Much digital ink has been spilled over Apple’s seeming intent to remove the relic analog headphone jack from future iPhones and move audio I/O into the digital age by using the Lightning connector instead.
Nilay Patel was so incensed at the very idea that Apple would do such an onerous act without asking his permission first that he called it user-hostile and stupid. He’s right. Kinda sorta. That’s the nature of change and technology does not advance without change so Apple’s removal of the headphone jack in future iPhones cannot be considered use-hostile and stupid for one very basic reason.
If you’re married to the analog headphone jack and don’t want to move to another iPhone that has something different you still have one thing in your favor. Choice. Stay with the old headphone jack and your old headphones for the three or four years it takes for digital choices to wipe away all remnants of the old analog headphone jack on every computer, and then make the switch. Or not. You have the choice.
We’re so out of ideas that actively making them shittier and more user-hostile is the only innovation left.
Apple’s executives, engineers, and designers are not stupid and they don’t make stupid mistakes. Maybe they do something with a product you don’t like, but they’re not stupid people and they don’t make stupid people mistakes. They make choices. For Apple, some of those choices drive the technology industry forward.
Remember SCSI, ADB, Serial ports, Parallel ports, and the big, thick, unwieldy cables we once used to accomplish peripheral connections? Apple destroyed those by ushering in USB on the original iMac. Remember the floppy disk drive? Apple made it popular with the Mac, and then killed it with the iMac.
But just face facts: ditching the headphone jack on phones makes them worse, in extremely obvious ways. Let’s count them!
I did. There were six. Some of them were the lamest arguments a noted tech writer could make about an even that hasn’t happened yet, and with absolutely zero knowledge on what the benefit might be when the headphone jack is gone.
No one is asking for this.
No one asked for the automobile, electricity, telephones, the mouse, or the iPhone, either, but here we are.
To call Apple’s efforts to advance the state of the art user-hostile and stupid is shortsighted analysis. Regardless of what Apple does when bringing new technology to the customer base– now at over 1-billion, so the company is doing something right by doing what it has always done– customers still have a choice.
No, it’s not a choice of whether to have a color or black and white display. It’s not a choice about case color, or RAM, or storage, or CPU. Apple made those choices. Your choice is to accept it and buy it, or move on to buy something else that has exactly what you think a smartphone should have. Good luck with that. Grumbling and moaning and groaning about change is what humans do all to much of the time, especially when it comes to modern technology, but such bitching is an exercise in futility, as is Patel’s missive on the missing headphone jack from iPhone 7. Either he’s on board now, or he’s on board in a few years, or he goes off the grid.
Unless of course Patel’s complaints were just there to gin up a worthless controversy so advertisers would get a few more page views. In that case, he made the right choice.