Apple's iPhone 7 Is Pushing Us Into the Future of Wireless Headphones (Whether We Like It or Not)

Wednesday, 07 September 2016 - 5:11PM
Gadgets
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 - 5:11PM
Apple's iPhone 7 Is Pushing Us Into the Future of Wireless Headphones (Whether We Like It or Not)
Apple finally unveiled their iPhone 7 today, and it has several futuristic features that are nearly unobjectionable. (Who, for instance, wouldn't want a more water-resistant phone, so you can drop it in a puddle and/or the toilet as much as you want?) But the most talked-about feature is actually a removal of a feature—specifically the headphone jack.

That's right, Apple's iPhone 7 no longer has a place for you to plug in your headphones. That's how much they want you to buy the wireless Airpods, which will be available in late October. These Airpods will reportedly be completely wireless headphones that can sense when they're in your ears, automatically connect to your iPhone, and turn off when you take them out.

And let's be clear: as someone whose headphones are constantly tangled to a ridiculous degree, this is actually pretty cool. But the idea that they would take away the option for normal headphones is a little inexplicable, especially since that's the most notable change from the six to the seven. As Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times said of the unveiling event:

Opening quote
The iPhone has the same design as last year's (and the one the year before) and the major new thing is … a missing headphone jack. So what I was watching for was Apple's reality distortion field: How will Apple's C.E.O., Tim Cook, and friends convince us that taking away a feature is really an advance for the iPhone?
Closing quote

The answer: it's not. The wireless headphones themselves are arguably an upgrade, but taking away the headphone jack is a naked attempt to get you to buy the Airpods, not to mention a tacit admission that they think their customers will deal with pointless inconveniences to stick with the iPhone at all costs. And yes, there's an adapter that comes with the new iPhone, but for a company that traffics in convenience, they know you're going to lose it in approximately two days.

This is nothing new; it's the same reason why headphones made by anyone other than Apple often glitch, and why they're constantly updating to the point that you need to get a new phone just so you can sync your music. Wireless headphones sound pretty awesome on their face, but it would be nice if the greatest technological minds in the country were devoting their time and energy to actual advancement, rather than blatant capitalist tricks.

And the fact that they had the nerve to call their decision to get rid of the headphone jack "courageous" is just icing on the cake:

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