Skip to main content

Why Apple Will Drop The Headphone Jack, And Why It Shouldn't

As mentioned last week the rumours that Apple's next iteration of the iPhone will drop the headphone jack in favour of audio over the Lightning port are growing stronger.

There are good reasons for doing this, but I don't think they are the ones that Apple has in mind.

The headphone socket is as old as the hills, and despite its ubiquity doesn't do much other than allow the transfer of analog audio in and out of a device. By switching to Lightning for audio Apple could deliver significantly more features - as it does already with the audio accessory protocol that allows car head units to easily traverse playlists and display playing track information.

Yes, it would render the iPhone incompatible with all sorts of legacy headphones but that's hardly been a barrier to new functionality in the past. At this point I'll point you at the original iMac, which dropped both legacy ports and the floppy drive in favour of Apple's vision of the future. Latterly the MacBook Air ditched the previously indispensable optical drive.

However, I don't think that this is Apple's reason for wanting to drop the headphone socket - or at least I don't think it's the primary one.

Apple wants to make the iPhone thinner and the headphone socket is the limiting factor in doing that today. Which is why we've seen more than one patent for new headphone socket designs from the company.

This isn't a good thing. The iPhone is more than thin enough and not a particularly pleasant thing to hold in the hand sans case. Making it thinner is sure to exacerbate this problem. And, as I've mentioned before, a thinner device means less space for battery and the iPhone can ill-afford to give up any more battery runtime.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…

WhartonBrooks Indiegogo Windows 10 Mobile Even More Doomed To Failure Than Usual

WhartonBrooks is currently crowd-funding its latest Windows Mobile smartphone on Indiegogo. If crowdfunding isn't already a bad enough idea, a company trying to crowdfund a Windows Mobile device should be warning enough for you.
Not that anyone seems to be taking the project too seriously. With a few weeks left to run the campaign has managed to ensnare just 2% of its $1.1m target.
If you want a better indication of how few Window Mobile loyalists remain I doubt there is one. Of 3,900 Windows Phone enthusiasts Wharton Brooks was seeking for its new phone, it has managed to entice just 50.
Windows for Phones is dead, even if the corpse hasn't stopped twitching yet.