11.23.2016

Apple Chose the Wrong Port to Keep on the iPhone 7

Lightning connector less versatile than headphone jack


When the iPhone 7 was announced back in September, Apple revealed its most polarizing design choice since the iMac shipped without a floppy drive: the new iPhone doesn’t have a headphone jack. Cupertino decided to keep the iPhone as unnecessarily slim as its predecessors, adding a larger battery and vibration motor branded the “Taptic Engine” by omitting one of the most ubiquitous and widely adopted connectors, the 3.5mm headphone jack. 

Apple had numerous other paths it could have gone down; there was nothing inevitable or courageous about the tech giant’s crippling of its flagship product. Firstly, they could have made the phone a millimeter or two thicker so as to keep the much-beloved audio port. Alternatively, Apple’s other choices included shrinking the battery and leaving out the vibration motor.


There was another conclusion Cupertino could have come to, a decision they have made before: have the headphone jack serve double duty as the charging port. This was the route chosen with the iPod Shuffle, a product Apple still sells. Being that “the world's smallest MP3 player” has used this method for recharging its battery since 2006, the decade-old ecosystem of cables and docking stations would have been much less user hostile than Apple’s boldfaced push of its now indefinitely delayed wireless earbuds. 

Apple was at a crossroads when developing the current iPhone: do what’s best their customers or do what’s best for their bottom line. Apple’s failure to do right by its customer base and alienate the billions of wired headphone users goes to show where Apple’s priorities lie.

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