Apple Removes the Headphone Jack, Cue the Outrage

Here we go again.

Nilay Patel, “Taking the headphone jack off phones is user-hostile and stupid”:

Ditching a deeply established standard will disproportionately impact accessibility

The traditional headphone jack is a standard for a reason — it works. It works so well that an entire ecosystem of other kinds of devices has built up around it, and millions of people have access to compatible devices at every conceivable price point. The headphone jack might be less good on some metrics than Lightning or USB-C audio, but it is spectacularly better than anything else in the world at being accessible, enabling, open, and democratizing. A change that will cost every iPhone user at least $29 extra for a dongle (or more for new headphones) is not a change designed to benefit everyone. And you don’t need to get rid of the headphone jack to make a phone waterproof; plenty of waterproof phones have shipped with headphone jacks already.

The article is clickbait, but I’ll bite.

The whole argument against removing the headphone jack is shortsighted.

If you’re unaware, the headphone jack has been around since the 19th century, where it was used in the original telephone fucking switchboards. You got that? Telephone switchboards. We have iPhones now.

Oh, you’re cool having a vestige of the 19th century stuck inside your phone like your appendix? Well, perhaps a smartphone isn’t for you.

Apple has a long history of removing technological components they deem, “on their way out.” Of course, the best way to predict the future is to invent it, so by proactively removing features from products, Apple helped phase them out.

They were the first to remove:

  • the floppy drive from the original iMacs in 1998
  • the serial port (for VGA displays) from the original iMac ( 1998)
  • the CD-ROM drive on the MacBook Air (2008), and the MacBook Pro in 2012
  • the CD-ROM drive on iMac in in 2012
  • the 30-pin USB connector on iPhones and iPads in 2012

A lot of people will be butt hurt about this headphone jack removal, but trust me, we’re all going to be ok.

Final thought: If the Lightning port on iPhones and iPads is going to be used for headphones, I wonder if this means these devices will charge wirelessly through induction?