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Bringing back the iPhone headphone jack, in China (strangeparts.com)
362 points by userbinator on Sept 7, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 359 comments



> I went through a ton of iterations and debugging to get this to work. The hardest parts were the electrical design and getting everything to fit inside the phone.

Crikey! How many iphones did he drill holes in?

> I also ended up having to buy lots, and lots, and lots of spare parts. I went through 3 complete iPhone 7s, a handful of screens, and countless internal components (mostly bottom cable assemblies and taptic engines).

3. Ok, that's dedication.

> I feel like I got extremely lucky about finding space inside the phone. There was inexplicably a lot of extra room in the lower left hand corner, right where I wanted to put the headphone jack.

Suspicious... almost like their engineers left room to change their minds about the jack at the last second if they wanted to :)


Someone pointed out on Reddit last night - that it seemed obvious to him that Apple likely removed the headphone in the iPhone 7 to get the controversy out of the way ahead of the iPhone 8, which wouldn't have any room in it for a headphone jack - and for which said controversy would be a distraction against launching a new flagship device.


It also could be that quite a few of their designers managed to stay below their volume budgets, and they didn't want to risk a redesign, given their (presumably) strict deadlines.

Alternatively, the space was set apart as a hedge against the AirPods not being ready at he time of the launch of the iPhone 7 (yes, they were late, but not _that_ late. Presumably (again) they knew they could make them when they made the decision to remove the headphone from the iPhone 7)


There are plenty of Bluetooth headphones beyond AirPods. I'm sure they aren't even the most popular ones used with iPhones.


Yes, there are, and no, they may not be (1)

However, chances are they are the Bluetooth headphones Apple makes the most money on, and that early adopters of the new iPhone are the most likely to buy them.

Inducing (extra) demand for Bluetooth headphones and then leaving the market for such headphones to others in a period where your most 'able and willing to spend' customers enter your shop isn't the best of ideas.

(1) (nitpicking) it wouldn't completely surprise me if they were, though, because Apple has exactly one product, whereas its competition tends to create zillions of 'different' products.


I've seen plenty of iPhone 7s, and very few air pods. They don't even seem like a good idea.

I personally got conductive wireless headphones and really like them. Not Apple, of course.


I find AirPods to be one of the most amazing devices I've owned. Using them is a pure joy. No joke. From the feeling of the case opening and closing, to the sound of them dropping into the case, to the instant pairing when you put them in your ear.


Nice to know. I've still not seen many in the wild, while I've seen plenty of misc brand wireless headphones.

Conductive is the future I think, I'm never sticking anything in my ear again.


the hedging might have something to do with the W1 chip[0] improvements in the AirPods that provided for fast and consistent bluetooth pairing that Apple cared about more so than relying upon 3rd party bluetooth experience in a headphone connector-less flagship phone.

[0] https://9to5mac.com/2016/09/12/apple-w1-chip-how-it-works/


What makes you so sure?


I don't understand this. Why would the controversy be any less when releasing the iPhone 7 without a headphone jack vs the iPhone 8? Aren't they both new flagship models?


The author of the original Reddit comment[0] meant that Apple wanted to bear the brunt of the controversy early on so that the missing headphone jack would already be "normal" and not the center of attention when the iPhone 8 releases.

[0] https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/6yhbuu/guy_adds_func...


The iPhone 7 is a small iteration over the iPhone 6S where as the iPhone 8 is a new design. I think they expect the iPhone 8 to be a much more important/larger release and that is probably true.


The new iPhone is set to be released this year which makes it the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone. It's also (supposedly) a much larger redesign than previous models. I think it makes sense for them to rip the band-aid off early. Especially considering that most reviews for the AirPods have been overwhelmingly positive, it's good to get the negative press out of the way early. Smart move on their part, I think.


Because the iPhone 7 was released a year ago, and people are generally over it now. I say people, not enthusiasts. Now, the feature can be released in the iPhone 8 and it's not a big deal.


But that doesn't explain why it would be preferable to remove the headphone jack in 2016 and have people be used to it by 2017, rather than the same but a year later.

Whether there is technically room for a headphone jack means nothing to a consumer who would like to have one on their iPhone. As far as I can see there is no difference from the consumer's point of view which year the change happens in.


There is. The iPhone 7 is the no headphone jack phone.

The iPhone 8 will be the 100% screen phone. It also won't have a headphone jack.

Big difference for how people think about that and how it gets talked about.


It's because the key takeaway with a newly 3.5mm jack-less iPhone 8 will be 1. no headphone jack and 2. 100% screen.

Because they did this before on the iPhone 7, Apple execs are hoping that the key consumer takeaway for iPhone 8 will be 100% screen


> But that doesn't explain why it would be preferable to remove the headphone jack in 2016 and have people be used to it by 2017, rather than the same but a year later.

Perception. People focus on something more when it changes, and there's only so much focus to go around. Remove the headphone jack a year earlier, and it's not a "change" that it's still missing from the next model. So focus/attention can be more concentrated on new features that Apple brings to the newer "10th anniversary" iPhone.

"Yeah, but it still doesn't have a headphone jack" is a rational reaction, but not the one that most people will have. It's irrelevant background noise, compared to the shouts of "Look at all the new shiny!", which is the reaction that Apple's going for.


Maybe they envisioned iPhone 8 to be a bigger game changer than the iPhone7 was.


w.r.t. empty space: I once met an RF engineer that specialized in cell antennas. He said the first 1/4 of the project was doing complex RF simulations of many design iterations. The last 3/4 of the project schedule was spent defending the empty space around the antenna that enabled it to work. Said in jest, but I suspect it contained a lot of truth.


You should check his video on this, the guy also casually bought a dremmel, a printer and a fucking microscope (stereoscope?) in the process of making this....


But these are Shenzhen prices, not western retail prices.

I'm pretty sure that "Dremel" didn't cost him much over $10.


Scotty, the guy in the video here. Sorry I'm late to the party. It was 165 rmb, so about $25.


Same price as one at Harbor Freight in the US. https://www.harborfreight.com/80-piece-rotary-tool-kit-97626...


On reddit he mentions shooting 225 hours of footage:

https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/6ygqxk/guy_who_made...


And? Do you not spend money on hobbies / side projects?


What does your question have to do with the fact the Op just said?


Electronics projects require equipment like that. Those are available in makerspaces near most people in America anyway.


What is weird/interesting about buying a dremel or printer? They are pretty normal, casual purchases


> empty space exactly where the jack was

What was the party line for removing it again?


Courage.


Water proofing.


There are phones that claim to be waterproof and still have headphone jacks.


Yes but that doesn't change the main reasoning behind Apples decision as it was publicly conveyed; water ingress.


> ingress

/pedant


Corrected, i was initially going to write that they've added some valve for egress to balance the pressure so that stuck :P

And I'm not sure it's being pedantic.


Some Thinkpads have put drain holes on the bottom connected to the keyboard, so water egress holes aren't that crazy an idea!


The iPhone shall remain hydrated for your satisfaction.


Quite likely that the decision has been made after the initial internal layout was set. The layout of the iPhone 7 isn't that different from the 6s.


> How many iphones did he drill holes in?

You can buy the cases without phone internals easily in the markets in Shenzhen. I don't think the guy drilled in a "live" iPhone 7, from what I can tell in the video, but he did go through a lot of parts trying to get his headphone jack and later the headphone-lightning connector to fit into the phone.


Correct. He also broke a bunch of screens in the final stages X-)


To be honest I expected the discussion to be more on the idea of customising electronics, either functional or ideological.

The irony of owning the only iPhone 7 that has a headphone jack from a company that has a slogan that says "think different" is just too rich to not be pointed out. This is the embodiment of the hacker mentality, not satisfied with the status quo and constantly pushing the evenlope.

I eagerly await the day when we can "compile" physical objects and electronics like we can with software. Who will care if the next iPhone have a headphone jack when you can make your own?


Remember how Modular phones have terribly failed? Essential is now trying the same but not sure where it'd get with that!

That said, Don't you think even now we've got wireless streaming with bluetooth or wifi which Headphones can make use of to move forward with headphone jack missing?


> Remember how Modular phones have terribly failed? Essential is now trying the same but not sure where it'd get with that!

I would not call Essential phone a modular phone. The idea is to sell addons to the phone. The phone itself is the antithesis of modular. It cannot even be opened without destroying it. It got 1/10 repairability score from iFixit: https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Essential+Phone+Teardown/967... .


Essential reminds me of Handspring who made palm PDA's with an expansion slot (which is what the essential technically has). I feel like its going to end up like Palm by folding back into Google.


heh, the Springboard slot.

Man the handspring is an excellent PalmOS unit.

They were few and far between but I've got a few of the "cool" modules, a huge GPS, an SD card reader, a memory bank, and the "good technology" MP3 player.

Good actually pivoted from hardware to making an exchange compatible mail client for PalmOS to compete with Blackberry.

The slick Vizor Edge unit had a removable springboard slot, which triples the sub-cm thickness.

Handspring then made the Treo, which was competitive for what it was until WebOS and iPhone came along to spoil the party.

Palm Pre anyone? :(


> Don't you think even now we've got wireless streaming with bluetooth or wifi which Headphones can make use of to move forward with headphone jack missing?

If BT didn't cut out/die and had decent quality I'd agree with you. I've tried multiple headphones, but my experience says it's just not there yet.

If you have to push users to using a new technology, instead of letting them pick it up on their own because it's obviously better, that tech might not be as ready as you think it is.


Not really — wireless audio quality is significantly worse and less stable and wireless electronics are significantly more expensive. It's a feature in search of a purpose.


My air pods/air buds/ whatever Apple calls them, they cut out a lot. Sometimes only one at a time, sometimes both. Sometimes they don't connect to the phone at all despite being fully charged.

My older plug in headphones with the adapter? Works every time.


That's funny because my AirPods work great for me and I barely notice them most of the time yet I have piles of old headphones and earbuds that have crimped cables or knots and they cut out all the time. I even have two sets of great headphones (cans) and one of them needs a little bit of wiggling to get it to play 100%.

Seems like a trade-off in either case and I'm willing to try the wireless thing until it becomes a pain. So far, it's been a pleasure.


You have a point on the expensive but the rest is factually not true. Modern BT codecs are CD quality and modern BT chipsets will cut out less than the movement of a headphone cable in your pocket will.


I think if we're talking about compilation as an analogy we're talking about being able to customize the phone to very specific specifications before it's manufactured (battery size, camera type, headphone jack, etc) and then having the phone constructed in the same sealed kind of way any modern phone is made. That might be interesting if the manufacturing process could be made cheap enough.


Exactly. I think the most common usecase would be to choose between different case thicknesses with the ability to add an additional battery in this space.


It might make sense to temper your eagerness as you will be waiting for a very very very long time ;)


The best hypothesis, IMHO from those I've read, to why Apple ditched the jack, was to get a share of the market for headphones - either through their own headphones (Apple-branded and Beats), or through MFI.

In any case, now without the jack, they now get a share of any accessory you connect. The adapter, and any 3rd party adapters and headphones, need to be certified as MFI, which includes buying and incorporating the Apple MFI chip (forgot the name) into the design.

Which is entirely in their right of course, but it is a consumer hostile move.


I just re-watched the "courage" part of the iPhone 7 keynote where Apple gave their reasons for removing the headphone jack. There were three:

1) Lightning is a great connector for audio.

2) The headphone jack takes a lot of space and they want to use that space for other stuff.

3) Apple has a "vision of how audio should work" on phones and they want to "get there as soon as possible." That was a lead-in to talking about Airpods

Note that they underscored that #3 was the "most important" reason they made the move.

#2 always made sense to me and I gave Apple a bit of a pass on removing the jack for that reason, but this thread's article shows that it was bogus, at least for the iphone 7.

That leaves #1 and #3, both of which involve Apple taking a a bigger cut of headphone sales. While #1 is true, it's not where the rest of the audio market is. And #3 (remember their "most important" reason) basically can be translated to "We want to sell you Airpods."

So it seems it really could have been all about Apple making more money, not about their users. Possible exception being long-term benefits created by moving the market in a particular direction.

(disclaimer: Android user, who prefers using bluetooth headphones anyway, but at least that means I don't have a horse in this particular race... :) )


They've done #3 before. see: floppy drives and ADB -> USB.

"What about my legacy media/peripherals?"


With floppy drives most people agreed it was a natural progression. Sure many argued it was premature, but most of us thought it was an eventuality that the floppy drive would disappear. That's not the case with wired headphones, I expect to be using them until the day I die.


#2 really isn't bogus, at least in the way you described it. In the video, he mentions that he broke the screen two or three times in trying to get everything to fit. Now that everything fits, what happens if he drops it? Could Apple engineer up a way to prevent a high failure rate on the LCD display? Maybe, but there's no way to know.

On top of this, the author had to remove the "barometric vent". I don't find a lot of use in having an altimeter or barometer in my smartphone, but I do know that some apps take advantage of it (Dark Sky). Apple probably wants it to push some activity tracking feature, like the number of steps you've taken.


Sure, those objections are fair, but we are talking about someone who had to work with what Apple gave him as a starting point.

Apple itself would have had a lot more latitude in design since they specify the layout, and because of that, I think it is also fair to say that the article still provides strong evidence that if Apple were doing it, they probably could have included a headphone jack without compromises.


True, if Apple wanted to they could have changed the design. But, if we're going to talk about what Apple could have done with the design, I'm sure that we have many more grievances than the headphone jack. Thicker body for more battery is the classic complaint that comes to mind.

That being said, the iPhone 6/6s are the same size as the 7 from what I can see. The only obvious changes are waterproofing, headphone jack, taptic engine, and lack of physical home button.


Well, it's not strange that he can't fit anything more in the device without taking something out. That's not evidence that there couldn't have been made room for something in the design stage though.


>The best hypothesis, IMHO from those I've read, to why Apple ditched the jack, was to get a share of the market for headphones - either through their own headphones (Apple-branded and Beats), or through MFI.

The "best hypothesis"? That's the classic "lock-in" conspiracy theory. And Apple makes pennies on the headphones compared to what they make from the iPhones (and what they could lose in iPhone sales if the removal of the port proved unpopular) for that to be any great motive.

How about: making the phones waterproof with one less difficult to tackle port, less width/height needed for the new port hence thinner phones, envisioning a wireless future (what with AirPods and co).

The fact that there are pushing AirPods (which don't care for the jack at all) and that Apple gives a free conversion to mini-jack with each new iPhone, means that the theory "it's all about selling headphones/licenses for lighting headphones" is moot.


> How about: making the phones waterproof with one less difficult to tackle port, less width/height needed for the new port hence thinner phones, envisioning a wireless future (what with AirPods and co).

If some guy (he's obviously talented, but still a guy) can fit one inside an already manufactured iPhone 7, the company designing the phone obviously would have no problem fitting it in the dimensions it holds.

> The "best hypothesis"? That's the classic "lock-in" conspiracy theory. And Apple makes pennies on the headphones compared to what they make from the iPhones (and what they could lose in iPhone sales if the removal of the port proved unpopular) for that to be any great motive.

> The fact that there are pushing AirPods (which don't care for the jack at all) and that Apple gives a free conversion to mini-jack with each new iPhone, means that the theory "it's all about selling headphones/licenses for lighting headphones" is moot.

Doesn't the fact that Apple being the company selling the AirPods (for a mighty hefty fee I might add) at least suggest the opposite of "moot", since they're making a lot of money on new headphones by removing the jack?

You state and agree with all the factors needed to draw the conclusions of the "conspiracy theory" (or what I'd call market sense), yet you arrive at the opposite one, why is that?


>If some guy (he's obviously talented, but still a guy) can fit one inside an already manufactured iPhone 7, the company designing the phone obviously would have no problem fitting it in the dimensions it holds.

The company is not forever planning on using the same dimensions of the current model -- but they can still plan ahead the removal.

Besides, the "some guy" doing a mod doesn't have to meet the same guarantees (re: waterproofness, air-circulation inside etc) for the device, as Apple has.

>Doesn't the fact that Apple being the company selling the AirPods (for a mighty hefty fee I might add) at least suggest the opposite of "moot", since they're making a lot of money on new headphones by removing the jack?

You can still use any old pair of wired headphones with the free provided adaptor. So the removal doesn't force anyone to buy AirPods -- or any other of the tons of bluetooth headphones.


> You can still use any old pair of wired headphones with the free provided adaptor. So the removal doesn't force anyone to buy AirPods -- or any other of the tons of bluetooth headphones.

While it may in a dry sense be true that the removal doesn't _force_ anyone to buy AirPods, I will strongly suggest that their customers aren't convinced that the adapter solution is sufficiently comparable [1].

[1] (Reviews) https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MMX62AM/A/lightning-to-35...


> since they're making a lot of money on new headphones by removing the jack

Well, such a condition would rely on this being true and accurate. I'm not really confident there's any data that suggests how people are listening to music on their iPhone 7s at the moment, and really nothing to draw a conclusion from except "anecdata". The simpler explanation in my mind is that Apple wanted a thinner phone, and they did what they needed.

There was an article a few days ago from Xiaomi's Indian Product Manager who commented on the removal of the Headphone Jack on one of the Mi Phone releases. His insight was that despite what people say ("I don't care about thickness"), their surveys and testing overwhelmingly showed that consumers have a preference towards thinner phones.

With this in mind, to me it seems more reasonable that Apple just decided to ditch the jack less they be caught making the fat phone. Your personal preferences may differ, but I think the more reasonable and sustainable conclusion is simply that Apple is chasing the thin phone.


> Well, such a condition would rely on this being true and accurate. I'm not really confident there's any data that suggests how people are listening to music on their iPhone 7s at the moment, and really nothing to draw a conclusion from except "anecdata"

Whether at a sum that decision was lucrative or not is inconsequential, as that comes down to how the market responds to their decision, but what you can argue is whether they make more off headsets now than before.

Before they bundled regular corded buds, and you purchased new ones when your old ones broke. Now they sell $180 USD AirPods, and Beats, and bundle (IMO) clunky adapters. While I don't have data on this, I'm fairly confident in assuming their decision was made on this basis. The question is if this turned out as they hoped in sales.

> The simpler explanation in my mind is that Apple wanted a thinner phone, and they did what they needed.

How so, when there was obviously space enough for an end-user to fit a jack inside the final product?


> How so, when there was obviously space enough for an end-user to fit a jack inside the final product?

Looking at the iFixIt teardowns[0], where is this space supposedly at? If you remove electronics, sure, maybe you could fit it, but there very definitely is components where he put the headphone jack.

[0] http://url.vg/mNPn


> Before they bundled regular corded buds

They still do. The iPhone 7 comes with Lightning headphones AND a Lightning-to-analog-jack adaptor.

They also sell the bundled headphones separately, so you can replace them.


There wasn't enough room for the end user to fit a waterproof jack inside the final product, or to keep the barometer.


The iPhone 6s and the iPhone 7 are exactly the same thickness. There is even a big gap where the headphone jack was, that the author used to retrofit his own. The decision to remove it was not driven by here-and-now technical requirements.


> There is even a big gap where the headphone jack was

Not really, there was a little bit of space near the old jack, and he removed a critical part of the barometer to make the rest of the space. If you're removing parts you can't exactly claim that it was empty space.


See my reply[0] above and point out on the image where this big gap is...

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15193211


That's one consideration. The other consideration is what they DO with that thickness (e.g. re: battery, other electronics taking the extra space, etc).


This conspiracy theory is ridiculous. Apple must make 100x more money from iPhones than it does from AirPods and MFI combined. There is zero reason to degrade the value of iPhones to increase the value of accessories.

And taking out the headphone jack doesn't do much for AirPods, the iPhone still has wired headphones either way.


I'm pretty sure a company that recently acquired Beats, the notoriously overpriced headphone companies, and sells wireless earbuds at 169$ is most certainly not making "pennies" on headphones.

So this point is not moot, much to the contrary, yours about waterproofing is: three years ago Samsung had a phone with: headphone jack, SD card, removable battery. Lots of other phones have headphone jacks and are waterproof. So that point is moot.

Lastly, I'm pretty sure the rationale for any company's decision is "to sell more stuff", not to "envision a future".


> sells wireless earbuds at 169$

Just to play devil's advocate, those $169 AirPods are by far the cheapest fully wireless earbuds on the market, and at launch were ~$100 less than the only other competitor available. Most estimates peg Apples margin on them in the low single digits...


> Most estimates peg Apples margin on them in the low single digits...

Any references for this. My gut feeling doesn't match up with this. I can't imagine the bill of materials being more than 1/3rd of the cost?

Unless those estimates are including the R&D cost, I imagine these are low volume, and that Apple spent a lot of money on developing them.


Given the long lead time on orders for, what, nearly a year now, it seems likely these are not trivial to manufacture.

And these are really tiny computers and highly optimized batteries, so I'd be surprised if the BoM is that low, but determining that is definitely not my strong suit.


And beyond that, there's plenty of more than decent APT-X capable bluetooth headphones on the market at reasonable prices if you aren't looking for "fully" wireless. My Jabra Halo Smart cost me around $80, has audio quality anyone who isn't an audiophile can enjoy and enough battery I only charge them every couple days (mind you, I'm only using them for maybe 1-3 hours a day).

I don't see Apple getting rid of them, especially considering the acquisition of Beats, but the AirPods really feel like the Airport base stations - setting a standard of quality to try and guide the industry along.


>I'm pretty sure a company that recently acquired Beats, the notoriously overpriced headphone companies, and sells wireless earbuds at 169$ is most certainly not making "pennies" on headphones.

Maybe read their financial statements then?

(And I'm pretty sure they lost more money still for buying Beats that they've made from selling Beats products at the moment -- even though both was spare change for them).


Or "envision a future" where they "sell more stuff."


My last 2 samsungs have been waterproof, and have headphone jacks. They are not hard to waterproof, its just 4 conductors in a sleeve.


According to all the tests I saw online there was no Samsung phone that came close to matching that Apple phones ability to withstand water over time


The iPhone has an IP67 rating where the Samsung S8 with headphone jack has the higher IP68. The difference between the two is pretty minimal, 30 minutes each and IP68 gives a manufacturer specified amount of extra submersion depth over the IP67's 1 meter limit. (Samsung says an extra half meter). I wouldn't expect to see much if a difference in testing both devices though. That said specific devices may differ based on manufacturing anomalies (more glue on this one, less on that one)


The real difference between Apple and Samsung's IP ratings is going to be corporate risk profiles, not technical capabilities. IP ratings don't in and of themselves make a phone waterproof, they just define what the customer's expectations should be. Apple would have just as much incentive to underrate their phone as they would to accurately rate it.


> That's the classic "lock-in" conspiracy theory.

Why a "conspiracy theory"? Apple has a documented history of vendor lock-in: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vendor_lock-in


What "documented history"?

Noticed how all the link says is that Apple used to sell DRM music?

First, that was a demand from the record companies.

Second, Apple was actually the company whose's CEO took a public stand against DRM in music -- and eventually been able to remove it from their music store.

That's hardly a "documented history" of Apple being active on that front.


That's just an example. When you follow the WP link, you get to another example (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Apple_Inc.#Accusa...). There are plenty. For example, if you want to develop iOS apps, you are forced to buy a Mac. Technically, there's nothing to stop you from running macOS in a virtual machine, but Apple claims it's illegal and that you need to buy hardware from them. Everything, literally everything is well thought out as a way to make customers spend even more money. This is where Apple's marketing genius lies and this is where their huge profits are coming from.

As another author writes (http://www.business-standard.com/article/management/apple-s-...):

> Apple has adopted the opposite stance creating proprietary hardware and platforms that firmly lock you into their ecosystem and this is one of the reasons why today, despite falling market share, it remains one of the world's most profitable companies.


Apple almost got killed allowing clone makers. The fact that they don't allow it anymore isn't lock-in, it's common sense.


One doesn't exclude the other. Think about the history of PC. Allowing clones might have been absurd from the point of view of IBM, but it caused a massive revolution that enormously benefited the society.

Companies use vendor lock-in to maximize profits, it's something quite common among big players in the software industry - there is no need to pretend it doesn't exist or that Apple is avoiding it for some reason.


Again, the one time Apple's financial position appeared headed towards bankruptcy was the one time they allowed clones. Their business model doesn't work with licensing, they learned that and will never forget it. They are very careful where they allow their technology to be used.


> Apple makes pennies on the headphones compared to what they make from the iPhones

airpods cost $160 and beats headphones aren't cheap either. I doubt that's making pennies on headphones either way.


The "pennies compared to" argument is weird.

If you buy a third party set of headphones that use the lightning port, and require mfi status, yeah, they might make only a small amount compared to profit on iphone.

However, I think enough people will just default to another pair of airpods that any potential losses are offset. I have to imagine that was Apple's thinking. They may sometimes be wrong about stuff, but they're not stupid. If it helps move the market towards wireless, it may also push more wireless beats headphones, which are going to be relatively profitable too.

The quick way to look at this might be: How much was Apple making from headphone sales before this move? How much are they making from headphone sales after?


Bluetooth headphones are $20 on Amazon and Apple makes $0 on them.


I don't get why I need a waterproof iPhone? I'm not in the habit of getting my personal electronics wet? and if I had the choice between a waterproof iPhone (rarely a concern) and being able to use my headphones without charging them and/or a dongle the choice is clear for me.

Also, I'd buy into the whole "thinner is better" thing if they weren't actually making the screens bigger and the "wireless future" thing is a just a load of overdreamt baloney.


My S7 is IP68 water resistant and has a headphone jack. I don't think that's a challenge anyway.

1.5m for up to 30 minutes; enough time to retrieve from a toilet.


Twice I've revived phones for others that fell (ha) for this unfortunate fate.

Turn off immediately, disassemble as much as possible, rinse in clear water (tap for us, but it is not clorinated/flour), then dry in a bag of uncooked rice for a week or so. Boom. Instant Frankenstein phone.

Feels good to save the world a little (through less waste).


"dry in a bag of uncooked rice"

Don't actually do this. It's a myth.

You can only get rice dust inside your phone that way. That's the only thing you can possibly accomplish.


> Don't actually do this. It's a myth

I revived a display on a camera that got wet during a rain on Hawai'i after two years when I read about the "rice method" - it was working the next day. Similarly I saved a phone that went off my pocket into toilet - immediately removed battery, washed in water and packed in a box of rice for a day. Works still like new.


> Similarly I saved a phone that went off my pocket into toilet - immediately removed battery, washed in water and packed in a box of rice for a day. Works still like new.

Done the same thing, without removing the battery or using rice (and done similar things with all kinds of electronics that have gotten wet over the years, again, without a desiccant.) If it doesn't short anything out causing permanent damage, electronics that can get water in them can usually also dry out. Magic rice or anti-bear talismans are not required. A dessicant near the device may help trivially by reducing the surrounding humidity and accelerating evaporation from the device, but just arranging proper ventilation probably works better than using a closed container with a desiccant in most environments.


I wish it was so easy; my camera a few years back, Canon TX1, got wet in one of those rains on Hawai'i and display could never turn on, thought camera was operating normally, taking pictures. I tried to put camera on a sunny place for weeks, didn't help. After two years I read something on forums somewhere about rice. I told myself I don't have anything to lose, so I put rice in a box and immersed camera with display open into it. After a day or so, I took it out and voila, display was working again! Though I must say there was rice dust present on display from inside. Obviously, I would have rather used another desiccant, but where could I buy such thing quickly and in required quantity?


oh come on it may not be an optimal solution but it's hardly "bear talisman" territory ...


Is it? Usually we insist on people providing evidence to support controversial claims.


In what way is the idea that using "uncooked rice" to restore wet electronics the normal one, and challenging it is the "controversial claim"?


In that it's well established practice and I have a list of people who says it does. Versus a couple of internet grouches and a few guys selling device repair services that say it doesn't.

To me, the science sounds plausible. Power it down, dry it up, introduce a desiccant to mop up what atmospheric moisture there is. Rice may not be the "best" desiccant available but it's commonly available and easily understood by most people.

I'd appreciate it if you and your friend could demonstrate that this is false rather than throwing around snarky rhetoric.


This article [0] appears to support your hypothesis but there's enough discussion in the comments that suggests their results can't be taken as conclusive.

I've read the original Gazelle article [1] too, and their methods are far from being clear or rigorous.

I'd need to see more replication before I'd consider this "myth" debunked.

[0] https://smartphones.gadgethacks.com/how-to/myth-debunked-unc...

[1] https://www.gazelle.com/thehorn/2014/05/06/gazelles-guide-wa...


You think "rice usage" is not a controversial claim in the first place? You are trying to create "negative humidity" with rice. Are you serious right now?

EDIT: Watch this rant from a guy who works in the repair shop.

No need to watch the whole video, you can see the "results" of the rice "cleaning" in the first couple of minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPeITOz2_YM


it's called a dessicant.

and it's not controversial if everybody agrees it works.

you are in the minority here and you must support your position with facts.

EDIT

In fairness, I think in the last year we've moved beyond accepting a ranting guy on youtube as evidence.

I've actually seen this guy and he's great on many topics. I can see, and appreciate where he's coming from but I don't think it disproves anything.

Possible conflict of interest that should be declared is this guys fixes devices for a living and charges for the service.


>and it's not controversial if everybody agrees it works.

Well, people agree in all kinds of crap like homeopathy.

Many (most?) agreeing doesn't make something "scientific". Proof does. And it's those proposing a mechanism that must bring that proof.


Uncooked rice works as a desiccant and is found in most homes. If you wrap the phone in a paper towel there is no need to worry about rice residue or rice dust getting into the phone. It does work, but it takes 24-48 hours to dry your phone. Silica gel or other desiccants work better, but most people do not have these in their home.


Did you just cite homeopathy?

Did this just happen. Did you just strawman me?


No... you were the one that was using "everybody agrees it works" as the support of your position. He's offering an analogy that, rightly so, makes your position completely unsupported. If you're willing to say that homeopathy is crap despite the volume of people that support it, then you have to admit the same about your own argument. Provide evidence or support, not appeals to the masses.


Nobody agrees that homeopathy works what are you talking about


Stop being intentionally obtuse. You were the one that said keeping a phone in rice works because "everyone agrees that it works". That's circular logic. He was using that same logic with the example of homeopathy because, much like your rice trick, the only support of homeopathy is that "everyone [who believes it] agrees that it works".

You're wrong. Stop trying to wash it away and just admit it.


It's a common sense to me, but if you want, we can do the math. Should be pretty easy to calculate humidity and rice desiccant properties to end this joke once and for all. Logically, it should be better to let phone dry in open even, instead of creating closed space in the bag of rice.

You can watch the video muted btw. PCB condition shows clearly the level of corrosion from just a little bit of moisture.


"If rice is placed in a sealed container, the air in the container will gain or lose moisture until it attains an equilibrium relative humidity (ERH) corresponding to the rice moisture and temperature."

Source: http://www.kcomfg.com/_docs/pdfs/principles_of_rice_drying.p...


I didn't think I needed a waterproof iPhone either until I got it. I guess I still don't "need" it, but it is really nice to have. I love not having to worry about ruining my phone if I'm out in the rain, getting ready in the morning, hanging out by the pool, using it for recipes in the kitchen, and especially reading/web browsing in the hot tub.


I have to admit ... you do make it sound quite compelling, from a comfort perspective. I suppose my overriding wish is that I could have this cake, and the other cake as well.


Very handy with young kids. Saved mine twice in a year from "OK let me bend over to get you (or some item) out of the tub... damnit, there goes my phone". It'd be even more helpful if we let our kids play with our phones like a lot of people do.


Well, I've destroyed two iPhones by means of accidents that resulted in them falling into water.


I remember once upon a time, about 20-ish years ago when Nokias where the thing to have. I had one of the smaller ones that came after 3110 (3210?) and was working extra as a bar-something one night. I had a big bucket that pour out deserted drinks and bottles into, and now it was full of everything you can imagine.

I leaned forward while typing an sms and dropped the phone in the bucket and saw the screen during the fraction of a second before I snagged it back. It showed a message along the lines of

"This accessory is not supported"

Then it died. Only to be revived through a bath in rice. Nokia, whaddayaknow.


Yeah I have friends that have done that too. But like I say, if I had a choice between having to be careful with my device vs having to charge/pack an extra device on a continual basis it's a clear one for me ...


I suspect it is a clear one for a lot of people. The problem is that don't think it would be the same choice.

I moved back to Asia last year. And since then the combination of driving a scooter + rain season means my phone is soaked wet a couple times a year (sometimes it just rains and you really have no choice). If it is not waterproof, I have to always bring a backpack with me.


Ever place your phone on a table or bar, and there's gunk on it, and now that gunk is all over your phone? Nothing better than just being able to go to the restroom and rinse it off.


OK, for you maybe. For me I'd much rather have the thinner waterproof phone than a port I never use collecting pocket lint. Making the screens bigger is different in that it's a tangible benefit that a bunch of people are willing to trade size for, but that trend has also reversed itself (the Nexus 6P is smaller than the Nexus 6 for instance).


How do you plan to hold these razor thin phones then? During last years I went from 9.3mm (iPhone 4S) in small formfactor to 8.9mm in 5.0" phone to recent 7.4mm in 5.5" phone. The last one even after almost a year of usage is insanely hard to hold and use naked. It is slippery (metal) and always tend to almost fall when I reach far corners or put it in the pocket. I bought spigen case entirely to have a better grip on this thing, not for the protection I don't really need. With thicker rubber case it is less of ergonomic nightmare and I don't fear that it will slip out. Why on Earth would you want a thinner phone? (I'm not even talking about subpar iPhone batteries)


I've never had this problem or realized it was even an issue. I tend to use my fingers on the back of the phone to hold it. I'd like it to be thinner because it's in my pocket all day.


Just out of curiosity, what's the payoff of having a slimmer, yet ultimately bigger phone?

I guess there's a cohort of iPhone users that never use the jack but in the early days at least it was a compelling feature for many. (remember all those proprietary connectors we had back in 200x?)


The idea here is maximizing both screen space and portability. Obviously contradictory goals but the headphone jack compromises one without helping the other.


>I don't get why I need a waterproof iPhone? I'm not in the habit of getting my personal electronics wet?

Well, it's not like the world revolves around what some particular individual does. Other people might be more clumsy. Or might live in places with frequent rains (from London to the tropics and India), do all kinds of stuff outdoors, etc.

Many people approve of a waterproof phone. And in any case, it's a nice feature to have even when you don't need it. It gives piece of mind for using it to call in the rain for one -- and if you have ever been outside in London or tons of other places you'd have seen the utility.


I'm in Dublin here, I know all about rain ... the problem with these arguments "it's not like the world revolves around people with x point of view" is that you can't necessarily say that it should revolve around people with y point of view. A great many people like the jack too so why should they be discommoded when all you have to do is put your phone in a waterproof case.

Or why can't we just have both.


Waterproof cases are often bulky, awkward to use, and ugly. Apple is always, always going to choose encouraging forward thinking (wireless) over supporting legacy technologies by adding bulky, awkward covers.


That's not true. They set the precedent for using the jack in mobile phones in the first place because "usability" - before the iPhone nearly all mobile phones had proprietary connectors.


A wireless future is a future I don't want to live in. Bluetooth earbuds blow, and they need to constantly be charged. Wires aren't a downside.


For you.

Wires are a definite downside to me and many others. I see this problematic description pop up a lot around here and other sites. What is problematic for you may not be problematic for others or even the majority. This is how we ended up here.

In my own use case, I love the AirPods, I don't think they "blow", and I only have to charge them occasionally since the case keeps them charged. I have yet to experience these downsides that you claim and yet I still have the benefit of not needing wires. You can continue to dislike wireless and say wires aren't a downside but you can't just state it as some kind of universal fact. People are different. Some people will like things that others don't.


That would be a sensible argument against removing Bluetooth, not in favour of getting rid of wires.


Can't it be both? I don't want the wires if they don't have to be there and I don't need them for anything. Apparently, most people agree with that sentiment.


Not to mention interference, and opening the whole solution up to problems with audio/video sync that pretty much don't exist with wired headphones.


Do you think that in future wireless/Bluetooth earbuds will never improve? That what we have is going to be the best we're ever going to get?

My Bluetooth Sony MDX-1000X headphones are amazing, the best headphones I've ever owned. If they're the future of wireless audio, then bring it on.


>That's the classic "lock-in" conspiracy theory

How is increasing customer retention rates a "conspiracy theory" and not a common business strategy?


The difference is on attributing every move to a lock-in motive -- instead to a motive of improving the product, ensure future capabilities, etc.


"Apple makes pennies on the headphones"

prices of their BT headsets are around $200. i think apple makes quite a few pennies on the headphones.


I'm sure they could have gone another road regarding sealed phones and sockets.


I always thought it was fairly evident that removing the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 was a 'long play' for the next iPhone (8/Pro/Edition/Whatever) that had more of a harder requirement to scrap it.


I don't understand the whole problem.

If everyone who actually cared about it bought e.g. the S8 from Samsung instead, I'm sure Apple would get the message - and bring it back. Since people are still buying it in droves it must not be a real clincher to most people.

The S8+ has a great DAC (as tested on my range of Audio Technica headphones), still supports Bluetooth audio - latest spec, and is a fantastic phone overall, with a design far surpassing the headphone-less iPhone 7.

IMO, Apple engineers have gotten lazy. They removed the port without adding value.


> If everyone who actually cared about it bought e.g. the S8 from Samsung instead, I'm sure Apple would get the message - and bring it back. Since people are still buying it in droves it must not be a real clincher to most people.

That's not a reasonable assumption.

If they had manufactured an alternative iPhone 7 (that was thicker than the regular one, or whatever was their rationalizing for removing it) then we could say that anyone buying the alternative one was communicating their want/need of the jack.

There is significant platform lock-in between iOS and Android, and while you can always switch, there are a lot more factors than the headphone jack, making it - without a gradient - impossible to draw any such conclusions from the data points available.


> There is significant platform lock-in between iOS and Android

I've had an iPhone since the 4, at first because it was the best phone by a long way imo. Now? I imagine switching and would rather pay the premium not to go through that hassle.

I'm super sad that I'll have to use a shitty adapter to have semi decent ear buds (I use sennheiser cx-500 most of the time) - but again not enough to motivate switching. [I've not looked but assume Sennh don't make compatible headphones]


Remove it in the prior version to get all of that discussion over and done with. When the next iPhone comes out, there'll no longer be outrage about it missing a headphone jack.

I own the 7S without the headphone jack and while most of the time I'm fine without it, there are a few instances (mostly on planes or long car) where it really pisses me off. But switching to an alternative device that has a headphone jack would piss me off even more due to other things.

I look at it the same way about the removal of the physical home button from the iPhone 7S - 'train' users/press prior about the potential negatives so you can control more of the conversation when the 'next big phone' comes out that you want make sure makes a good, big impact.


> Remove it in the prior version to get all of that discussion over and done with. When the next iPhone comes out, there'll no longer be outrage about it missing a headphone jack.

Seems reasonable, but if the next iPhone is the massive redesign everyone is expecting, wouldn't have been easier to remove the jack and play it off as a requirement of the new design? "This is the iPhone of the future," etc.


Those were going to be controversial design changes no matter what so, like others have rightly pointed out, do them incrementally to allow all the discussion and annoyance/outrage to pass and not dominate the conversation in the media (both social and professional).


I didn't think there was a 7S?


Apologies, I meant the 7.


He might mean 7 Plus?


>IMO, Apple engineers have gotten lazy. They removed the port without adding value.

Or you know, they have rather good reasons for it.

Like better waterproofing (Samsung always fails behind iPhone in waterproof tests, and doesn't support fully even the nominal waterproof levels they say they do), thinner feature phones in the roadmap, smarter headphones, etc.


Mind giving a source for that claim? The S7 is IP68 rated, the iPhone 7 is only IP67. Are you saying those ratings are false?


I'll say it, and provide a source[0].

In that video, both phones are subjected to ever-increasing water depths until the S7 dies (very respectably) after five minutes at 35 feet, while the iPhone 7 continues to operate.

That suggests to me that both phones probably should have been rated IP68.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K05cTPeFfyM


I think it's a bit hard to make that claim with only one test with only one phone each (And it's a little convenient that the only guy who found the iPhone 7 to be more water resistant is the guy named 'EverythingApplePro').

That said, while you may be right they should be rated the same, that doesn't really help OPs point. Even if they should be rated the same, the S7 has a headphone jack and the iPhone 7 doesn't. If the headphone jack is really the problem then the iPhone 7 should be way better at handling water then the S7, and yet even in the video you linked the iPhone 7 was suffering damage from the same depths the S7 did. I would argue that even if the video is legitimate it's entirely possible he just got a "lucky" iPhone 7 that didn't end-up getting fried from the little water that got in, and the S7 wasn't quite as lucky. From one test you really just can't know.


Well, my iPhone fell into the water and it died too, just saying


Problem is same as with Thinkpads. Many People love their iPhone. They want to have iPhone and don't want to be stuck on Samsung for many years on just to send message to Apple.


> They removed the port without adding value

They haven't added value for their customers but they will be reducing costs for the business going forward and are helping provide a platform for future revenue.


Yep, because that's exactly what Apple needs - they seem to be really struggling. /s :P


> they now get a share of any accessory you connect

Bluetooth audio is an open standard isn't it? I use Bluetooth speakers not made by Apple and not certified for Apple.

And doesn't the iPhone include a headphone adapter? So they don't get any extra share that way either.


Yeah. Bluetooth and BLE don't need to be part of MFi. MFi is about standards for directly connected devices. Which does really have a place in quality control and not destroying your $1000 rectangle. Not that there aren't fake MFI (or harvested from junk electronics) chips for gas station chargers.

[0] https://mfi.apple.com/MFiWeb/getFAQ.action#4-2


> "$1000 rectangle"

Sorry, but - lol :D


>Bluetooth audio is an open standard isn't it?

not if you care about quality, non crappy codecs require aptX with patent fees owed to Qualcomm.


Isn't it possible to send AAC over Bluetooth these days?


I'd have given Apple the benefit of the doubt if they opened up the W1 chip to other Bluetooth headphone vendors. So far... nothing. Just the AirPods and Beats, along with proprietary Lightning garbage. This was very clearly a user-hostile power grab, and yet people like Gruber keep rolling their eyes at the notion that the headphone jack might still be useful to many people. And what about the things you can no longer do with any dongle, such as headphone use with simultaneous data transfer? My Apogee JAM sits gathering dust because I simply can't use it with my iPhone 7.

I'm not exactly mad at Apple, but I'm starting to think that maybe Android will be the way to go for my next upgrade cycle. It's been a while since I played around with a new OS!


> I'd have given Apple the benefit of the doubt if they opened up the W1 chip to other Bluetooth headphone vendors.

Why??? Why on earth would Apple do that, and why should they need to? The iPhone 7 works just as well or better with regular BT headsets as any other phone does (iow it mostly works, most of the time, but sometimes BT is just kinda crappy).

What possible reason would Apple have to develop a clearly superior BT chipset and then just give it away?


On stage, Apple clearly implied that the future of audio was something along the lines of the W1: easy to pair, high quality, low latency. (With this, who needs wires anymore?) It was billed as a forward-looking, pro-consumer move. But the future of audio won't be proprietary. It can't be, simply because most people don't use iPhones. The way I see it, the fact that Apple won't even license their tech spells out the true intent behind the removal of the headphone jack. They don't want to move technology forward; they just want to lock in their users for expensive audio equipment.


The W1 isn't as proprietary as you seem to think it is - you can still use any bluetooth headset with an iPhone, and you can use AirPods with any standard bluetooth audio player, you just don't get the iCloud sharing and quick device switching capabilities that aren't part of the bluetooth standard.


> What possible reason would Apple have to develop a clearly superior BT chipset and then just give it away?

I dunno, maybe for the benefit it would bring to their consumers?

Or do they really need to add a few more billions to their existing pile of money?


I think there's a bunch of pretty decent reasons why this makes sense for apple.

- smaller devices reduce shipping costs en masse

- marketting "thinner" devices (though screen is larger?)

- DRM

- No need to provide expensive native DAC

- Owning the headphones market, similar to how google ended up owning "search"

I'm sure there's a bunch more. It makes good business sense for them regardless of what customers (ahem, "consumers") want and with other manufacturers following suit they'll pretty much have no choice.

I'm looking forward to a portable DAC being among the collection of crap I have to put in my pocket in the morning.


Shipping costs are already basically irrelevant. So that's an irrelevant benefit, not a decent reason.

(the cost to ship a medium size box is about $10. $10,000 of iPhones easily fit in a medium size box. Shaving some of 0.1% is pretty irrelevant.)

And if they did it in service of "owning the headphones market", that's a really dickish reason.


that's a really dickish reason

Indeed it is. I and many others would agree. But capturing a market and "lock-in" are common, and often-lauded business practices.


But, but... the iPhone 7 still comes with a dongle, so they're still providing the DAC. At least for now.

The rest sounds about right, unfortunately.


The iPhone 7 comes with two DACs, there's one in the earphones too now.


Yeah, but I guess once their 3rd parties get up to speed they won't need to any more ... I think it's more of an increment in a longer term plan.


I thought the dac is built into the dongle?


You are probably correct, but I think that was GP's point - apple are providing the dac .. for now


> - smaller devices reduce shipping costs en masse

If this were their goal removing the headphone jack is the last thing I'd expect they'd look towards. For starters there's the packaging itself which is way larger than the couple millimeters they could maybe shave off the phone itself.


isn't the packaging added later?


I think they're packaged in China and shipped whole from there to the US/destination.


I thought I would miss the headphone jack but in reality I haven't missed it at all.


As someone with high-end headphones and hearing aids that preclude earbuds, I will miss a headphone jack so much I'll probably get my first Android phone over this.


FWIW, there are MFI hearing aids with Bluetooth audio support (along with individual R/L volume control, profile selection and remote microphone support - seems pretty neat) that I've seen some people raving about on reddit. Rather expensive devices, but hearing aids in general are outrageously priced even for low-end models.


I have really good headphones but I just use the dongle. So I've never had an issue. Never lost the dongle cos I tied it to the end of the headphones with a small bit of velcro.


Me too. Wireless headphones are much better for working out.


I thought I'd get used to it but after struggling with the dongle at first to use my preferred headphones (Cheapish Sony earbuds that I've found sound better than apple and last 2 years), then losing the dongle and resorting to earpods.

I now just carry two pairs of headphones everywhere, one for my Apple laptop and one for my Apple iPhone.

Even tried the Beats X, W1 chip was all hype it's barely any different from regular bluetooth and juggling with then UI to turn headphones on and off is more tedious than just plugging something in and living with a cable, so those are collecting dust now.

Didn't want to buy another dongle because that would just prove to Apple that people are happy with the dongle.


Aren't all headphones better than the Apple ones? I certainly hope the airpods aren't as awful as they ones they pack in with the phone.


Obviously the shape of your ear matters a great deal, and the lack of wires makes the comparison a bit harder, but I've found the AirPods much more comfortable than the cheap wired headsets Apple ships (shipped?).


Beats. The only use they have are as a fashion accessory you hang around your neck. You don't play audio through them, not if you value your ears and your music.


The most annoying experience is not being able to use the apple headphones that came with my phone on my macbook anymore


Apple playing such tricks for marketshare is exactly the opposite of why Apple was loved. They used to find better ideas that would make the market look sad (magnet power cable instead of friction socket that would break).


I'm surprised I've not seen the phrase "close the analog hole", which was a popular one in the early days of MP3s, used to describe the end-goal of this design.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_hole


It kills me that people like you can't see the long play. Haven't you ever watched a sci-fi movie? Do those guys have 7mm thick phones that they carry around everywhere with a cabling dangling out of it? Nope. They have 1mm thin things that are [printed on their sleeve|hover in the air|do some other ridiculous future nonsense].

Now, is the iPhone "8" going to be like that? Clearly not. iPhone 9? Maybe not. iPhone 10? 11?

That's what Apple are pushing towards. Thank god somebody is, or we'd all be carrying around 7mm thick phones for the rest of eternity.


They can look futuristic without being practical. Google Glasses are another example. The future is not a race. Sometimes it need more time to mature.


Needs more time to mature away from a 3.5mm jack in to Bluetooth headphones?! Come on.

Edit: I'm not saying you have to like this, just that to say that Apple did it to make a few more bucks on a dongle is cynical to the point of absurdity.


Some Bluetooth profiles can be used on iOS devices without MFI authentication chip on the Bluetooth device. Bluetooth audio/headset devices don't need MFI chip. Devices using Bluetooth serial port profile do need it.


I think DRM is the reason - that analog can't support it.


They don't have DRM in Apple Music purchases so....


They don't have DRM there yet. But they've opened a possibility of DRMing iPhone audio now. When other manufacturers follow suit, it'll be only a matter of time before some parties will want to make use of that possibility.


You realize they had DRM in iTunes music long ago at the insistence of the labels, and have killed it? Why in the world do you think Apple would add it back?


The best hypothesis is that they removed the headphone jack when they didn't need to, so people would lose their minds in 2016. Notice how there's still space for the jack in the 7.

So in 2017, when they actually need to remove the headphone jack (probably because the phone is more thin than is actually useful), it won't be as big of a deal.

They're not going to say that in their keynote.


Except they ship an adapter with the phone, so you can still plug in regular headphones and they don't get any money from those sales.


When growth is slowing in your main product, you have to find ways to take up the slack. It's going to be consumer hostile almost by definition, since the goal is to take more money from the consumer.

I don't ever intend to own a phone without a headphone jack. If enough people agreed with me their plan would backfire, but I suspect that's not the case.


I hope it will cost them some market share. People should not tolerate this nonsense.


I don't buy this. I buy Apple products and Apple accessories. I highly doubt Apple makes significant money through licensing unless you put the numbers.

Removing the jack was a good decision and now, a few months only later, I do appreciate it.


What do you appreciate about it? Was the jack getting in your way before?



Still doesn't answer his point. What did you lose?


The jack is legacy technology. It's that simple.


Where's the anti-trust investigation over this?


Over what? You can use any Bluetooth head phones you want with your iPhone. I like the Jaybird X3s for running.

Apple also doesn't have a monopoly share, I have many friends who actually prefer Android and don't care that iPhones no longer have a headphone jack.


Anti-trust "prohibits a variety of practices that restrain trade". I don't see how it does that, especially given that they bundle a headphone adapter with the phone.


Where's the anti-trust case in this?


But Apple has a minority share in this market.


But they are a major player in smartphone market that they use to leverage themselves into this market. Similar to Microsoft (majority in OS) bundling browsers and media players.


>But they are a major player in smartphone market that they use to leverage themselves into this market

They have less than 50% of market share, so no.

MS had almost 98% of desktop/work OS share (Linux was in its infancy then -- and is not used much for desktop even now--, and OS 8/9 had dropped to insignificant share).


> They have less than 50% of market share, so no.

They have the 2nd/3rd biggest share (and not like the first one has over 50% either). Sounds major to me.


"There was inexplicably a lot of extra room in the lower left hand corner, right where I wanted to put the headphone jack."

Funny... I thought they removed it to save space. Apparently they needed space for that void?


Or, you know, the components that he removed in order to put that jack in...

Seriously... he shows the pieces he had to remove in order to get this working and he compromised the water-proofing of the phone. How is that, in any way, an equivalence to "void" or "empty space"?


It was a piece of plastic... You really believe that much teeth pulling surrounding the removal of a jack was the rational alternative to a less accurate altimeter?


No. They clearly had reasons to remove the headphone jack. I'm only addressing the mistaken assumption that there was just "extra" space left in the phone. If you're removing the altimeter/barometer conduit, you're essentially removing the capability for the altimeter/barometer to remove air and balance pressure. Since the original phone was waterproof, this was a necessary piece.

The "new phone" no longer has a working altimeter, is not waterproof, and has major structural issues now. Anyone saying that there was just extra space there is being ignorant of the facts shown or is being intentionally disingenuous for some reason.


Tbis reminds me of the long-ago G4 cube, which had an oval power supply shaped exactly like the oval void in the middle of the cube.


was probably removed due to thermal concerns, the G4 cube didn't have any fans if i recall correctly.


This is what infuriates me about the whole cargo cult mentality of "design" Apple subscribes to. Its dishonest bait so low information consumers don't question anti-consumer monetization moves. There's a lot of money in headphones and taking over the headphone market via airpods or the mfi chip sales required for iphone lightning to work with minijacks is a ripe market for Apple. Yet, we're being sold on a whole false narrative of "Oh there's no room, sorry."

I think we're going to look back to the dawn of smartphones as being particularly anti-consumer, anti-privacy, and typified by corporate dishonesty.

edit: I see the narrative is "but, but the iphone 8 will be too thin for it, trust me." Then there's no reason to do it now other than crass monetization at the cost of the consumer already invested in wired headphones and being forced to do a pricey upgrade. Not to mention, simply migrating to a thinner analog audio plug like the standard 2.5mm connector which is merely 2mm thick and can use a minijack to 2.5mm adapter can be gotten anywhere and cheaply. That would be a trivial change and allow Apple to make a very thing phone. Instead excepting a DAC on every headphone or having a DAC adapter is clearly a monetization scheme.


> I think we're going to look back to the dawn of smartphones as being particularly anti-consumer, anti-privacy, and typified by corporate dishonesty.

Apple has been a dishonest, anti-consumer, cargo cult designer since the beginning of personal computing and I can't wait until their time is over.

Just one example: The single button mouse. For the longest time the party line was "it's better for reasons", but everybody knew it wasn't which is why the first thing anybody purchased after buying a new Mac was a multi-button mouse. You didn't even have that choice with their laptops unfortunately. Internally, Apple's reasoning for keeping it was that it differentiated them from PCs and they didn't want to appear to be stealing from PC designs.


Regardless of the result and what people think of Apple's decision making process, I find this video to be very inspiring and shows how even black-boxes can be hacked and modified to fit one's needs.

As a developer I was always excited when someone found a better/different way to use my code in a way that is different than I originally intended to, hopefully manufacturers in the future will focus on making it easier to hack and modify their products.


Here's a quick note on bluetooth/digital sound quality, from recent experience.

I'd been playing music on my car stereo (Kenwood, nothing amazing) across bluetooth. I finally got around to picking up a lightning cable to connect directly for charging but thought I'd try playing music across it.

I was instantly struck by how much better the sound quality was.

I don't think the sound output in this case is digital am I right? Lightning still supports analogue output equivalent to the headphones jack for these usecases?

So we're being sold on this idea that digital/bluetooth is "better" but as somebody else points out here that's purely down to the DACs that are in use, but from my personal experience the DACs native to the iPhone are actually pretty good.

I wonder, apart from other motives proposed here, is eventually eliminating expensive analogue circuitry from the iPhone BOM a part of what's going on here?


Bluetooth audio itself uses digital compression to keep the bandwidth low, and has a whole bunch of optional codecs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Bluetooth_profiles#Adv...). Your Kenwood may not support the higher quality codecs, meaning it would sound worse than a comparable headphone jack aux cable.


Even the best codecs used for BT audio are lossy, aren't they? So wouldn't an aux or lightning connection always sound better?


Just because it's lossy doesn't mean it can't sound good, but sure aux and lightning are probably better choices if you're concerned about it sounding good.

The huge audio difference described above is atypical from my experience, so I'd blame the stereo's bluetooth support before bluetooth audio itself.


It's a shame that Bluetooth can't do something like a stream copy. Quality could be better if your phone could pass the raw mp3/vorbis/opus stream over BT. Even with HQ codes like aptX it's pretty silly to be converting 256k mp3 to aptX at similar or higher bitrate.


Isn't that Bluetooth file transfer? Good idea but I guess the idea of a streaming protocol is it addresses realtime concerns in an unreliable medium. Imho that's the kind of thing analogue coding schemes are better at.


If it can output 320kbps MP3 or equivalent, nobody's gonna notice unless you tell them.


Of course this is correct if you being with a lossless file, but if you start with an already lossy file, despite it being possible to sound the same as a lossless file, when you re-encode it with a different encoding, for example ogg -> mp3, you'll lose different parts of the file in the compression algorithm, so it will end up sounding worse.

I can't say I know how the different bluetooth audio codecs work of course.


I think that's the point he's making.


I don't think it is? He said:

> Your Kenwood may not support the higher quality codecs, meaning it would sound worse than a comparable headphone jack aux cable.

That implies there's BT audio codecs that sound the same (or I guess better, but I think he/she probably meant "same") as an aux cable. I was saying I don't think that's true, that even the best BT audio codecs are (noticeably) inferior to in-phone-DAC-to-analog connections.


Sorry yeah missed out on the "best" audio codecs part of your predicate, as if to say "the ceiling is lower than you think" - sorry


I'm pretty sure the lightning standard doesn't support an analogue signal at all, hence the role of the adapter as a DAC. Around 23mins in the linked video you see the part he's using inside the phone, and it seems more complex than simply matching pins.

In terms of your car stereo, I'd say that'd be an internal DAC, and the quality difference was simply down to a physical connection compared to Bluetooth(probably a previous standard too, the jump from Bluetooth 4.0 to Bluetooth 5.0/W1(as in AirPods) is pretty similar in magnitude to the jump from USB 2 to USB 3/Lighting(Lightning was again Apple adding support for modern features before the standard was finalised)). In the same way that nobody would've seriously dropped a dedicated display port before USB 3, the new Bluetooth standards are opening up audio to replace physical connections.

As I understand it, Apple ultimately ended up dropping the headphone jack due to interference(the DAC was being interfered with) from some internal components in the new design, as well as making waterproofing easier. I'm fairly certain there's no DAC already at this point.


Sorry I should have done a bit more research before posting ... yes it appears that the official line on lightning is that it's digital only, but there are conflicting empirical accounts [0]

Since my 5s still has a headphones jack there is certainly still a DAC there.

It could well be down to the fact that my car stereo has a better DAC on the USB line than it does on the bluetooth line. Or simply an older bluetooth audio standard as you suggest. Actually this is probably the most likely suspect!

Which I think all serves to underline how digital output is not "open and shut" when it comes to sound quality.

Thanks for the additional technical context on why they might be eliminating analogue signal altogether. I'd felt a similar rationale informed their refusal to include a FM receiver from the beginning.

It does make sense from many different perspectives for apple to make this "not their problem". I kind of feel it's a pity from a customer/functional perspective though.

[0] https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/apples-lightning-headp...


>I'm fairly certain there's no DAC already at this point.

The iPhone still has a physical speaker, doesn't it? Therefore there must be one.


Doesn't mean it's connected to the lightning port - and in fact it's not.


what's that got to do with anything?


It probably means that the iPhone 7 can't output analoge signals via the Lightning port, so thre must be a DAC inside the 3.5-to-lightning adapter.


Bluetooth honestly isn't better yet. They should've waited to remove the headphone jack until Bluetooth 5 headsets were out (same bandwith, but much lower power, easier pairing and much better compression). It would've made some sense.

I'm guessing that they thought the headphone was interfering with their design for iPhone 8, and that they wanted to take the PR-hit with the 7. They were in the loop about the Bluetooth 5 spec, so for them it made sense, even if it's too early for consumers.


Its not the DAC, BT Audio uses ancient horrible low bitrate codec


Agreed, cable is much much better quality. Not sure what the reason is though...


Bluetooth audio is typically loss-ily re-encoded due to limited bandwidth and has sounded really bad in the implementations I've tried (an iPhone connected to earbuds and a Toyota Prius).

I've had a hard time finding out technical details of Apple's new w1 chips - what increased bandwidth they support, if any. This one case where Apple hiding the tech specs from consumers is pretty irritating.

I'm no audiophile pushing for nonsense like 24/192 downloads, but I do care about music enough to actively avoid overly-compressed audio via bluetooth or Sirius/XM as the sound is grating.

I'm thinking Bluetooth 5.0 will solve this quality issue, but I'm certain there is somebody with actual domain knowledge in this thread to enlighten.

Edit: link to some reference on bluetooth quality http://www.sereneaudio.com/blog/how-good-is-bluetooth-audio-...


crappy dacs on commodity bluetooth audio devices?


somebody else pointed out the more established bluetooth digital audio standards aren't as good. This may well be the reason.


What I'll actually do, since my stereo actually has a headphones line is a qualitative comparison between the headphones jack, usb and bluetooth and I'll get back to you.


This seems like a pretty small set of data to base your conclusion on. Anyway, if fidelity is the concern, most new cars support just directly plugging in your phone via USB.


It's hardly data, it's personal experience. Seems the main thrust of your argument is that if I spend a load of money I'll get better results. Well Duh


Well, no, the main thrust of my argument is that if the primary concern is data fidelity then sticking with a headphone jack seems silly.


But the thrust of my argument was that bluetooth was inferior to a wired connection (and probably inferior to analogue from the jack itself). As other commentators have helpfully pointed out this is due to the poor codecs in use with bluetooth. So there's plenty of extraneous contributed "data" that supports my claim.


But a wired connection is hardly unsupported, regardless. The funny connector seems like a nonissue for a car.


There you are putting words in my mouth. I never made any remark about the connector. It's almost like you came to this discussion with a point to disprove already in mind.


I figured "the aux connection has better fidelity than Bluetooth" was meant to imply "they should keep the headphone jack."


nope it was just meant to imply that the sound quality was better (-:


Alright, fair enough.

More directly to your point, though, I've never experienced problems like one speaker cutting out because the wire is too old with digital connections. I really like digital better because it's mostly either working or not.


Oh but ...

My big gripe with digital vs analogue is it's all or nothing. When digital degrades its unbearable to listen to. Analogue handles age more gracefully.


I guess I don't like being slowly driven insane wondering if some degradation is just in my head, jiggling the wire, etc. Maybe just me.


I don't think so. AFAIK the lightning connector is fully digital and the D/A convertor is only in the adapter.


I'm on a 5s though. I still have the headphones jack.


That doesn't mean your lightning connector is capable of putting out analog audio, it just means your headphone jack does.


AFAIK the lightning connector is fully digital and the D/A convertor is only in the adapter

Clearly not so if I've got a jack ...


if the DAC only exists between the logic board and the analog jack then there is a good chance it isn't being piped back in to the lightning port. Even then, I really doubt an entire pin on the lightning connector is dedicated to analog signal, so a DAC would have to exist on the other end of your lightning cable anyway; I suspect this is where your difference in quality come from.


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