Today’s news from CNET alerted me to Apple’s reveal of the iPhone 7. There were several bullet points mentioned in the article:
- 7-inch “HD Retina display” is 25 percent brighter than last year’s model. It includes the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch layer that buzzes slightly when you press and hold the screen.
- Customizable, pressure-sensitive, solid state home button that includes “taptic feedback”.
- Yes, Virginia, it will be water-resistant (IP67), like several Samsung and Sony phones (IP68). Cannonballlll!
- No headphone jack — Apple EarPods headphones will now connect through the Lightning connector port and the new AirPods headset connects wirelessly.
I did a double take at that last sentence. No headphone jack? Surely this was some sort of mistake. Apple wouldn’t make this kind of move, would it?
But, of course, as I blinked I noticed that the article in front of me was still present. There were photos, keynote highlights, and interviews present. There was too much evidence to deny.
How am I going to fill my head with the amazing sounds of Beethoven, Bach, and Nobuo Uematsu?
Apple has attempted to portray this as being friendly to consumers, allowing the phone to be thinner. It has also claimed an assortment of engineering benefits.
There are two ways one can plug in their headphones. The first is through the use of AirPods, Apple’s newest brand of wireless earbuds. The second is to use the included adapter that converts a 3.5mm headphone jack to a Lightning jack.
But Apple’s stated motives are questionable. Is there truly a large consumer push for an even thinner iPhone? Does the fact that the iPhone is now water-resistant necessitate the headphone jack’s removal?
It is important to note how this influences consumer behavior. Now, a consumer must decide between charging their phone and playing their music on headphones. That decision is the byproduct of engineering decisions made during the phone’s design.
When it is intentionally more inconvenient to accomplish a specific task, it’s usually intended to be a soft discouraging of that task. Now, a consumer must make a choice between two options that they could previously simultaneously perform.
The only way to have both options is to purchase wireless headphones. While wireless headphones can be as low as $20, Apple’s AirPods cost $159. Clearly, the goal is to make AirPods more attractive.
Now, I like Apple products. I produce this blog from the comfort of my Macbook Pro. I recently traded my iPhone in for an upgrade because the battery was drained.
However, I am glad I didn’t wait until the release of the iPhone 7. When it comes time to upgrade once more, perhaps this decision will be reversed. If not, I will likely bite the bullet and buy a set of wireless headphones. Though in my case, it will definitely be third party.
Still, I won’t go quietly. Even with a company whose products I enjoy, I believe that such a move indicates a lack of respect for consumers.