THE BLOG

Ditching the Headphone Jack on the iPhone 7 Is a Brilliant Idea, And Here's Why

15/01/2016 16:57 GMT | Updated 15/01/2017 10:12 GMT

Apple has for the first time been the centre of a massive rumour that doesn't revolve around it adding something but actually taking something away.

The iPhone 7 will reportedly launch missing what many are suddenly deciding is a vital ingredient to a modern smartphone - the 3.5mm headphone jack.

iphone headphone

It has become such a contentious issue that a petition has been started and has already gained over 200,000 signatures.

It should be pointed out at this juncture that Apple has, and never does, comment on future products and so it's a petition based entirely on rumour and speculation.

Still, that's 200,000 people who are angry enough at even the thought of it that they've signed a document to prevent a product that lets face it, is already in production.

So to try and help calm those fears over what could well be the inevitable, here are some extremely good reasons why Apple is right in ditching the headphone jack.

1. Of course it's so they can make more money.

Apple is of course in the business of making money, that's just life. It's why their adapters cost a small fortune.

That doesn't mean that every decision that make is solely based on making more money. Sometimes it can come hand-in-hand with the decision to make a product better, because who would want to buy something that isn't any better than the old one.

2. The headphone jack is REALLY old.

I know there's the saying 'If it ain't broke', but in this case it's time we let it go. The 3.5mm headphone jack is based on a 100-year old design, that means that everything that's subsequently made for it, or plugged into it, has to adhere to that most basic of technologies.

Plenty of technologies have been considered 'universal' but have in the end been ruthlessly ditched. CDs, DVDs, even vinyl was around for a long time before it was thrown overboard in place of something better.

3. Bluetooth is BETTER.

Let's tackle the Bluetooth argument. Some are saying that Apple will now supply a pair of premium Bluetooth headphones either with the iPhone 7 or as an additional accessory. That's fine by me. Bluetooth has for some time been able to offer comparable sound quality to wired headphones.

It also solves the logistical inconvenience of having a massive cable swinging around waiting at any minute to snag on something and strangle you. Battery life is nowhere near as serious a problem as it used to be.

Finally there's the cost. At present, Bluetooth headphones do cost a little bit more, but then at the moment the only people that are buying them are people who are willing to pay for the extra convenience that comes with owning wireless headphones.

What this should do is simply drive down the cost of wireless headphones (which have been steadily coming down anyway).

4. Headphones will be able to do MORE.

At present, if you want a really powerful set of headphones or a really smart pair of headphones then you're going to have to buy some wireless ones.

Why? Because they're powered, 3.5mm can't act as a power source in the way that Lightning, USB or Bluetooth can.

Just look at the Parrot Zik headphones. Wireless with a removable battery, these headphones have noise-cancelling built-in and an app remote which offers mind-boggling levels of sound customisation on your iPhone or Android phone.

Oh and you have the added advantage of knowing that if Parrot find a way to make them even better, they'll automatically update themselves over the air.

5. Headphones will SOUND better.

No really. By forcing all headphones that work with the iPhone to either need a power source or have its own you're instantly insisting on a certain standard of sound quality.

Philips already make a pair of headphones which utilise the iPhone's Lightning connector to power a DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) resulting in better sounding music.

While not everyone is convinced about the High-Resolution music argument, the simple fact is that powered speakers and powered headphones can and do sound better.

6. It makes waterproofing REALLY easy.

Okay, so Sony have already shown that they can waterproof a phone without needing to ditch it, but honestly it's still a massive pain in the ass.

With the 3.5mm headphone jack you've lost one of the largest entry points on a smartphone into which water or moisture can go. That just leaves the Lightning port and the speaker, both of which are considerably smaller.

7. This whole argument is pointless.

Apple isn't stupid, or at least we hope it's not. It knows that if it's going to convince people to ditch their old headphones they're going to need to do it slowly.

If the iPhone 7 does drop the headphone jack it'll almost certainly come with either a pair of wireless headphones OR an adapter which will let you listen using your 3.5mm headphones.

I completely understand why people are annoyed, but the problem is I can now see so many reasons why they should scrap the headphone jack that honestly the argument about making money seems almost secondary.

Apple won't have been the first to do it. Chinese smartphone maker Oppo actually scrapped the headphone jack in their last phone and while those that reviewed it found it odd, it certainly wasn't a deal breaker.