Since Apple’s reveal of the iPhone 7, their “design” decision to remove the headphone jack has been debated as though it’s a subjective issue of preference. Are you pro-jack or on team #JackOff?
As a journalistic institution, it’s our duty to remain balanced on subjective issues of national importance like presidential politics and iPhone hardware design. So it’s fortunate that this latest design decision is not, in fact, a matter of personal taste. There is only one logical reason you would be in favor of removing the headphone jack from iPhones: You are a major shareholder of Apple Inc. stock.
It is objectively impossible to justify the removal of the headphone jack for any reasons other than greed. An informal survey of Cracked employees revealed that ear bud wires have inconvenienced them approximately zero times (plus or minus an error margin of zero). In fact, they’re convenient enough that companies have started selling wires for your wireless earbuds. In a lot of situations wires are better: Ever notice how every time you call tech support about a WiFi issue, they suggest running a cable instead? That’s because, in terms of reliably transmitting a high-fidelity signal (the main thing wires do) they’re still way, way better than any wireless tech. Not to mention that because they’re shorter than the distance from a person’s ears to the ground they act like a safety rope, letting your ears anchor your phone so even if it slips it doesn’t reach the ground.
Apple has become to phones what Windows is to PCs: They know people can’t switch without great time and expense, so they use that difficulty to squeeze their customers harder and harder. Yes, the sales will be similar to previous phones, but only because switching would be slightly more annoying than plugging in a dongle to your phone just so you can use a regular aux cable.
This jack thing removes a capability from the device while giving nothing in return, purely because it’s a universal standard and Apple is switching to a proprietary standard they can charge licensing fees for (if your device is Lightning compatible, you have to pay a fee to Apple for every unit you sell). The replacement tech (Bluetooth) is an improvement in the same way Josh Duhamel is an improvement over Timothy Olyphant — doesn’t sound as good, is more expensive, and has to be charged every night. It doesn’t even solve problems you’d expect it to solve, like if you want to listen to music with a friend, you’ll still need a splitter, but it will now be a Bluetooth splitter (which is a lot like a headphone splitter but harder to find and more expensive). Maybe one day we’ll develop the technology for a phone to have Bluetooth AND include a jack. But until 2007 rolls around again and we get the iPhone 1, we’ll have to settle for Bluetooth-only iPhones.
For many users this change will render six different pieces of equipment they own useless. That’s not even counting all of the devices like square credit card readers that use that jack that small businesses depend on. Stay tuned for the next innovation: “Everyone send us $80.”
Apple“Using Apple Pay, preferably.”
Microsoft users have long complained that the company hasn’t innovated software — they just innovate ways to squeeze money out of it. It now appears that Apple has stopped innovating devices and is instead innovating ways to extract money from its loyal users. They both get away with this because switching to another OS (including rebuying all the apps, setting up new accounts, etc.) is an iPad Pro-sized hassle. That’s something unique to the tech world — if I buy a new refrigerator it doesn’t create a domino effect of having to buy new ice cube trays/oven/toaster/etc. But if your digital life (pronounced “life”) is built around one OS, switching comes with expenses far beyond just buying the new devices. Tech companies are very happy to exploit this. And now it appears Apple has become what it always claimed to not be: just another tech company.