Remember the first iMac, circa 1998? I had to stand in line to buy one (actually, I bought two). It was heavy, plastic, cute, and about as easy to setup as an iPad. The original iMac was one of the first personal computers to add USB ports and it was missing the floppy disk drive, the main reason sneaker net continued into the 21st century.
Apple’s executives, designers, and engineers– and back then, Steve Jobs– seemed to have a sense about what technology could be dismissed and shelved to the history books, and what technology could replace it. People screamed bloody murder about the missing floppy disk drive, but not so much when Apple got rid of the SuperDrive CD/DVD player recorder just a few years ago.
When I first read that iPhone 7 would be missing the venerable headphone jack I was incensed. Why? I have headphones. Half a dozen headphones. They’re all analog headphones with an analog headphone jack not one of them is wireless. I’m probably in good company and though wireless headphones and earbuds have become more common in recent years, the vast majority of us who listen to music on our iPhones use headphone connection technology that dates back to the 19th century (I looked it up).
I joined in the outrage here and there as I traveled online but also read more than a few reasoned commentaries on the benefits of going wireless vs. staying in the 19th century with a cord that can never quite be tamed. A friend has a pair of wireless Bose headphones and he let me try them out for a day. Hey, not bad. No cord. No mess. The music emanating from my iPhone sounded the same and the worry about a tangled headphone cord or pulling too hard on the connector dissipated within an hour.
That led me to rethink the soon-to-be missing iPhone 7 headphone jack. Yes, I will keep my current headphones because there will be a $29 Lightning-to-headphone adapter. That’s Apple. And if the company is true to form, the adapter will be available about two to three months after the iPhone 7 ships. That’s Apple, too.
Also quite likely is that the missing headphone jack will be missing from only one iPhone 7 model this year; either the iPhone 7 Plus or another premium model I expect to be called iPhone 7 Pro. Regardless, say goodbye to the headphone jack because it’s on its way out, and it makes perfect sense that Apple would be the first to give it a push.
Apple owns Beats which has a full line of headphones, including some rather expensive wireless models. It could be that Apple is doing nothing but pushing Bluetooth wireless onto the headphone toting masses. It could also be that Apple is ushering in a new lower power Bluetooth wireless system with improved battery life and range. Or, Apple has come up with some kind of proprietary wireless technology that only works with Beats headphones (while still leaving the options of a headphone jack adapter, and standard Bluetooth wireless capability for headphones).
Whatever it is that Apple comes up with the change likely will take a few years to get through the entire iPhone line in much the way that Touch ID did. My attitude has changed and that came about the old fashioned way.
I tried a pair of wireless headphones and I liked it.
What I hope is that Apple has figured out a way to make the wireless experience better than Bluetooth headphones to date, which often are plagued with pairing difficulties, connection problems, and battery life issues.