Tech Insider columnist and apple fanboy Alex Heath advocates for Apple’s reported nixing of a headphone jack on it’s upcoming iPhone 7. Says Heath:
The audio jack in the iPhone is based on technology intended for telephone switchboards in the 19th century. It’s an ancient port, and while it’s a common standard now, its days are numbered.
Well, yeah. We’ve been using audio through analog wires for over a hundred years. Know what? We’ve pretty-much got it perfected. Is it the best audio available? Not anymore, but it’s cheap and ubiquitous. Don’t count out cheap and ubiquitous.
Then Mr. Heath hints at why Apple might consider this move:
The main downside of Lightning-equipped headphones right now is price. Apple recently started selling a $800 pair of Lightning headphones from Audeze in its store, which only the most serious audiophile would even consider buying. Only a few companies have committed to Lightning so far, and their headphones generally run for at least $200.
Eight hundred bucks for a pair of headphones and $200 for the cheapies. Meanwhile, standard phono-jack phones are so cheap that they’re practically given away.
Oh, and there’s also this:
Lightning is also a proprietary connector that Apple owns…
Do you see where this is going? “Cheap and ubiquitous” is the last thing Apple wants. Apple can’t claim to be saving space by its switch from a phono plug to Lightning. What it really wants is to get the millions of Apple-loving drones out there used to shelling out $100+ for Apple-proprietary accessories that could otherwise be had for mere dollars through the wonders of mass-market standardization.
I once railed against Microsoft’s “embrace and extend” way of sabotaging standards. Apple has taken a play from the Redmond playbook. Apple’s refusal to play nice with the rest of the world rubs this advocate of open source and open standards the wrong way.
Remember the collective outrage when Apple removed the optical CD drive in the Mac? Or how about when Apple chose to not let the iPhone’s browser support Adobe Flash, the horrible and insecure web standard that was nearly ubiquitous at the time and basically extinct now?
They were all big changes that may have caused inconvenience and raised eyebrows at the time. But looking back, they seem like obvious steps forward.