At yesterday’s Apple event, the company confirmed rumors that have been circulating for months: the iPhone’s headphone jack is no more. Quite a few people are unhappy about this, so in an interview with Buzzfeed, Apple’s VP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller, VP of hardware engineering Dan Riccio, VP iOS, iPad and iPhone marketing Greg Joswiak, and CEO Tim Cook defended the decision.
The foursome said there were several reasons why Apple ditched the 3.5mm connection, the main ones being the amount of space it takes up, the way it hinders water resistance, and the fact it’s antiquated.
“The audio connector is more than 100 years old,” said Joswiak.“It had its last big innovation about 50 years ago. You know what that was? They made it smaller. It hasn’t been touched since then. It’s a dinosaur. It’s time to move on.”
Riccio, who called the jack a mere “hole filled with air,” said its inclusion had held Apple back when it came to adding new features to previous iPhones.“It was fighting for space with camera technologies and processors and battery life. And frankly, when there’s a better, modern solution available, it’s crazy to keep it around.”
Some have claimed that Apple removed the connector so it could introduce a new DRM platform for audio consumption, which Schiller called “pure, paranoid conspiracy theory.”
At the iPhone event, Apple said it was ditching the jack because of “courage,” a term that seems to have annoyed people even more. Maybe the company should have listened to its co-founder, Steve Wozniak, who last month said that the decision would “tick off a lot of people.”
Intel is another company to have praised the advantages of removing the headphone jack. At its recent Developer Forum in San Francisco, architects Brad Saunders and Rahman Ismail claimed replacing the old connection with USB-C would improve both audio quality and smartphones in general.
Despite the furor over Apple’s move, it’s unlikely to have much negative effect on iPhone 7 sales. “Remember, we’ve been through this many times before,” says Schiller. “We got rid of parallel ports, the serial bus, floppy drives, physical keyboards on phones — do you miss the physical keyboards on your phone? … At some point — some point soon, I think — we’re all going to look back at the furor over the headphone jack and wonder what the big deal was.”