in normal user behavior that should result in a broken connector from Apple EarPods. User-caused damage is not under warranty.
If a Genius replaced these free of charge, it was because he/she was feeling generous (and maybe had some spare pairs). Heck, the COGS on these things are probably three bucks, it's not like Apple is going to file bankruptcy is an Apple Genius comps a pair.