June 26, 2016
In its latest war against any type of peripherals that don't directly line the pockets of APPL, Apple Computer is rumoured to be removing the headphone jack from the upcoming iPhone 7 model. This rumour briefly appeared and just when we thought it went away, the rumour is back in full force. There is even a petition to save the headphone jack with over 300 000 signatures, and I have to say that I understand how anyone who signs this petition feels.
Sony Ericsson's original Walkman branded phones did not have a headphone jack either, which was very unpopular at the time. I had two of those phones which provided the best music experience you could get on a converged device at the time. I had the W800i followed by the W705i, and neither of these had a headphone jack, instead having the Fast-Port connector which could be adapted to 3.5 mm. Fortunately for Sony Ericsson they included decent noise isolation earphones in the box. Some models even had mini-disc player style remotes on the 3.5 mm adapter.
At the time smartphone manufacturers were including 2.5 mm headset ports which was not very popular either. The 2 GB followed by 32 GB limit provided enough storage to get the convergence train rolling. I had a 16 GB M2 card in my W705i which provided more music storage than a base model 16 GB iPhone SE (after OS and app space). But after the industry seeing the amount of negative feedback Sony continued to get about Fast-Port, the inability to charge and listen to music, limited selection of earphones, the industry reacted and almost overnight every phone had a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Some early smart phones even used the mini USB port as a headphone jack, again not very popular.
Right now I don't intend to buy another iPhone, and while some commentators are stating that Apple will make the painful transition that we will all come to love. All I have to say is that replacing the headphone jack with the proprietary lightning port will not be remembered as a loved move, ever. Bluetooth and USB were different, these are industry standards and the whole industry moved in step. While apple intend to stay with lightning, the industry is moving to USB type-C. Fragmentation is not good for the industry, and the inability to share earphones with a laptop and a phone will be too inconvenient for many. I recommend to everyone that their next phone have USB type-C and a headphone jack, and to ditch any future headphone jack free iPhone.