Coincidentally, I've been doing some reading on these/HIR over the last week or so aswell, as I invisage insalling them in my MY07 WRX and my brother MY05 RS for highbeam applications (we're both oing a lot more hwy driving as of this year)
From what I can tell;
- Halogen < HIR < HID.
- Both 9011 and 9012 use reflective/HIR technology, or else they couldn't be classified as HIR bulbs
- GE originally had the design and 'outsourced' (for want of a better word) the design to Toshiba and Philips to adapt to the automotive sector.
- 9011 is the HB3/9005 'replacement'. It is for high beam applications
- 9012 is the HB4/9006 'replacement'. It is for low beam applications
- Toshiba bulbs appear to be more 'pear' shaped, whereas Philips bulbs seem to be a more 'normal'/cylindrical shape
The newer/updated version is of the 9012/'HB4'-style bulb. AFAIK there have been no changes to the 9011/'HB3'-style as yet.
More information here (+you can order them):