If you take Apple’s word for it, removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 was a pure expression of its desire for technological progress. “Some people have asked why we would remove the analog headphone jack from the iPhone,” Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief, said yesterday. “It really comes down to one word: courage. The courage to move on to do something new that betters all of us.”
Already Apple’s defenders have been echoing that sentiment. The headphone jack is century-old technology — why not get rid of it the same way Apple killed the CD drive and Ethernet port on laptops? After all, this is just another connector that can be replaced by something wireless.
But there were clear and tangible benefits to those changes (namely, much thinner and lighter laptops), whereas this change comes littered with downsides. Most headphones in existence are incompatible. You can’t charge the phone and listen to wired headphones at the same time. And if you do want to use old headphones, you need to keep a small adapter handy. And that’s just to name a few of the many drawbacks.