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    Why We Are Excited About iPhone 7 Without the Headphone Jack

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    Amit Srivatsa
    Amit Srivatsa Jan 17, 2016

    We recently discussed the possible features that we are likely to see in iPhone 7. The post mentioned that Apple might be ditching the good old 3.5 mm headphone jack to make the iPhone thinner. It was one of those ‘maybes’ in the list and didn’t raise many eyebrows.

    However, as more and more publications and industry insiders gave a nod to the rumour, people started believing in the possibility, and most of them weren’t happy. Our initial reaction was similar, but when we dove deeper to understand the possible reasons behind this move, the mood changed from apprehension to anticipation.

    Still Not Confirmed

    When we wrote that article, there hasn’t been any official confirmation from Apple about removing the headphone jack from the next iPhones. Yet, we can report with a high amount of probability that the rumour is true. 

    If you’re the kind who doesn’t believe anything until Tim Cook announces it on stage, you’re welcome to skip this article. And, if you see the inevitable but are hoping against hope that 3.5 mm jack doesn’t come under the axe, you won’t enjoy what follows.

    However, if you are open to technology shifts and would like to understand why Apple is making this drastic move … then, by all means, read on.

    We Feel Your Pain

    Before we explain why we support Apple’s move, we’d just like to say that we totally understand and share your fears. Most of our headphones, including those ultra-bass, top-notch ones that cost a fortune, won’t work without the 3.5 mm jack. That’s a bummer!

    There’s also the ‘Apple is a snob, wants everything proprietary’ complaints doing the rounds. Again, we understand, but this time, Apple has a good reason for the move it’s making.

    So why is Apple getting rid of the headphone jack? For these reasons:

    HD Music

    Japanese site Macotakara reported that Apple is likely to add HD music streaming to Apple Music. There are similar speculations that the music quality in iTunes is likely to get an upgrade. To complete this high-quality music experience, Apple will need to replace old school 3.5 mm jack with a digital port (which in this case will be the Lightning port) that supports HD music.

    Earphones / Headphones

    When Apple bought Beats Audio for 3.2 billion dollars, a lot of eyebrows were raised. It was Apple’s most expensive purchase ever and we all wondered if there was a long-term plan behind the takeover.

    It looks like we are finally getting the answer. Beats, known for its high-quality earphones and headphones, will provide the technology behind Lightning port powered HD earphones (which will come bundled with the new iPhones). It’s expected that Apple will also offer wireless Bluetooth headphones as an optional purchase.

    Of course, apart from its own products, Apple will be licencing its technology to other earphones / headphones manufacturers. All in all, there will be no dearth of options after the shift.

    Better Design 

    Apple’s design team has been obsessed with making the iPhones slimmer with every upgrade. If they wish to make the iPhone thinner than it’s current 7.1 mm depth, then they have no choice but to sacrifice the 3.5 mm port.

    Getting rid of the audio jack would also mean Apple can stretch the screen further down the device, with some pundits suggesting it could extend right to the phone’s base.

    Because Apple Can!

    We need to remember that the tech industry is a fast changing world. Its progression is so rapid that most companies are left playing catch-up. Very few companies — like Apple, Google, Tesla, etc. — have the privilege and means to start a technology trend. And Apple is famous for taking the lead, irrespective of the initial havoc it causes.

    Apple was the first to do away with the floppy disk, then the USB port, now they are readying to retire the headphone jack too. If they don’t, someone else will. That’s the nature of the game.

    Stop overreacting, people!

    While a certain amount of disdain is warranted, some people are getting way too emotional over this change. There’s an ongoing petition that claims the change will ‘screw consumers and the planet’. Over 250,000 people have already signed it!

    The petitioners obviously hope to change Apple’s plan of action. A plan, which we may point out, hasn’t even been confirmed yet! But, there’s no listening to reason, is there?

    We have four things to say to this overzealous group:

    – First, if Apple has made up its mind to forgo the audio jack, then campaigning against it is futile.

    – Second, at the very least, try and understand the rationale behind the move before you go ahead and ridicule / ban it.

    – Thirdly, the headphone jack is the most outdated port on a smartphone. It’s a technology that hasn’t changed much in about 125 years! Don’t you think it’s about time it goes?

    – Finally, relax guys! Removing a port from the phone is not going to ‘screw the planet’ in any way.

    Final Thoughts

    So yes, we understand that it’s going to be hard. Maybe for a couple of months, or maybe an entire year. Remember what happened when Apple shifted to the lightning port? All of us complained a lot in the beginning, then we settled down, and now are happy.

    Likewise, it will take time for the industry to adjust to the new specifications. These earphones will be slightly expensive, too; but that’s the price we will have to pay for innovation.

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