Over the last few decades, Apple has not only become a technological pioneer, but a cultural phenomenon. With more than 800 million iPhones sold worldwide, Apple has reshaped the world of mobile technology, and with that, how we communicate. Despite this, Apple seems to have become the subject of many jokes and instances of ridicule in the tech world; in some cases not without warrant.
Now before I am disregarded as an Apple-basher with a bias towards Android, I want to point out that I have had both Apple and Android products throughout the years. I find flaws and benefits with both Apple and Android devices (e.g., Samsung Galaxy, Motorola X, HTC Desire and so forth), so I do not have an outright hatred of Apple. I do, however, think that some of the business choices made by Apple in recent years have been less than favorable.
Apple recently released the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 plus, which have both been surrounded in controversy even before their release because the phones no longer support the standard auxiliary port.
Auxiliary ports have been a staple of audio technology for over a century. The original 6.5mm auxiliary jack was even used by telephone operators in the early days of the telephone, using the jacks to connect phone lines to one another. Although the 6.5mm jack is still used today in audio technology, the 3.5mm jack has become a commonplace in terms of portable music enjoyment. Devices such as the Walkman, the Discman and even the original iPod all used the 3.5mm auxiliary jack.
Apple claims that it did away with the auxiliary port on the new iPhone as a way of making progress in technology. However, many of those who oppose Apple state that forcing users to switch to wireless headphones/earbuds is just another way the company is trying to get more money out of its customers. Probably both are true.
Although Apple is revered by many as a technological pioneer, and they very well are, one thing that dominates the company’s decisions more than anything else is money. As one of the world’s largest international companies, Apple’s main job is to bring home the bacon for its investors. I can bet that Apple did not just do away with the auxiliary port purely because of some idealistic quest for technological advancement; they did it to gain a foothold in the fledgling market of wireless headphones and earbuds. Owners of the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus will own a pair of “Airpods,” Apple’s new wireless earbud set, which costs $159 for a replacement set. If the user wants to continue using wired headphones, he or she must now buy an adapter (ranging in price) in order to plug the auxiliary jack into the lighting port on the phone.
Apple has a history of killing off old technology in place of new and more practical technologies. For example, the iPod led, almost single-handedly, to the downfall of CDs and the shift towards the digital music of our age. On some level, I can respect Apple’s decision to rid the auxiliary port, and who has not always thought that the idea of wireless headphones is cool? However, as an avid listener of music I just believe that wireless headphones and Bluetooth technology are not as advanced as they need to be to do away with the auxiliary port entirely.
As an owner of both Bluetooth speakers and earbuds, I cannot count the number of times I have had issues with connectivity. When I want to choose a reliable way to listen to music, I choose the auxiliary cord. Yes, the technology may be more than 100 years old, but it just works. Now that is not to say that the auxiliary cord will always reign in the world of audio, but I do believe that within the next five to ten years Bluetooth technology will be at a point where it can replace the aux port entirely.