Why has Apple not included the 3.5mm headphone jack in the iPhone 7?

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Yesterday marked the unveiling of the iPhone 7 at Apples special event held in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The new devise features an improved design in five colours, with a new home button and now, water resistance, a new 12mp camera, an improved retina HD display and a new A10 chip with increased speed and longer battery life. Amongst this long list of snazzy features was a new audio system. A major change within this updated audio system was the removal of the age old 3.5mm headphone jack which has featured in technological devices for decades. EarPods now connect with a lightning connection, which is currently used for charging and connecting to your iPhone to a computer. It has been reported that more than 200,000 people signed a petition to prevent Apple from their decision to remove the jack. So why did they do it?

With much controversy surrounding the removal of the 3.5mm jack it was down to Phil Schiller, the vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple inc to defend the decision, which he did by explaining that the idea behind the move was based on courage and vision. He explained that Apple can no longer justify keeping an ancient one use port. The idea behind this was that every technology incorporated into Apple products compete for space and keeping the port is preventing the company from maximising their ability to incorporate new technologies without compromising size. To cushion the blow, Apple have decided to include a lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter to compensate for all the current audio equipment which still uses the traditional 3.5 mm jack.

Another reason behind this decision which Schiller explained was to push a new proprietary wireless standard. In consonance with this claim was the unveiling of AirPods, Apples first wireless earphones. He further explained that the vision behind AirPods is to deliver a wireless experience that works seamlessly with all your devices and fixes those things wireless currently cannot offer. Such features include simultaneously connecting to all your Apple devices so AirPods can instantly switch between them and activating Siri by double tapping the AirPods so you don’t have to take your iPhone out of your pocket.

Critism of thunderbolt earphones and AirPods

The decision to remove the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack and introduce EarPods with lightning connector and AirPods has come at a blow for many users and is already being criticised. Some users complained that although a 3.5mm adaptor is provided, users will have trouble charging their phone whilst listening to music. In relation to the AirPods, some users have voiced concern that the £159 wireless earphones could be easily lost or even worse pose a choking hazard to children and animals.

This is not the first time Apple has received controversy over major design changes. A notable time is when Apple decided to introduce the lighting connector to the iPhone 5. Ultimately it seems the reasons behind the removal of the 3.5mm jack is about moving technology forward. Apple are always pushing the boundaries of innovation because they have such a large share in the market, they have the power to do so. A large argument in Apples favour is that It is likely that at some point in the near future the 3.5mm jack would have been eventually phased out whether Apple were the first movers or not.

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