Back to the Jack!

William Peritz, Staff Writer

How many times has humankind reinvented the wheel? And how many times has it worked out? Exactly, never. The headphone jack has been around on Apple devices for as long as anyone can remember, and there have never been any complaints. Why? Because it works. There has never been any reason to change it, and its long survival is proof of that.

The wireless future is upon us, that much is true. But what many fail to realize is that we’ve been living in a wireless world for quite a while. Samsung phones have had wireless charging capabilities since 2015, proving that the technology has been possible since then. Bluetooth, the system which lets wireless headphones work, has been around since 1994! That’s a 22-year-old technology, that Apple is just now “revolutionizing.”

Face it, wireless technology isn’t the future, it’s the present. So why would Apple feel the need to force it upon us? Maybe they believe that wires will cease to exist in 10 years or even sooner, but at least for now, that’s not the case. It rubs people the wrong way when they’re forced to only use wireless headphones when they used to have a choice. No technology has changed, the only thing that has is your choice on whether to use it.

So, why did they do it? Well, according to Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, “Our smartphones are packed with technologies, faster processors…and all of it fights for space.” Ok, more things end up taking more space, and it’s understandable that they would run out of space for things they used to have. The Taptic Engine is taking up some room where the jack used to be, but that isn’t even close to all of it. So what, you might ask, is taking up that precious space? Apple used the space for a barometer. Yup. That’s right. Apple just wants to make sure you always know the current air pressure. In all fairness, the barometer was already in the 6s and 6s plus, so it didn’t outright replace it, but yeah, it basically kicked the headphone jack out of the phone. You, reading this right now, if you have an iPhone 6s or later, have you ever used the barometer feature? So why couldn’t Apple remove the barometer and keep the headphone jack? The backlash for them would’ve been far less than it is now, for sure. And if they needed extra space for a better battery, then they need to step up their game, majorly. In a recent test, the iPhone 7 came in dead last in battery performance between the iPhone 7, Galaxy S7, HTC 10, and the LG G5.

The idea of waterproof phones is amazing, and seems very futuristic and modern. But it’s not. Waterproof phones have been around since 2005, and waterproof smartphones have been around since before 2014. Once again, welcome to the present, Apple. Samsung came out with the Galaxy S5 in April of 2014. It is a fully waterproof smartphone with, wait for it, a headphone jack! Apple did not need to eliminate the jack to make a waterproof phone. Additionally, there is still a lightning port on the iPhone 7, and they made that waterproof- might as well do the same thing to the headphone jack. Why did Apple choose to remove the headphone jack on their newest version of the iPhone? There’s one variable that hasn’t been accounted for: money. Apple most likely removed the headphone jack for money, although they would never admit it. It’s not very surprising, considering that they make more money from accessories than many competitors do from selling phones. When they change a charger, it forces everyone with that device to switch out all their cables with new ones. And now, with the iPhone 7, they have made wired headphones obsolete. You still do have several options, but unfortunately, they’re all bad. Apple AirPods are $160, easy to lose, and you have to charge them every night. Regular Bluetooth headphones are equally pricey and have to be charged often. You can also get headphones that plug directly into the lightning port, but you can’t charge your phone at the same time, and that also interferes with the wireless future Apple has tried to create.

And here, based on all evidence, we discover something very interesting. Apple has unintentionally created more of what it set out to destroy. What it wanted to do was take a step toward eliminating wires from your daily life. But that is not possible. Every single option you have when it comes to listening to audio with your iPhone 7 involves wires. Bluetooth headphones? Gotta charge them with wires. AirPods? Gotta charge them with wires. Using a splitter? Actually ends up being more wires than before.

So what we have here is not what it seems. Apple is forcing us into a wireless lifestyle when in reality our use of wires is just different and even less convenient than before. The removal of the headphone jack is pointless overall and provides very little in the area of convenience. It simply results in a plethora of unforeseen consequences and leaves the buyer scratching their head. But hey, iPhone 7 users, have fun with your new camera.