Muleteers are… Apple adopted one of the most controversial industry measures in the telephone market by unilaterally deciding to eliminate the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. It calculates the caliber of this decision: leaving thousands of users with totally orphaned headset jacks and no alternatives other than using an adapter to get out of the way. However, Apple had strong reasons to take this difficult step.
The 3.5mm headphone jack was virtually unchanged since its birth and there was really no undisputed cause to justify its current design beyond the weight of habit and the fear of changing a standard by the industry. But if there is one manufacturer who is not afraid of change, it is Cupertino.
Where I said ‘I say’…
Tim Cook’s people justified the elimination of the jack on the iPhone 7 with solid arguments: this obsolete connector takes up valuable space without a clear justification and, as Phil Schiller pointed out, it took the value to leave behind something that was already obsolete. The Lightning connector was also born with the spirit of feeding the team but also of transmitting the audio. There were no surprises on paper: Apple had warned.
But in reality the heaviest excuse given by the apple to get loaded into the jack was to give way to the coveted AirPods , or what is the same, to wireless headphones in a market where cables are increasingly unpleasant. It didn’t take long for the rivals to bite, assuming that Apple had made a mistake, a tremendously risky assumption when it’s Tim Cook’s people who dare to introduce something new.
The big question is whether the industry is moving towards a definitive change in connection with headphones
So the Koreans didn’t waste any time and at the very presentation of the dismal Galaxy Note 7, they took the opportunity to ridicule the absence of the jack on the iPhone 7. The truth is that the joke was easy if two assumptions were made: the first was that Samsung would win with its contemporary rival, the Note 7, which as you know, did not happen; and of course, if they themselves were sure of not eliminating the jack in the future .
A change in the industry?
The latter seemed safer than the former until a rumour earlier this month sparked a perfect storm in the Asian manufacturer’s speech: the Galaxy S8 might not have a headphone jack as well . Beyond the jokes we may have about the irony of the matter and in such a short period of time, the big question that arises – if this rumour is confirmed as true – is whether the industry is heading towards a definitive change of connection with headphones.
And we use the word “connection” because in reality and despite the fact that Apple eliminates the jack by using the Lightning, the bet goes much further: it is about eliminating the cables in the use of the headphones. Is the headphone jack sentenced to death? The first answer is no, there will always be mobiles that use it, but if Samsung confirms on its next flagship that it will not use it, I’m sure that the rest of the manufacturers will gradually take this decision.
Cables fuera: pros y contras de los auriculares inalámbricos en el iPhone 7