If history is any indication, Apple’s iPhone 7 unveiling is just about two months away. In other words, we’re just a few weeks away from Apple potentially introducing the most radical design change to its iconic smartphone in history. According to number of credible sources, there’s a good chance that the iPhone 7 will ship without a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. A controversial move to say the least, the headphone jack as we know it today has been in existence for more than 100 years and is universally used across innumerable products in virtually every industry imaginable.
While Apple certainly isn’t a stranger to discarding beloved and popular technologies in favor of superior alternatives — the Bondi Blue iMac’s lack of a floppy drive being a prime example — removing the headphone jack has left many people searching for answers. Without question, if Apple in fact has plans to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7, it will bear the full responsibility of clearly explaining to the masses the exact reasons behind the decision why whatever alternative they have in the works is a step forward and not a step backwards.
Not too long ago, we briefly touched on two headphone jack alternatives Apple might be working on: 1) Bluetooth and 2) Lightning Audio. Unfortunately, both options appear to present a step down in usability.
Bluetooth may be convenient once headphones are paired, but let’s be honest, Bluetooth headphones today still leave a lot to be desired. Furthermore, the notion of having to pair Bluetooth headphones to every piece of electronic equipment you use is far from a workable solution for non-techies.
As for the idea that Apple will ditch the 3.5 jack for audio-out from the Lightning Port, well, that doesn’t really accomplish much of anything given that the Lightning based headphones already exist.
Looking to dive into this issue head-on, Jason Snell of Six Colors recently relayed every conceivable possibility that might explain why removing the 3.5mm headphone jack is a step in the right direction.
Apple wants to make the iPhone waterproof, and the headphone jack gets in the way. It’s possible that the headphone jack makes waterproofing harder, and it’s true that Apple has been making the iPhone increasingly water resistant. But the Samsung Galaxy S7 puts the lie to this argument: it’s got a standard headphone jack and is waterproof.
Apple needs the space inside the phone for something else. This is true, so far as it goes, but Apple’s constantly fighting a battle to make components smaller and add new features to the iPhone. If Apple removes the headphone jack from the iPhone, it might blame that change on some added feature—but the root of that change would be a decision to make the headphone jack expendable. A new camera, a second speaker, more battery, whatever the excuse, Apple has kept the headphone jack up to now despite adding features. Why would this new feature be the one that necessarily eliminates the headphone jack as an option?
Apple’s quest for thinness requires that the headphone jack be sacrificed. That’s funny, the iPod touch is a millimeter thinner than the iPhone 6S and it’s got a headphone jack.
If you notice a pattern here, it’s that every possible benefit Snell can come with doesn’t really pan out. All of the ostensible reasons that might explain Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack simply don’t hold up. Which, again, puts Apple in the position of having to explain the exact reasons why removing the 3.5mm jack is a move we should embrace.
Indeed, the most cogent explanation is that Apple’s rumored edge-to-edge display for the iPhone 7s will require the removal of the headphone jack, thus prompting Apple to get us used to the idea a year ahead of time. But still, if that’s the case, wouldn’t it make more sense for Apple to remove the jack a year from now when there is a new selling point to the iPhone that will overshadow Apple’s jack removal?
Suffice it to say, Apple’s iPhone 7 unveiling this coming September will be one of the more interesting product introductions in years. At the same time, the iPhone 7 may very well be Apple’s riskiest iPhone release yet.
Make sure to hit the source link below for Snell’s full run-down of reasons that might theoretically explain Apple’s disdain for the headphone jack.