A rumour that Apple may eliminate the headphone jack in the iPhone 7, coaxing people toward Bluetooth or Lightning interface headphones, has sent many Apple fans and technology buffs into a tizzy.
Apple is famous for forcing people to change how they think about and use their technology. They have a long history of eliminating features and functions. They were the first to eradicate the serial port, then the parallel port, then FireWire, Adobe Flash and CD/DVD drives. Each of these moves were controversial and drew a hefty amount of complaining. And each time consumers bought the new “crippled” devices and adapted to new ways of working with, as it turns out, better technology. Nobody forced them to upgrade on the first release. All other manufacturers eventually followed suit, eliminating the same interfaces and embracing HTML5.
It’s both entertaining and disturbing to see the comments people are making, and saying that Apple is forcing them to buy new smartphones just to spend the money. Petitions are making the rounds.
Apple has proven its instincts are solid. They do the technology and design equivalent of what Gretzky did in hockey — skate to where the puck is going (rather than where it is). Perhaps the future of consumer audio is Bluetooth and data interfaces. And, the other uses of the data ports will work themselves out with other innovations.
Ben Woods from The Next Web says it best in his article Apple’s iPhone 7 won’t have a headphone socket? Don’t sign a moronic petition. I recommend you read the whole thing.