No, Apple, killing your headphone jack is not ‘courage’
Rudder-less Apple Has No More Glory Left As It’s Hype-Machine Finds That Public Just Won’t Take Any More Of It’s Hubris-ridden BS
I’ve been at or watched every Apple keynote and product launch event since 1998. I was there when they killed the CD drive in the Macbook Air and the 30-pin connector in the iPhone 5. I’ve witnessed the demise of every Macbook charger.
And I’ve never heard anything as ridiculous emanate from that stage as I did Wednesday, when marketing chief Phil Schiller explained why the iPhone 7 would not have a standard 3.5mm aux cable input, better known as the headphone jack.
“It comes down to one word,” Schiller said. “Courage. The courage to move on and do something better for all of us.”
Schiller was thoroughly mocked for those words on Twitter, and rightly so. Courage is marching across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma in 1965. Courage is facing down a tank in Tiananmen Square or a machine gun nest on the beaches of Normandy. Courage, by definition, involves doing something that makes you afraid.
And what has Apple done? It has eradicated the most successful, most widespread and best-sounding audio standard in the world in favor of its own proprietary system.
A number of words come to mind to describe this. “Hubris” is one; “arrogance” is another. Given the amount of $9 aux-to-Lightning cable dongles Apple is likely to sell, you could use “greed.” Personally, I’d opt for “stupidity.”
This is in no way the equivalent of losing the CD drive or the 30-pin connector. There is no technological excuse for this. Music does not sound better over a Lightning cable. Nor does it sound better over Bluetooth, or the proprietary wireless technology Apple is using in its AirPods. There’s simply more audio information traveling over a wire than can travel over the air.
Say it with me now: wired almost always sounds better than wireless.
For years, I tried to convince myself otherwise. I’ve bought so many sets of Bluetooth headphones that my wife still laughs about it. My favorites were the 66Audio BTS Sport cans, which I went running with. I ignored the occasional skip in the audio and focused on finally being free of all wires! I even managed to convince myself I didn’t look like Lobot from Empire Strikes Back.
Then I bought the exquisite Bose QuietComfort 20 in-ear noise-canceling headphones, and I’ve never looked back. Do yourself a favor and check them out, even if you don’t normally like in-ear phones (I generally hate the genre).
Turns out it’s not so much of a hardship to run with a wire attached to your iPhone when the sound is this crystal clear.
Even if the AirPods didn’t look like a dumb set of white plastic earrings, how confident are you that you won’t lose them?
The second most nonsensical thing Schiller said Wednesday? “It doesn’t make sense to keep the jack, because space [inside the iPhone] is at a premium … we want stereo speakers, we want Taptic engines.”
Oh really? I challenge you to find me a regular iPhone user who even knows what a Taptic engine is. If this is really about what “we” want, why not run a poll: Do you want your iPhone’s home button to vibrate sometimes, or do you want to be able to plug in pretty much any set of headphones ever made in the entire world?
Not to mention all the other devices that plug into the phone’s headphone jack. So long to Square’s credit card dongle. See you later, temperature sensors, light meters, thermal imaging cameras and personal breathalyzers. Refurbish yourself with a proprietary Lightning connector and pay Apple for the privilege, or GTFO!
Talk about one step forward, two steps back. Here we are in 2016, and if you want the latest and greatest iPhone, you can’t own the best-sounding headphones — unless you also use an expensive, unwieldy and easy-to-lose dongle.
Want to charge your phone? Sorry, you can’t listen to it privately at the same time. Unless you’re using inferior wireless phones, that is.
“[Airpods] instantly turn on and connect to your iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad or Mac.”
 Requires an iCloud account
— Dan Hon is ⌨️ ing (@hondanhon) September 7, 2016
The old Apple mantra, “it just works,” is officially dead this week. Having any set of cans whatsoever “just work” with any iPhone used to be a given — no matter if you got them 10 years ago, 20 years ago or in the box with an Android phone.
Now Apple has retreated into its walled garden, and it has built the wall higher. It is a wall beyond the dreams of Trump. And guess who’s paying for that wall? You.
That’s not courage, but it may provoke a large amount of pure rage.