We need to stop the hate on Apple for omission of the Headphone Jack
Oh boy…. the iPhone 7, the phone that every non-fanboy loves to hate…..
What do we Androiders have as new bait now?
The fact that the iPhone 7 does not have a 3.5mm jack?
A little housekeeping, before we get to the meat and potatoes : during the launch event, when Apple announced that the new iPhone 7 won’t have a headphone jack, it was just justified by “courage” without any proper explanation for it. The jack was the only port common to the iOS and the Android side of things and computers and cars and music players to DJ consoles etc. This is arguably the most common universal port on electronics.
So why do I think that getting rid of it isn’t that bad a step?
The headphone jack has its limitations. Considering how old a port it is (legacy connector?), it hasn’t aged at all. It still uses the exact same way of transmission of data that was being used decades ago. It is the only Analog connection on devices today. That means the quality of audio via this port had been smothered due to this bottleneck (yeah, there are companies like HTC and LG who have in-built DACs, but again, without compliant OEMs, they are present hypothetically)
Secondly, there are limitations to how much power can be sent through it to the output. Hence some functionality on high-end headphones is accessible only when they are well charged. Or fancy stuff like light glow too. Your old pair of earphones are power efficient for this reason: limitations to output.
The new jargon touted around is Digital audio output. This helps in longer life, more ways to edit, and lossless output. It is encoded in digital form, it’s of high value to content creators who value quality over everything else.
And being a person who has been consuming Digital audio for a while (CDLA on the LeMax 2) I can vouch for the quality to be leaps ahead of anything else. The sound has so much detail, you might just discover a few more instruments in the background that had been totally muffled on my ordinary pair of earphones. I have never been able to distinguish the output between a $10 pair of earpods and $200 cans, but the moment I start using my Digital Earphones (which work via USB type-C, another port fighting for limelight) you realize there was so much more to your regular songs! Also, no more irritating static noises if you leave them connected, or rotating it to change output volume.
Before making comments against the omission, all I ask you to do is try out Digital Audio once, then comment.
I am not going to comment on things like “What if I want to charge my phone while listening to music?” because there’s no solution to that (Sorry, having 2 Lightning/USB ports is not an acceptable answer), maybe we will see some innovation in this field a few generations from now. Hopefully.
Was it the best solution to go the Apple route? Probably not, considering they are forcing it down our ears. And the hardware needs to be there too. But then it becomes the case of the egg and the chicken. Do phone companies wait for manufacturers to make digital audio monitors? Or, do accessory makers wait for phone makers to push Digital Audio?
One of them had to make the leap…..
And it is a logical step forward. This pushes innovation, something that Apple had been losing out on since a few generations. This makes people adapt and accept newer technology. It musters healthy competition at the Android Camp (the reason why I applaud phones like the Moto Z, or the LeMax 2) and competition is always good for the consumer. And this will also boost the adoption of USB type-C accessories, which is also trying to become the next standard. Someone HAD to take this step. I am not the biggest Apple fan, but being a Tech enthusiast, anything that steers us towards the future, will always be respected by me. I am glad that Apple being the biggie pulled the plug and took the first step.
Well, those are my views. Try out Digital Audio once, and then let’s debate.
All of these are the opinions of the writer (@jhaverinator). We at EOTO believe it is our duty to inform people on the little things that might have been overlooked, but actually matter quite a lot.