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I still miss my headphone jack, and I want it back (fastcompany.com)
805 points by bennettfeely 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 724 comments

We need to take into account _Accessibility_. A large use case that I've found most people seems to miss are individuals who are older and don't have much experience with bluetooth or wireless technology. I'm fine with Apple removing the headphone jack, but they've alienated so many people to find their own path when they don't include the adapter.

Anecdotal example: I recently purchased headphones for my 65-year old father and showed him how to use it, in preparation for his "headphone jack-less" future. After about a month (he lives in China, so I see him only a couple times a year), I asked him how it's going and he said he doesn't use them anymore because he just couldn't figure it out. I tried to explain "Turn on Bluetooth on your phone, then turn on your headphones, then hold down the button to pair, etc", but it was actually quite complicated because once he did this dance, 2 months later his phone restarted and bluetooth was off and we had to do it again. Software-wise, I can just send a link, but when it comes to hardware + software like printers, things become really challenging to explain.

I bring this up because if we're moving to the "wireless" world, we need to really consider accessibility for the elderly. My father ended up throwing away these really expensive Beats headphones, went to his local market and bought some cheap Sony headphones and is now listening fine. I'm not really sure what's going on happen when his next phone doesn't have the headphone jack.

Elderly? I can guarantee that no human being on earth can confidently setup bluetooth on all devices. And that's the issue, these one-off pairings.

I had a friend sync with my car bluetooth-stereo, it took a while and from the steering wheel I couldn't be of enough help. But it worked in the end, was quite frustrating though.

Then later when I tried to use my phone again it had been lost from the receiver (eventhough it can support two concurrent connections and I've only ever paired with two devices). So now I had to go through the whole dance that it was only paired in one device.

Thing is, anything that literally takes more than 3 seconds is a disaster. After a minute of fiddling with it I remembered I had an AUX cable. And then I could patiently fix it when I had time for it.

Bluetooth is a nightmare for temporary connections. Removing the headphone-jack is akin to removing a fire-alarm system because "it isn't used anyway". Well, the times you need it it is indispensable and it doesn't cost anything.

Exactly. Just recently I struggled with pairing a bluetooth speaker with my father's laptop. Another, exactly identical bluetooth speaker paired fine just the day before. The second one couldn't be paired for two days, and I have no idea why. The fact that this bluetooth speaker has three different bluetooth modes with three different ways to switch between them via a single button doesn't help, and even after years I couldn't figure out which mode is meant for what purpose.

And the problem is that this happens regularly unless you never switch any device, which in reality doesn't happen, because nobody wants to buy nice headphones for every audio source. Bluetooth is a mess, and I'm glad I stayed with headphone jacks so far.

I can guarantee that no human being on earth can confidently setup bluetooth on all devices. And that's the issue, these one-off pairings.

Thing is, anything that literally takes more than 3 seconds is a disaster.

In 2008, Apple introduced iPhone and promised us a future where everything "just works," and where the user and UX are paramount. Taking stock of the last decade, we're basically back to The Inmates are Running the Asylum.


I think it's cyclic. The rejected "IBM guy" in the short sleeved shirt portrayed in the Steve Jobs biopic was once the innovative young turk. Now, the typical mobile and web app developer are that "IBM guy," just with a different set of subcultural aesthetics and a different over elaborated UX language which has left ordinary users behind.

It's very telling that about half the time, I start getting hidden contempt from developers when I give them feedback. They're never wrong. I'm obviously deficient and dim. Never mind that I'm a programmer, and I'm pretty darn good at predicting how fellow engineers think. About half the time, that's where the developer starts from. No questions. No curiosity. It's just like in the old days when the command line was the fancy new easier interface. It's the same as long after GUI interfaces hit a wider public and the public started grousing about computer help desks.

(Directed to the 3rd party reader: Don't be that programmer. Seek not so much to be understood, as to understand.)

> Thing is, anything that literally takes more than 3 seconds is a disaster.

And just to add onto this, the problem isn't that Bluetooth pairing takes three seconds, per se.

The problem is that we already had an instantaneous, reliable, and universal solution. In it's place is an option that may be better in some ways (namely, wires are gone), but is worse in many others. And for what? A tiny sliver of extra volume within the phone?

Also, I tried to use my bluetooth headphones with my Macbook air, even knowing the steps, and it said I had to upgrade the OS to use them (I think the OS was like a year old at the time, and the computer four years old -- El Capitan, I think?)

Seriously? Both OSes knew the version of the bluetooth protocol they needed to use to communicate, and it still doesn't work? Never had that problem with a headphone jack.

> I can guarantee that no human being on earth can confidently setup bluetooth on all devices.

I second that. I use my Bluetooth headphones on three devices. But I can only save two connections. So one device I always use via jack to avoid having to repair several times a day.

I have 3 cars with Bluetooth and one of them (which sports a "Sync by Microsoft" label gives me no end of trouble with bluetooth. At one point I gave up and just started using a cord, because I could. I don't drive that car on a daily basis now (It's a Ford Fusion, which otherwise I like.), but when I do, I still have hassles.

That is exactly why AirPods are an absolutely superior product.

For one very niche use-case.

No wireless technology is a replacement for the headphone jack. It will probably be decades before we have anything decent (though I'm not hopeful).

It's not really niche. The GP's problem is solved because pairing effectively becomes "put these two things close together and open the box".

If it only works on one device it is pretty niche and hardly a replacement for the headphone jack...

I use them with my laptop too. I have had only one ‘pairing seems a bit broken’ issue since buying them as soon as they came out - and an iPhone restart was the fix. That’s about 2.5 minutes of hassle in several thousand hours of use.

If they were a pain, I would stop using them, but they are much less hassle than the many pairs of corded headphones I have. This said, other Bluetooth headphones are much more hassle.

I mean it's certainly a replacement for the headphone jack on that device which is pretty much the stated goal.

What? It will only work with that device. It won't work in any car or any other circumstance. Also the pods themselves will not work with any non-apple device.

That's an extremely narrow use-case. If that was the only thing people used the headphone jack it wouldn't have been the big travesty that it currently is (and will be for the foreseeable time).

They have a pairing button like any other bluetooth device. They work in my car and on my windows laptop.

My bad, when they were new I was told it wouldn't work on regular devices. Still, it's just another bluetooth headset then.

Not to mention that for that price I can buy a pair of extremely nice-sounding headphones, wireless or not.

There's still a dance you have to do when you want to change between devices. For example, I want to switch between listening to a podcast on my iPhone to watching a show on my iPad. You'd think that would be quick and easy but it still takes 10-20 seconds.

I switch between iPhone and MacBook sometimes. My flow is usually turning off Bluetooth on the iPhone then selecting the AirPods from the MacBook, or similar. It doesn’t feel like much of a pain but it does seem like there could be an easier way. If the Bluetooth icon/menu on each device could have a ‘move AirPods to iPhone/MacBook/iPad’ option, and maybe a ‘move from’ on other devices.

And it takes longer if the device or OS you want to switch to is not made by Apple.

>Removing the headphone-jack is akin to removing a fire-alarm system

Am I missing something? There's still a headphone port on phones, it's just not dedicated. People can still plug headphones in to their phones right? I'm asking because the tone of these comments makes it seem like new phones have removed the ability to listen to music without bluetooth.

You are missing the fact that lugging an adapter is not a realistic option. I lived the dongle life for almost two years. By the end the darn thing had started glitching on me and you could not buy replacements. I'm lucky it didn't damage the charging port...

Not that it matters, I still didn't have it with me half of the times it turned out I needed it.

I actually considered buying like 10 of them. Now we are talking about 100 USD of the crap and a MASSIVE and daily inconvenience just because the manufacturer decided to save a couple of cents. This shit is just ridiculous.

I bought one and put it on the end of a headphone cable and left it there. I’m not sure what the massive inconvenience is here.

That works but that is just one very very narrow use case. There are tons of situations when that won't help you.

And that's even if you only use one pair of headphones.

I have AirPods for meetings and music while walking, the normal Apple buds - now just backup in case I leave my AirPods behind, some Sony closed back monsters for shutting out noise while working in cafes and some nice open back Grados for music listening at home.

I hardly use the Sonys but if I do, I will just borrow the adaptor from my Apple buds in my laptop bag. For listening to my Grados I use an amp with a headphone socket.

If I wanted to plug them into my phone I would need the Apple lightning adapter and also one to the smaller headphone jack! This doesn’t bother me. If I want to do that, I’ll just do it.

I’ll even spend another £9 on an adapter to leave connected if I do it often enough.

None of this seems terrible to me and I’m not sure how unique this set of circumstances is. What are the tons of situations where this gets tricky?

1. Lugging your adapter just isn't an option. Stop. This should be enough reason. Seriously. Don't try to justify it in hindsight.

2. Since I had to constantly borrow my adapter from my regular headphones it happened that I forgot them connected to another headphones. So I often had my headphones with me but missing the adapter. Wasn't frustrating, promise.

3. I don't know when I'm gonna need it. I made a long trip by train and thought that some nice bluetooth noise cancelling phones would be nice. Well, at my destination we took a drive and I was asked to play some music. Ooops, no adapter.

4. At work my bluetooth headphones lost battery, no worries, you can still drive them with a headphone jack. Ooops, no adapter.

5. I dance, one day when arriving to practice the people responsible for it were running late. No worries, just connect your phone! Ooops, no adapter.

6. If your going social gathering with friends to a cottage you might not think to bring your headphones. But while there some music would be kind of nice. Ooops, no adapter.

Situations like that happens all the time, and it's nothing one thinks about because it's just a given that everything works. Well, was... So now I actually did bring my adapter even in cases when I didn't need my headphones. Which was another source of (2).

The above inconveniences all assume that it works as expected when you do have your adapter. But it doesn't. You can not charge and listen to music at the same time and while I love USB-C to bits it is way too clunky to be used while in your pocket. The connector did actually start to show signs of wear from having the adapter connected while walking. Luckily I had no issues charging my device but I actually don't know if data still worked.

Think about it, that alone is also completely unacceptable.

And that's all assuming that it would be kind of okay to even have an adapter at the end of your cord, even that just isn't.

See (1).

Get into a friends car which only have aux input, try to connect to an older receiver, tv, boombox or computer speakers. I do this almost daily, so i have to loose several posibilities for the added convenience of what exactly?

There are more and more phones produced without a headphone jack: https://smartphones.gadgethacks.com/news/always-updated-list...

Parent was probably referring to the fact that phones still have usb-c/lightning ports and you can plug usb-c/lightning headphones to them just fine. The port is not dedicated but as long as you are not charging it works identically to the old headphone jack.

Of course since most of the issues seem to come from things like interaction with cars, and GPS tends to quickly drain battery thus strongly encouraging using a charger, and therefore lack of a headphone jack makes getting audio in the car much more difficult... well, that "as long as you are not charging" is a pretty big negative. And that's ignoring all the various issues Bluetooth has, like some apps (eg Waze) utterly failing to output sound over Bluetooth most of the time.

Is it really common to use headphones in the car, though? The last few cars I've owned, I plugged my phone into the radio with USB and it both charged the phone and played music as well.

Lots of cars don't support transfer of audio via USB but do have an AUX socket.

I think OP was talking about people plugging between the headphone socket of their phone and the AUX input of the car stereo - not wearing headphones in the car.

It is _very_ common to charge the phone and listen to the music at the same time. Maybe only for me ... But I won't ever buy these 1-port-for-everything devices.

Then you have to chose between charging your phone or tablet on a plane on a long trip vs using it...

The iPhone allows the ability to use old headphones if you use an adapter. So you have to remember to carry that with you. You then have to buy another adapter to charge the phone at the same time as using the headphones. Say you want to use YouTube, but not pay for Red, Unlimited, or whatever they call it now. You have to leave the screen on, which means eating the battery. Two dongles or you run the risk of running your phone down.

Can I just say how insane it is Youtube charges you for the privilege of turning off your screen? I remember the original iPad did this for free. How is this the world we made for ourselves?

Welcome to the new mobile computing world. The only features you can have are those explicitly allowed by the software vendor.

Works on NewPipe...

If you think that's bad I'd like to introduce you to the hell of pairing garage remote receivers to your car's honelink enabled rearview mirror.

Don't get me started on the cryptic pairing manual in the glove compartment.

I'm not an eldery, and I prefer a jack socket. I just don't get the benefit of bluetooth in most situations.

Jacks are more reliable and definitely plug-and-play. Unless it has a physical failure, your jack socket always just works. As you state it, bluetooth requires you to "Turn on Bluetooth on your phone, then turn on your headphones, then hold down the button to pair, etc", for no benefit. Oh, and now you need batteries on your headphone.

Look at professional musicians: you won't find anybody connecting his guitar to the amp through bluetooth. They are using good old wires and jack sockets: why is that? Are they too old?

>why is that? Are they too old?

Latency. When you're making music and interacting with it directly, you can't afford any noticeable latency. When you're passively listening to it, that doesn't really matter. For phone/tablet users the main place this matters is games, due to their interactive nature.

Reliability, too. I don't trust bluetooth at all.

And price: a jack is dumb tech and cheap (cheap anough that I always had about 10 extra jacks of all kinds with me when I was doing a gig).

But to be fair, wireless transmitters/receivers do exist for musicians. They don't use bluetooth ofc, but that means that the latency can be bearable with wireless. It's made for live playing though (freedom of movement), no point using that in studio

Yup. It's not the radio that causes the latency, but the software stack. You absolutely can make low-latency and just-works wireless solution for musicians, but it's name will not be Bluetooth.

Reliability is huge.

The bluetooth implementations all suck. My $40k car is about as reliable and predictable from a bluetooth perspective as Chinese knock-off Jawbone copycat from 2007.

WHY is this still the case? I mean, Bluetooth is fundamentally just a communications protocol broadcast with some kind of antenna. Yet I don't have these kinds of issues making wifi or cell service work.

Who decided to use such a flaky protocol for audio and such, and then remove the reliable connection?

The problem with Bluetooth is the stack is too complex. Too many application-specific profiles baked directly into the protocol, which in turn need to be dealt with by device manufacturers. Bluetooth basically handles everything from OSI Layer 1 through 6 at the same time. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Bluetooth_profiles

Add to that great complexity at Layer 1, and constantly changing specs. Bluetooth 1, 2, and 4 are all radically different than each other.

Compare with WiFi, which only has to do one thing (Layer 1-2). Cellular is much more complex, but that's why releasing a new phone involves endless rounds of (usually mandatory and very strict) carrier certification.

The RJ-45 connector is an open standard that can carry basically anything—internet, video, audio, low-level data, etc—at a high bandwidth and with low latency. Why can't we have a wireless standard that does that?

I want non crappy Bluetooth mice that don't require a separate USB dongle. :(

Edit: To be clear, I'm sure ethernet cables are an entirely different thing and there's actually a very good reason why wireless makes everything more complicated. But, well, maybe that's one of the reasons people would like to stick with wires.

It’s like many things designed by committee of stakeholders with very different needs.

Everyone gets what they want, except for the end user!

Yeah, it's all for freedom of movement at shows.

Even though wireless transmitters have gotten a lot better than previous times (in the 1980s one of the Spinal Tap spoofs was getting radio interference in their wireless guitar system if I recall correctly), now using similar frequency bands wi-fi does with proprietary protocols from what I see (definitely not Bluetooth!)... you still see reviews of reliability problems in some circumstances. You'd definitely want to carry around a standard guitar cable as a backup if you have one.

I do like wireless, for a different kind of reliability: never ever having to worry that I'm going to snap off the plug in my phone, pull the jack off the circuit board from sitting on it wrong, whatever. When I sit down on the train, last thing I want is to sit on my phone wrong and wreck the phone and the headphones at the same time.

Moving parts and physical connections are fragile. Wireless connections solve that fragility. Agreed that pairing sucks, but that's a solvable problem.

I personally think the 3.5mm TRS jack is more reliable than Bluetooth :) but I would like to comment that this is not the most durable jack out there, so the relative fragility of 3.5mm also is a solvable problem.

The music industry standard for instrument cables is 1/4" TS for unbalanced instrument audio, 1/4" TRS for a few things like monitoring headphones, and XLR cables for most everything else. XLR in particular is a very durable system, unless you get a very badly made XLR cable or jack I would never call this system "fragile". Even 1/4" is quite an improvement durability wise over 3.5mm.

XLR is not exactly a very portable jack, but a mini-XLR jack does exist -- not as portable as TRS 3.5mm, of course. But if increasing jack durability is such a concern on a more portable device, this connector is an option. Same with using 1/4" TRS, this is a connector which has the advantage of having more headphone options with this option built in (most headphones marketed for studios should be 1/4" TRS or at least have that option).

None of the above are as portable as 3.5mm and I think this connector is "durable enough" to where I doubt it is such a priority for most phone consumers to give up some phone thickness for better durability. But in professional music applications there is a reason why 3.5mm is relatively rare.

Well, you can always sit on your phone wrong in the train (or do something physical 'wrong') and wreck 'something' (most likely the screen - coincidental evidence i've seen more phones with broken screen than ones with broken headphone jacks), headphone or not. Why aren't you advocating for the removal of screens from phones?

Why are you sitting on your phone, in the first place?

While I'm not the most careful person in the world, I'm also not the most incautious; I think it's probably not an uncommon experience for people who do regularly ride trains--e.g. those of us living in big cities where you commute by train instead of your car--that you sit and you realize you're sitting on your coat in an odd way that's got your phone in the pocket underneath you where you're sitting.

I mean, at some level, come on and use your imagination. People riding the metro don't always have total control over getting their belongings situated properly when the train's packed and there's a lot of bustling around. I assure you this experience is not unique to me.

That's weird, it took me half a year (commuting daily) to go from "carrying phone in jeans' back pocket is practical" to "I have to take out phone from the pocket _every time_ before I sit". No problems ever since. But I guess I learn fast ... Unless it's setting up some wireless crap.

Hey that's great. You know what? With the wireless earbuds, I never have to think about that again. I can throw my phone in my pocket, any pocket, and leave it there while I get crammed into a metro car.

So, I guess there are tradeoffs -- and fixing pairing means everyone can enjoy freedom from one more wire, while keeping on using a wire means we keep adapting our behaviors around a wire.

Don't forget that you can still have a headphone jack AND bluetooth, the problem here is the removal of one as i'm sure many people would be mad if nex gen phones would dump bluetooth and use wired-only audio.

I am looking forward to the day when the pairing will be fixed ...

I wouldn't call wireless "not fragile". It is notoriously unreliable (connection dropping problems, pairing problems, etc).

And speaking of latency, technology has broken in another respect here: rhythm games. If I play Dance Dance Revolution from a PS2 on a flatscreen, they add so much lag that the visuals are unusable, even in video game mode. Others have told me they have the same problem even on games for newer consoles intended to played on such TVs.

So I end up needing to find a CRT to play them.

I also saw this on the Nintendo Wii emulations of SNES games on new flatscreens.

Audio and display lag in rhythm video games is a 100% solvable problem provided:

1. The amount of lag is consistent (check, as long as you're not using Bluetooth)

2. The game is not key-sounded (pass for DDR)

3. You know how much lag there is.

Since rhythm games are deterministic, you can just offset the visuals and audio output to compensate for the delay. Keysounded games are imperfect, but it's rarely an issue unless there's a lot of lag.

The real problem is #3. Without extra, expensive equipment, there's no way to know exactly how much lag there is. It's annoying that the only real problem comes down to an inability to measure.


You'd think HDMI would be able to use ARC to send a signal back, since the TV would know the exact moment it is displaying the image.

You could also solve the problem with a hardware database. For instance, I know my projector is delayed by 22ms because multiple reviews mentioned it, so that's the value I use in Project Diva. You can't find this info for most TV's.

Unfortunately, no one with the resources to really tackle this problem seems to care enough to do it.

I should also note that what many games do do is offer some type of user calibration, ie, press the notes with as good timing as you can manage, and we'll assume the average is the amount of delay in your setup. This kind of works sometimes, but it's imperfect for obvious reasons.

Actually, thinking about it again, the reason it isn't sent back via ARC is probably because actual lag time seems to be something that manufacturers don't want to share.

After going through the rigmarole of choosing a new TV recently, TV manufacturers seem very keen on discouraging actual comparison of specifications.

I don't think adding your own lag solves it. The game is still expecting you to hit the buttons at its own correct time. Even if you lagged the sound to match the screen, the game would think you're wrong. And you can't get the image from before the console outputs it.

You adjust the timing window. If the display adds 20ms of lag, you expect the player to press 20ms later.

This wouldn't work for most games, because in, say, Mario Kart, the world needs to immediately react to the player's input. But in a Rhythm game, no one will notice if the visual feedback comes in a few ms late, as long as inputs are being read at the perceived-correct time. (Delayed audio feedback may be slightly noticeable in particularly bad cases, hence my note about key-sounded games.)


1. This doesn't make the timing window more forgiving. Presses made at +0ms are counted as too early, because it is too early on the player's display.

2. I say "display" for simplicity, but IRL it's often a mistake to assume that audio and the display are delayed by equal amounts.


Edit: To be clear, you can't fix this—the developer has to add user-adjustable latency settings. PS2 games designed for zero-latency CRTs and will never work properly on laggy LCD screens.

New games, however, usually let you adjust for latency. Although, they often make the mistake of not accounting for audio latency, or not allowing visuals and audio to be adjusted separately.

Btw, I've heard that the newer Rockband games in particular can auto calibrate for latency via hardware built into the peripherals.

Right, the PS2 games don't have that option and even when they do it's not a complete solution.

It's still pretty depressing that they've added so much cruft that the overhead and resultant lag are an issue at all.

Display latency sucks, but I'm a little sympathetic in the particular case of rhythm games, which can have timing windows as small as 15 milliseconds (e.g. for a "Marvelous" in Dance Dance Revolution).

For comparison, for Virtual Reality ≤ 20 milliseconds is usually considered the target latency.

And Playstation 2 developers couldn't have predicted how display technology would change.

It wouldn't matter at all if they didn't add noticeable to an already-computed image.

Remember, this is lag added by the television software, not the PS2 system. We know this because if you take the pure hardware approach of component cables, there's no noticeable lag.

VR has an excuse. VR has to do an expensive computation to decide where all the pixels have to appear to seem real to the human eye. The TV just has to take a signal and display it on the screen. That's the identity function.

>And Playstation 2 developers couldn't have predicted how display technology would change.

Rather, they couldn't have predicted slowness of upscaling and refusal to implement an optimize-for-time option.

Don’t forget video. Bluetooth adds latency, and “true wireless” (no cable between the earbuds) adds another layer of latency as the signal has to be sent from one earbud to the other. Noticeable enough that you have to manually add delay between the video and audio tracks, if your player allows it.

Exactly. I bought Bluetooth headphones to listen to music at work & home, and it was all fine... until I decided to watch some TV shows in my free time. It was then that I realized I have 0.5 - 1.5s lag in audio (growing with time), which made movies unwatchable. Very quickly I bought two pairs of wired headphones instead.

Something very wrong in the stack there. There should be a delay in the video in order to compensate for the latency sending the audio to your ears (Bluetooth does not add much here but it all adds up) and you should experience no latency.

> and “true wireless” (no cable between the earbuds) adds another layer of latency as the signal has to be sent from one earbud to the other.

This can be solved if both earbuds connect directly to the main device, no? This is how the Airpods work.

>I just don't get the benefit of bluetooth in most situations.

Aside from exercise, there isn't one.

OTOH, as you note, there are a large number of serious drawbacks -- battery failures being the biggest and most obvious. The other thing is that, heretofore, you could rely on a dumb audio jack if you wanted to play music with almost any device. Now you're limited to things with Bluetooth, and you have to extend some amount of trust in making that connection.

I use almost exclusively higher-end headphones -- say, $300 and up. Bluetooth has effectively zero presence in that market. There's a reason for this.

I also own AirPods, but their job is about 60% gym and 40% conversations. For serious listening, I reach for the Grados or the Etymotics or the Sennheisers.

Far too much of my life has already been wasted on pairing, unpairing, and re-pairing various Bluetooth devices. And I don't even use Bluetooth headphones.

Look at professional musicians: you won't find anybody connecting his guitar to the amp through bluetooth.

The first example that comes to mind is Angus Young, who has said that he considers his wireless rig to be part of his "sound". If any rock musician qualifies as "old", well, Angus ain't running around on stage like he used to. Anyway, that's just one example. Pros use wireless rigs all the time. They're not BT, though.

And they don't have some of the audio problems the blue tooth and USB have.

I am having a lot of trouble with my works laptop /docking station using usb for skype - To the point where I am going to try brining in a real sound card and use one of my Shure dynamic mics with a 1/4 inch jack

Squelchy artifacts in music were noticeable over bluetooth in a 2016 model year rental I drove recently. Sound quality was definitely superior with an aux cable. I will almost certainly never buy a phone without that jack.

> Unless it has a physical failure, your jack socket always just works.

What does that mean? What would it mean if I said "Unless it has a physical failure, your car always just works"?

I've had lots of problems with wired headphones and jacks. More often it's the headphone that's the problem, but I've have several issues with the jacks themselves. They can get stuff jammed into them, but they can also just not work properly. I don't know why exactly, but I've had it happen.

> What does that mean?

It means you can have two perfectly functional wireless devices and not be able to make them communicate at all, but it won't happen with an analog wired connection.

Surely you wouldn't accept "Unless it has a connection failure, your wireless headphones alway just work". Because it's implying it has more reliability than it actually has. And the reality is that wired headphones don't always just work either. I've had heaps of problems with the headphones themselves, and several instances of issues with the jacks.

Apple designs experiences, and your argument (which is a valid one) boils down to your use cases align with Apple's target. Like anything, wireless have pros and cons.

The big pro is that it's fully portable and gives you a freedom of movement that is difficult to match. Most of the cons are associated with poor care (corrosion, stuff jammed in there) or poor quality devices (which is a "con" shared with wireless).

There are real cons as well. Wireless devices are 5x more expensive than a wired device of equivalent quality, is susceptible to a variety of forms of interference, introduces pairing problems particularly as devices age (ie. A 6-10 year capital asset like a 2014 Honda Odyessy may randomly not work with your iPhone Xs), higher latency, unpredictable latency with different endpoints, etc.

The rage issue here is that by taking away the jack, your profoundly reduce the flexibility of the device. The only meaningful benefit is to drive revenue for Apple's secret weapon -- high margin accessories. Those $30 earbuds have a cost that is probably <$3.

I mostly agree with your comment, but not this part

> The only meaningful benefit is to drive revenue for Apple's secret weapon -- high margin accessories. Those $30 earbuds have a cost that is probably <$3.

As I've argued in many other places in thread, removing the headphone jack will speed the adoption and price-reduction in wireless headphones. While this is not a pro for a lot of people, it is for others, including myself.

I don't agree with the argument that the only thing is to drive revenue to Apple, as there are many different brands of wireless headphones, just as there are with wired headphones. I own non-apple bluetooth headphones.

I can see your perspective here, but I think that's an effect, but not the Apple strategy. Particularly given that they "just happened" to release magical wireless earbuds at the same time!

Apple doesn't need to own the whole wireless vertical, but they are adept at cross selling within the product line.

Don’t forget having to have them charged to use

Eeehhh...wireless is a usual thing in the music industry, just not via Bluetooth.

I think the problem, in the specific audio area, is the technology itself rather than accessibility.

The Bluetooth standard is trash; no stack/device [combination] just works as it's supposed to do.

If BT worked, I think accessibility would pose no problem; ultimately, the intended workflow is: 1. turn on BT on the host device (if required); 2. turn on the client device; 3. listen to music.

As the BT committees and implementers keep pushing features rather than taking care of the stability, for a stable BT to ever happen, it would require all of them to be exiled and replaced by a new generation; I don't think this will ever happen.

> 1. turn on BT on the host device (if required); 2. turn on the client device; 3. listen to music.

how does that work in a crowded space, e.g. public transport, where I'd wager most people are using BT headsets nowadays ?

Generally quite well. Pairing means your devices know to look for eachother, and the bitrate of music streaming over Bluetooth combined with the low range means you'll need some unrealistic congestion before things really start to fail.

unrealistic congestion before things really start to fail.

aka public transit...

Or any busy street crossing with lots of cars.

On the one hand, that suggests either shitty Bluetooth devices you're using, or some pretty unusual density of Bluetooth users in the crowd.

On the other hand, this is what mass adoption of wireless headphones will lead to, and it shows how ridiculously bad this is compared to the tried-and-true wire.

I've never run into Bluetooth congestion problems on public transit or busy streets. BT has a lot of problems, this really isn't one of them.

There are some BT devices that have poor antenna designs and underpowered transcievers, where the proximity of other humans — or even your own body — can significantly attenuate the signal. But this isn't a problem with the spec itself, and there's plenty of devices that have shown it's possible to do it right.

BT runs into congestion issues quite often in my experience. I’ve experienced connectivity issues in areas where there are a lot of wireless networks.

Considering that WiFi and Bluetooth both run at near 2.4GHz - I’d assume that areas with a lot of wireless networks could (and have in my experience) interfere with BT.

This wasn’t limited to 1 set of devices though. Tried it with my AirPods and a pair of NC Sennheiser headphones. Both cause issues when walking into busy (in terms of WiFi) areas.

Everyone on a bus could be using BT and you're still not at enough people for connections to drop.

but that's the pairing step which was touted as problematic for users


Seems like it's possible for bluetooth to handle up to 78 users in 10m space without interference.

BT is on the same 2.4 GHz band that most Wifis use, and I can tell you from personal experience that there can be interference. Given how ubiquitous Wifi is, the available bandwidth for BT devices will most definitely not be able to serve the theoretical maximum of users in any given space.

I hit BT congestion every day. I don't care about theoretical maximum users. When I get into various parts of the city centre BT is worthless. I've switched back to cable.

NFC based pairing is already a thing, reducing your 3 steps to 1 step. It's however not supported everywhere.

It's not supported everywhere, including that one platform that kickstarted our descent into headphone-jack-less hell.

(Hint: it starts with an "i" and ends with "Phone".)

There is a good supply of Chinese phones that include a headphone jack. If the iPhone is a product you don't like, just buy another phone. It will be cheaper and will do the same and probably more.

It may take a while to get used to a different OS, but I've seen my parents switching between iPhone and Android without problems so I don't think your father (about the same age) will have more difficulties.

One would think Android phone makets would take this as opportunity given the massive uproar. But instead they are absolutely determined to blindly follow Apple off the cliff. Now many major Android phones have not only removed headphone jack but even introduced unnecessary notch even though they don’t have FaceID!! The lack of independent thinking is stunning among leading Android phone makers and very sad thing for consumers in this duopoly.

Aren't you only thinking of a few expensive "flagship" Android phones? I don't think the vast majority of recent Android phones have followed either of those two innovations.

I wish. It's everywhere. When I went phone shopping this year, my criteria was 1: not a phablet 2: Headphone jack 3: No notch. My options in the $500+ market* were... the Galaxy S9. And it's likely the S10 will be swapping its headphone jack for a cutout notch.

*$500 for a phone is suddenly midrange- let's not forget phone prices shot up 25% on average in the last 2 years, likely because other manufacturers realized Apple could get away charging $1000 for a phone and followed along.

Oh, maybe I'm just naive about what expensive means, then. :P I typed this on my non-notched, audio-jacked, ~80 USD Huawei Y5 Pro, that I'm very happy with.

Phones have long since left functionality for fashion. The notch is in season this year, no one cares why.

Notch is not for FaceID, wtf. It's because they need space to put the frontal camera and the proximity sensor.

I think the US gov just decided that Chinese phones are not to be trusted. At least Apple has a small semblance of privacy in China.

> At least Apple has a small semblance of privacy in China.

No, they don't. China doesn't even let AWS operate in China without having all the network traffic filter and land in China. Nothing about the Apple network is different. Still towers in China, still servers in China.

I'm preparing to jump ship. I think my phone has 18-24 months left in it, but I'm already refraining from getting locked in into iOS-only apps, even though (e.g.) I just discovered Omni products which seem, forgive my french, amazeballs.

The problem is that App Store performance is a much noisier feedback channel back to Cupertino.

Personally I feel like makers saw an opportunity on 1) boost sales on new headphones 2) get rid of the cable hanging around. I can understand and feel your fathers frustration trying to use wireless headphones, on the other side if they never ever get rid of the headphone jack then users are going to end up never getting trained on how to use wireless headphones. Generally with leaps in tech there are leaps in reduced accessibility for older people, and with how fast tech is changing I can’t see the current older generation getting more familiar with tech. Although give it a generation more and people that are currently 40 will be able to adapt new tech much easier and accessibility is going to be much less of an issue for the foreseen future.

Also at the end of the day I think there are adaptors that convert the jack into whatever port your phone has. I know it’s not ideal as you get more pieces to carry around and you might lose them but again there is a solution.

Also I have to state the fact that I was highly against not having a headphone jack as I own several pairs of good headphones with jacks and also I just didn’t like that change. I adapted and tbh I am much happier with Wirless headphones right now and not having those cables around me. Battery life could improve which am sure it will with time and I won’t need to charge them every so often but over all I am admitting that I was mistakenly thinking that wireless headphones and no jack sucks.

> I can understand and feel your fathers frustration trying to use wireless headphones, on the other side if they never ever get rid of the headphone jack then users are going to end up never getting trained on how to use wireless headphones.

But why do you want to get rid of the headphone jack? For iPhone, this is a direct downgrade, loss of very useful functionality. That's why people are complaining; while companies seem to like trading utility for fashion all the time, this case was unprecedently blatant.

> Also at the end of the day I think there are adaptors that convert the jack into whatever port your phone has.

That's the trick though. Someone's gonna make money on the adapters :). Also, I start to think this was a move meant to "disrupt" the headphones market. Suddenly the perfectly good headphones no longer work for a big and rich chunk of people, and out come new wireless options. The conspiracist in me wonders whether people responsible for this decision have any ties to people selling AirPods and their alternatives :).

The only reason apple got rid of the headphone jack was so they could sell you the adapters for $30+. I want a headphone jack, AND I want bluetooth capability. I'll buy your wireless headphones if I want to use wireless, otherwise I'll buy your wired headphones, but I'm not paying $30+ for the dongle. Instead, I'm gonna buy a samsung.

It baffles me that people are arguing about the merits of bluetooth and the ease of wireless when, in reality, it was a profit move!

> But why do you want to get rid of the headphone jack? For iPhone, this is a direct downgrade, loss of very useful functionality. That's why people are complaining; while companies seem to like trading utility for fashion all the time, this case was unprecedently blatant.

I'd say that in order to get rid of cabled headphones at some point in time, you have to start somewhere. I do think that wirless headphones is the future and that headphones with a cable will cease to exist in a few years. I can't argue that there are financial decisions involved into it and that they are not making a killing with it. But someone needs to start somewhere.

I think this apply to any technological advance we've made so far as humans and its part of evolving.

> I do think that wirless headphones is the future and that headphones with a cable will cease to exist in a few years.

This is completely ridiculous. Latency issues are not cheap to solve without cable, and watching movies or any video / playing games just can't handle latency. Congestion problems in public transport are frequently mentioned in these HN threads already, and we are nowhere close to "fully wireless world".

I hope phone makers are not this delusional ... They already jumped the shark with phone sizes, it will be getting ridiculous trying to keep alive 6y ild phone just to not downgrade :/

That's fine, but they're pushing the technology when it's not mature enough. You have to start somewhere, but the worst thing you can do is to start before you are ready, and from everything I'm reading here, and everything I've experienced myself, the technology is not ready yet.

> But why

Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward.

> Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward.

And sometimes you have to take a step back because someone pushes you.

I'm old enough to remember getting a cordless home phone. Being able to walk around the house and talk instead of sitting by the phone jack was awesome. And there was very little downside, because whenever you weren't using the phone, you put it on the cradle and it was charging.

Ethernet to WiFi was similarly good. I like that I can sit anywhere in or near my house and use the internet. There's not much downside.

But headphones? If I'm listening to a podcast on my phone, I'm going to have my phone on me. I'm not going to walk away from it because then I couldn't control the playback.

A wireless connection to something I'm going to be touching while I use it anyway doesn't do anything for me. I get zero freedom of movement from that. It just means another thing to configure, another thing to charge, another way things can be incompatible or fail.

> If I'm listening to a podcast on my phone, I'm going to have my phone on me. I'm not going to walk away from it because then I couldn't control the playback.

Every set of wireless headphones I’ve owned have let me control play/pause/skip from them, which makes up 95% of the playback controls I ever use. The last 5% I can do from my watch. Roaming about the house listening to stuff without a care where my phone is seems totally normal to me these days. I would never go back to wires now I’ve lived with the benefits of wireless.

FTR I was equally skeptic before I bought some cheap $10 Bluetooth earbuds to try running without wires tugging with every stride, and found myself wanting to use them all the time in spite of their awful sound quality so I bit the bullet and got some decent ones

What is the step forward?

Any day now.

So I am in a few years nearing 40, and I remembered when I first used a bluetooth headset, it was like seventeen years ago, so I was in my early 20s

Though it was (a tiny bit) more "magical" back then, pairing devices sucked then and still sucks.

Has anything even changed with how Bluetooth works?

Cause I keep giving Bluetooth new chances, "well it's X years later, and it still exists, surely they must have found a way to make it suck less"--and every time it's a disappointment. People still fiddling with pairing their devices, taking too much time, always at a most inconvenient moment (either in groups with everyone waiting and the device making funny noises, or when you're busy with the task Bluetooth was meant to free your hands for).

Did they fix or improve anything about Bluetooth over the years? Cause it feels to me the attitude has always been what you said: people should just get used to it better. Because what Bluetooth promises sounds like an awesome idea and why shouldn't we have that? But the reality is that it sucks too much and people aren't getting used to it.

To constrast with Bluetooth, I also remember when Wifi started to appear. It also used to suck a bit. It was often difficult to connect to, very unreliable, connections dropping, etc. You wouldn't want to have to rely on it for connectivity, so bring an Ethernet cable for your laptop, just in case. But nowadays, Wifi works brilliantly. You can bring your laptop for a presentation and safely depend on there being Wifi (or your/someone's phone mobile hotspot). Even older people can connect to new Wifi networks (at a restaurant or friends') without too much trouble. And that's including having to select the correct network manually and type in a password.

Ask yourself this: You're at a new place, there's a Wifi network you haven't used before, but you know the name and password. Also there is a Bluetooth device that you have never connected to before. Which of these are you most confident about you can connect to and use without trouble?

Why is this different? Did Wifi improve in significant aspects in the past two decades where Bluetooth didn't? Why is that?

I don't remember the transition from serial cables to USB being as bad. Yes, you needed adapters or new hardware, but USB has always "just worked". There are corner cases and limitations to it, of course, but USB was never (at least in my experience) anywhere near the headache that Bluetooth was... and still often is.

I use Bluetooth, and in most cases I even like it, but it's still way more of a hassle than it should be, especially for something that's been around as long as it has. I didn't realize it was around as long as you described.

> USB has always "just worked"

I remember plenty of issues with USB device compatibility. Mostly when someone failed to follow the standards, of course—fully compliant devices and host controllers have generally worked well together, at least since USB 1.1. But there are a lot of non-compliant devices out there. Bluetooth isn't much different in that regard: if both devices follow the spec it tends to work well, but it's much more likely that one or both of the devices takes a "shortcut" or two in the name of saving a few cents. The fact that Bluetooth devices are typically battery-powered and thus strongly incentivised to cut corners to save a few milliwatts doesn't help.

However, the standards certainly aren't perfect even when implemented correctly. The most awkward aspect of the Bluetooth experience, in my opinion, has to do with pairing. There shouldn't by any limit to the number of simultaneously paired devices. They should just exchange signed credentials during the pairing process, and either device (but typically the more general-purpose one, such as the phone or laptop) should be able to present these pairing credentials later to establish a connection. The headphones, car stereo, or other special-purpose, storage-limited device shouldn't need to remember anything about the devices permitted to connect.

>>Although give it a generation more and people that are currently 40 will be able to adapt new tech much easier and accessibility is going to be much less of an issue for the foreseen future

Unfortunately no, it will not. My father would have no conceptual issue operating a smartphone, but he does not have the dexterity required anymore, in fact he has issues just using a keyboard. These things happen with age, accessibility concerns aren't going to dissappear simply because people know how to operate the devices. FWIW, this is a man who knew how to touch-type, but as he has gotten older he is simply less dexterous. There is more to accessibility than just hoping people know how to use the software.

New tech needs to be easier and better, or it's not worth having. Forcing people to use bluetooth is not easier, and it's not better, so it' a bad idea. Period.

This is about what's good for Apple (and other companies making a similar change, plus the people who sell the peripherals), and not what's better for the users.

Which wireless headphones do you find to but up to the task of matching the quality of your wired headphones?

I think this is a wonderful point. I have elderly parents who depend on the web and mobile apps for a lot of the logistics of their everyday life, so I see the harm that this causes. The constant forced updates (looking at you, Windows) represent arbitrarily moving goal posts, UX-wise.

Gratuitous animation, new "social/platform" features, notification-spam, new "design languages", and etc. benefit the elderly even less than they benefit the rest of us - rather these things actively hurt them when basic things suddenly become confusing and difficult without warning. We've made digital technology mandatory for most people, and we've made it unnecessarily bewildering for a big subset of them, basically by pretending that all users are youngish, digitally-fluent, time-rich, and open to unasked-for "innovation".

It all started when we abandoned all the advances in UI that were accomplished by IBM and Microsoft (yes, Microsoft) in the 80s and let art majors start designing "UX".

> they've alienated so many people to find their own path when they don't include the adapter.

My iPhone came with an adapter, though. I continue using the same headphones as I did with my old phone.

My understanding is that the latest version of iPhone doesn't ship with the adapter anymore.[0]

0: https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/12/17827970/no-more-free-iph...

Confirmed - XR didn't come with it, only lightning headphones.

Well that sucks. Apple's policy of not including commonly needed adapters is a general point of criticism with this company, though. (and a very valid one.) IMO it's not an issue that stems specifically from the headphone jack removal.

I felt the same way about the adapter my phone came with, until I wanted to use the headphones on my desk at work and realized I couldn't do that because I left the adapter with the headphones in my car.

The problem with the headphone jack adapter is that it is mutually exclusive with input for the power cable.

Where this is particularly frustrating is when you are on a particularly long conference call and your phone starts to run out of charge. This happened regularly enough for me ditch the iphone.

I'm sure there yet another dongle you can buy to address this shortcoming though.

Yes you can get a dual charging/headphone adapter for $2.65.

I really don't understand people who change entire platforms over such small amounts of money. I know for me personally my investment in apps and content is significantly more than just $2.65.

It's not about the additional cost of a few extra dollars.

It's a matter of practicality and convenience.

I don't want to have to worry about remembering the phone, the charger, the earbuds AND a dongle. In my opinion it's simply one concern too many for basic functionality. Functionality we used to have.

100% agree. Relatedly, too, if they're so cheap... include one with the phone.

But yeah, we used to have the convenience of both (bluetooth and wired), now we pay more $ for less functionality and increased inconvenience. Holding on to my SE for the foreseeable.

Where can you get them for $2.65? I've never even seen one for sale.

And how practical is it to keep track of yet another adapter?

It's one adapter.

And you can permanently attach it to your headphones.

> And you can permanently attach it to your headphones.

I can't permanently attach it to everything I might otherwise plug into my headphone jack, including things that I use occasionally but neither own nor have exclusive control over.

Sure, if I have one set of headphones, and use nothing else with the jack, the “you can permanently attach it” mitigation is, actually, something of a mitigation.

Also, Apple's adapter seems (from reports, including reviews at Apple's site) to either not support inline controls and headset mics consistently and/or to require plugging the adapter into the phone before the headset for some to work. And that's not even going to some cut-price, third-party charge+adaptor device.

we'll get wireless charging at some point (though probably only if it doesn't interfere with 'thinness') and then we'll only have a couple hundred millions devices with that problem....

Hey most lines have support for Qi standard. The trouble is that it's slow. As in slower than old USB 2 charging without any high current protocol.

The iPhone already has wireless charging.

While I mourn the practicality of the embedded jack on my iPhone 8, I've had quite a few headphones in a row whose jack ended up failing due to the way my phone is placed inside my pocket, and a repair was impossible, so that was quite an unexpected improvement to have the adapter possibly fail and be replaced at a very small cost instead of a full headset† going bust.

† five actually (100-300€ price range), two of which the cord is replaceable (which I did) but how long will that specific cord be available?

You can cut off the jack and solder a new one. You also don't need specific cord, buy a new cord and add the jack. For non replaceable cords you can open up the headphones unsolder the old cord and solder a new one. Or you can cut the cable somewhere high and patch another cable.

If you can't do these things your self there is probably some cheap electronic repair shop nearby. Most likely cheaper than shipping new brand cable or replacement parts.

On side note plastic in one of my shure 840 joints broke and I managed to fix it by modeling and 3d printing it. They're working fine now. The only official way to fix that was to buy original head assembly and ship it, but that's almost as expensive as getting a new pair.

Repair is possible, just sometimes you need to be a bit creative.

> Repair is possible, just sometimes you need to be a bit creative.

Indeed, and I attempted to do so myself since I know how to handle a soldering iron... yet some of them were in-ear, one was over ear but cracking its case was a one way destructive operation; some had those hair-thin copper wires downright coated with an insulating material that makes soldering a pain, if at all possible. I swear it's made on purpose to thwart attempts at repairs.

I bet I have broken more jacks in a couple of years than during the 20 years before that. Crazy.

Anyway that doesn't change the fact that before that I never thought about having a small, cheap jack-to-jack part in between the headphones and the playing device, as using the adapter was the first time I happened to do something similar, but that's not a property of the adapter itself; or rather, DAC, really, and I find it nice that there are alternative DACs available, at which point if I always have a DAC at hand, well it's less of a problem to not have a jack embedded), but really, I'd rather still have the jack, or having the removal of the jack coincide with the replacement of Lightning with USB-C (together with the USB-C situation not being such a bloody mess) and have some new universal standard emerge across all devices.

> I've had quite a few headphones in a row whose jack ended up failing due to the way my phone is placed inside my pocket, and a repair was impossible ...

Why don't you change the way you put it in your pocket?

> of which the cord is replaceable (which I did) but how long will that specific cord be available?

Isn't it a generic 3.5mm to 2.5mm jack for nearly most of them? All headphones with replaceable cords I own and have owned have this cable.

The included adapter only works for listening to audio. If your earbuds offer a mic or inline controls, those don't.

The adapter works just fine with the inline controls on Apple's ear buds.

Not in the case of Bose QC15s, the mic works just fine through the adapter.

I have the adapter and both my headphones work with the adapter and controls fine. One is a Sony MDR-1R (v1) and the other is a Beoplay H6.

anecdotally, the adapter Apple provided me broke after about three weeks, and it seems like most of my family/friends are in similar situations

I've experienced a similar problem. I wear my headphones for about 1.5 - 2 hours per day while walking and I've found that I have to purchase a new adapter about every 45 days. I'm surprised that for the approximately $10 they charge for the adapter that they can't come up with a more durable design.

All official first-party Apple cables have a 1-year warranty. You can just take it into an Apple Store and they'll just replace it.

Most of Apple original cables are getting broken pretty much quickly. This is my experience. Why is that?

We don't just need to consider accessibility for the elderly. I need to regularly reconfigure my Bluetooth connections on my phone. They just randomly stop working. With the latest version of Android, I couldn't figure out how to even access the Bluetooth settings. When I connect some devices, they don't show up in the list of paired devices. Somehow it still ended up working, but I don't know how or why.

When I walk into the bathroom wearing my Bluetooth headphones, my podcasting app starts detecting disconnections and pausing, so I have to turn off the feature to stop playing on headset disconnect. This makes everything else work poorly. My podcast player also often crashes when I connect a Bluetooth device.

My problems get a lot worse when I try to pair a speaker or headphones with multiple devices. I often have to factory reset the device to get it to work again when switching sources.

I'm clearly not the only technically-minded person dealing with random nasty Bluetooth issues, as evidenced by this article and https://xkcd.com/2055/

This is why I hold on to my iPhone 6 like it's precious and won't install any software updates so as not to kill the battery. I have bluetooth headphones but they're a pain to charge and the headphone jack just works consistently. I love my iPhone 6!!

From a security point of view, it's really worrying that a lot of users refuse to upgrade software because of the track record of Apple making devices less usable with every upgrade.

I prefer the method of Samsung in this case, they clearly state for the monthly update that it is mostly a security update. Where Apple seems to apply marketing by promising 'the best experience yet' and shiny new features with each major version bump.

edit: typo

> From a security point of view, it's really worrying that a lot of users refuse to upgrade software because of the track record of Apple making devices less usable with every upgrade.

Sure it is, but this is what you get for not separating security and feature updates. I tend to avoid updating applications (both on desktop and mobile) for that very reason (though I do update the OS).

If each vaccination you took came with mandatory remodeling of your house, directed by whims of some "artists", you'd see much more antivaxxers too.

> I prefer the method of Samsung in this case, they clearly state for the monthly update that it is mostly a security update.

I have an S7 and my experience doesn't confirm this, though I don't know whether it's Samsung's fault or operator's (Orange). Either way, I find most updates I get to be indistinguishable by their description. I'm not worried though, because I haven't caught any of them installing bloatware. That said, from what I understand, they're still linear - you're expected to apply one patch after another. I see no way of opting out from feature updates, and sticking only to security ones.

Anyway; why oh why it's so hard to include a changelog in an update?

> If each vaccination you took came with mandatory remodeling of your house, directed by whims of some "artists", you'd see much more antivaxxers too.

I cannot concur strongly enough. (And I will likely steal this lovely analogy in the future!)

Security is important, and installing security patches is a good practice. But companies use this as an excuse to force the adoption of all sorts of other crap. I'm not willing to put up with that.

I understand that back-porting patches requires some amount of additional effort. But asking gigantic tech companies to support major releases for a few years at minimum should not be too much to ask.

In this regard, Microsoft and Windows 10 are by far the worst offenders. Microsoft develops and releases security-only patches for 1607 and will continue to do so until 2026, but these patches are only available to enterprises. Normal consumers need to either use Microsoft's problem-ridden biannual updates, or be insecure.

Actions speak louder than words. If Microsoft actually held security in such a high regard, they wouldn't hold security patches hostage in order to push other corporate interests. I thus don't feel the least bit of guilt about opting out of MS's entire update process.

Anecdotally speaking, Android, particularly from version 8, started pushing system breaking changes/bugs in the supposedly security-oriented monthly upgrades (have a look at how many users found their phone not to fire alarms anymore after a minor Oreo upgrade...), so I think this is a market-wide tendency.

>From a security point of view, it's really worrying that a lot of users refuse to upgrade software because of the track record of Apple making devices less usable with every upgrade.

A lot of users? iOS has the fastest and widest adoption rate for new releases of any mobile or not OS. Android specifically used to have awful fragmentation issues and phones never updated by the vendor 3 and 4 releases behind.



iOS 11 is now installed on 81% of Apple’s over a billion active iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices in the wild, up from the 76% adoption rate reported on April 25. By contrast, Android Oreo versions powered less than six percent of active Android-driven smartphones and tablets that had been accessing Google’s Play Store during a seven-day period ending on May 7, 2018.


50% is "a lot of users". Ranting about Android doesn't change that.

His ranting style is unhelpful but the underlying point is sound—Apple device owners update the operating software at a dramatically higher rate and frequency than any other significant competitor platform. If there is a contingent of iOS device users “conditioned” to avoid upgrades, it would be impossible to prove this contingent exists statistically.

Frequent vocal complainers on internet forums probably only account for less than 0.01% of their installed base.

Does that really mean anything, though? I'm sure win10 users update at a higher rate than that, but that doesn't mean that people are clamoring for Microsoft's newest update.

The Windows ecosystem has a far higher percentage of users running older versions—e.g. 8.1, 7, 2012 R2.

JFYI 50% is an adoption achieved in only 23 days after iOS 12 release [1]

"Apple’s latest mobile OS hitting 50 percent adoption across eligible devices in 23 days (via VentureBeat).

For comparison, iOS 11, released on September 19th, 2017, didn’t hit 52 percent adoption until November 6th of that year, taking 48 days, or over twice as long as it took iOS 12 to hit its own 50 percent mark."

So now it is probably higher, though I didn't find any fresh stats.

[1] https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/11/17965302/ios-12-install-...

50% in a couple weeks after the release.

Android was 6% after much much longer.

Part of the reason Apple has such high update numbers is due to the dark pattern of presenting "enter your passcode to update tonight" (when you select "later" instead of "install now" on an update alert) in the exact same style as the normal passcode entry screen. I'm sure a significant number of people have inadvertently updated their device through that method.

I mean, it’s much easier to update if you own the entire platform

I never had a problem updating Windows PCs not made by Microsoft. In fact, I was able to just stick a Windows 7 disk in my old 2006 Core Duo Mac Mini and “upgrade” it after Apple abandoned it.

Fragmentation! Lol! The only people who seem to care about "Android fragmentation" are lonely Apple fanbois. It makes no difference to Android users as the version of Android you run and the apps you can install/websites you browse are entirely unconnected.

>The only people who seem to care about "Android fragmentation" are lonely Apple fanbois.

First, "fanbois" is something 15-year olds emotionally invested into "my side is better" would use. Just state what you want to state, and don't assume some magical group of mindless drones or paid shills behind statements that point to deficiencies in a platform. In general, drop "lol", "lonely fanbois" etc from your vocabulary if you want your statements to be taken seriously.

>It makes no difference to Android users as the version of Android you run and the apps you can install/websites you browse are entirely unconnected.

Tons of Android developers have been lamenting fragmentation. It's about having a coherent platform to be able to know what features to count on, and not to have to support several older versions of the OS because most of the buyers are still using it.

Also tons of Android uses have lamented mobile vendors not providing updates for their older models.




"In general, drop "lol", "lonely fanbois" etc from your vocabulary if you want your statements to be taken seriously."

Thanks for the advice but I appear to be immune to this "social networks and digital media causes depression" issue, as I couldn't give a fuck what anyone thinks about me.

IIRC, Bluetooth LE devices managed by apps doesn't have to be listed in Android, since the app can talk to it without pairing. Devices not meant for pairing with the OS itself (because it doesn't offer interfaces the OS understand) will not always show in scans, because Android can't interact with them without needing additional apps. So instead the corresponding apps has to be used to scan for them, to tell Android that this app can talk to those devices.

The devices that aren't showing up aren't managed by apps. They're headphones and speakers. It seems I may have been in the wrong part of the settings app, as I've just now discovered that the area of settings labeled "Bluetooth" shows the device name and an option to pair a new device but doesn't show the currently paired devices. I thought my device name was just hidden.

There's a second separate settings page for "Pair new device" that shows currently connected devices and has the same option to pair a new device as the Bluetooth page. It doesn't let you control the current device's name, but it does have a weird link to a general connection preferences page that includes a link to the first Bluetooth one, as well as links to similar pages for NFC, Android Beam, Cast, Printing, Received files, and Chromebook.

I had a lot of trouble finding both of these pages, and the fact that these are two different settings pages does not help at all. They've really made this a lot more difficult and confusing in Android Pie.

Apple devices are shipped with headphones, which plug into the device. Does that circumvent the accessibility issue?

No, and definitely not the charging issue. The earphones may not fit you at all.

If iPhones shipped with an adapter would it be okay then?

maybe an industry standard that works like AirPods pairing?

Maybe go back to the industry standard that worked well for 100+ years, the headphone jack.

CD drives worked well for 30 years. Why not bring them back to all our modern devices, too?

They were removed only when few people used them because there was a better alternative. Many, many people use headphones with 3,5 mm plugs and it is not at all clear that the alternative is better.

Apple removed the CD drive when it was still popular.

I mean, I guess... Apple is always early when it comes to killing stuff. But as late as 2016 you could still buy a new MacBook Pro with a DVD drive.

This was done with a replacement on hand which was more functional, more reliable, and easier to use. BT is not any of these things.

AirPods are more functional, just as reliable, and are just as easy to use.

Admittedly, far more expensive. But wired headphones come with iPhones

More functional than and just as reliable as what? There are thousands and thousands of headphone models with the standard plug, many of which are arguably much more functional and reliable.

But that is exactly my point: bluetooth is a better alternative to the headphone jack. In addition, fewer people use the headphone jack than people did one year ago.

We'll just have to agree to disagree, then, because I find that there are zero advantages to Bluetooth in this case. I mean, wireless would be nice in an ideal world where there are no disadvantages, but for me, they are so hefty that it's never worth it.

It's just silly to claim bluetooth is better than the headphone jack. There are lots of reasons people use headphone jacks less. I can't buy a phone one with one, cause I want a recent better spec phone.

Well it is pretty clear that the alternative is at least satisfactory.

Because iPhone sales aren't dropping because of the headphone jack and people seem to be enjoying Bluetooth headphones given how popular those are.

Bluetooth was a step sideways. I like not having my cable get stuck under my chair wheels but holy fuck its annoying to use when you have multiple devices.

When you buy into Apple you are supposed to follow the trend. It has been the case since the earliest Macs. So it is not surprising that Apple followers simply do what Apple tells them to do and switch to wireless. I don't like it but it has value. Apple products tend to work quite well when used as intended.

As for sales dropping, smartphone sales do drop. Or at least, the upgrade cycles are becoming longer. It is mostly because phones are becoming "good enough" for many years, but the removal of the headphone jack may have played a tiny part.

What's your source for the reason iPhone sales are dropping?

Yes, but looking at Apple, Google, HTC, Samsung and recent history, I think it will come down to this: https://xkcd.com/927/ . I'm almost certain that whatever Apple developed for the Airpods will not be shared with other companies. And whatever other companies push forward as a "Standard" will not replace the Apple Solution in the near future. Even replacing apples crappy AFP Network Protocol took 13 years, until SMB finally took over in macOS Mavericks. And even then, they used their own implementation instead of the official "Standard" one.

I wouldn't be so sure - it will take years for sure, but industry has many times come up with decent standards in the past - ethernet, USB, PCI, just to give a few examples. Bluetooth as a network protocol also seems to be fine with its latest revisions, it's just the pairing that sucks - if Apple can do it on top of bluetooth I think others should also be able to.

if Apple can do it on top of bluetooth

I think the heart of the problem lies here. It's the fact that we have to pay solid attention to the UI when we make these changes- and we have to care about the UX. This thread is focusing on bluetooth, but I had this experience when iOS updated their text-message interface. I guess there are more buttons to push now, but what is missing is being able to attach a photo that you've already taken by tapping an icon next to the text entry. Now that only opens a camera, and you have to go to the "lower level" to attach a pic that you've already taken.

No big deal, right? Now, if you were going to change your UI and add an icon that signifies attaching a photo, what would your icon look like? If you were going to hunt for one, what would you expect to look for? They use something that doesn't call to mind photographs in my mind[1]. It took me an annoying amount of time to figure out this change because I was in one of those situations I was trying to get the picture off quickly.

In fact, this whole trend of replacing labels with icon and having no mouseover fallback is a huge time-sink. Now, that might have been Apple's icon for a long time, but the fact is I never needed to know that before. It was in a place that was obvious (next to a camera or something, I really don't remember what it changed from).

I mean, am I seriously supposed to know what this means[2]?

[1] http://cdn.osxdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/photos-ap....

[2] https://boilingpointdev.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/game-cen...

It's not just the pairing that sucks. Everything sucks, in every possible way (although pairing is the least problematic, in my personal case).

I have several BT devices, and I never know how they're going to work in the next month, when the next software update is going to be applied.

Ubuntu's BT stack (bluez) is well-known to be trash, however, I was surprised when my Android phone BT's stability took a dip after some "security" updates.

> if Apple can do it on top of bluetooth I think others should also be able to.

they're only "doing it" with their own limited hardware combinations. the experience of pairing any random bluetooth devices even in ios is still mediocre overall.

Anecdata: I have 19 Bluetooth devices on my iPhone (gamepads, speakers, headphones + dongles, watches, etc.) - of which, I'd say, only one gives me trouble[1] and none really were problematic for pairing.

[1] Cricut Air but then it also has trouble talking Bluetooth reliably to my Windows 10 desktop; I'm not blaming this on iOS just yet.

Actually kind of curious about this.

Because I bought the Sony 1000MX3 and its pairing at least with one device is much faster and more reliable than Airpods. It definitely is worse with multiple devices however.

Anecdotally, Sony BT headsets are pretty good (I'm currently on my fourth set, I wear them out eventually).

In my personal experience they have decent sound, pair reasonably easily (through NFC and "normally"), and the connection is pretty stable.

Pairing partner were various Samsung Galaxies.

I recommend Sony BT headphones.

That said, I also use the 3.5mm jack regularly :-)

Regarding SMB... there isn't an official "standard" implementation outside of Microsoft's walls.

Apple used to use Samba, but had to drop it in MacOS 10.7 when Samba switched from GPLv2 to GPLv3. I can't really fault them for making a change based on licensing concerns.

NFC pairing is a thing, used by a few Sony headphones. Android supports it.

> but they've alienated so many people to find their own path when they don't include the adapter.

Have they stopped including it? My latest iPhone is an iPhone X and it certainly came with the adapter, as well as the 7 I had before it.

If we're doing anecdata, my mother (70) got my old iPhone and coped perfectly happily with switching to Bluetooth headphones; indeed, she managed all the pairing, etc., herself.

A agree completely, but we're not really moving to a wireless world yet unless we choose to. The default in-the-box solution is still wired headphones.

So he couldn’t figure out how to use the included wired headphones?

I am also very strongly against having 2.4GHz Bluetooth radiation wrapped right around my head. There is a good chance this doesn’t matter but some chance that it does. No one knows. I refuse to be forced guinea pig in this wireless headset experiment.

The radiator is your phone. The wireless headset does a lot of receiving and very, very little radiation. That's why those tiny bluetooth things can have many weeks of battery lifetime on a battery the size of a fingernail: They don't radiate much energy either towards your brain or towards the phone.

(Digressing, I wonder how much radiation incidental WLAN use on a phone causes, compared to a bluetooth headset. I mean things like googleplay chancing to upgrade a few apps via WLAN while you're holding the phone against your ear.)

Do you not use mobile phones against your ear either? Bluetooth earphones are mostly receivers and are several orders of magnitude lower power than a mobile phone transmitter. In fact they're a lot lower power than most domestic landline walk-about DECT phone handsets.

Where does the force come from? Are you required to use this kit for your job?

It's no coincidence that you never see anybody with a visible disability in any general purpose Apple advertisement -- video or print.

Or an overweight person, for that matter.

>It's no coincidence that you never see anybody with a visible disability in any general purpose Apple advertisement -- video or print.

Actually you see several such persons. E.g.:

Ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPv9jFWhzGE

WWDC video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgk_Jawzdwk

Also Apple has the greatest accessibility track record (and tons of awards on such matters), and e.g. blind people etc swear by its products (as opposed to at it).

Blind person describing his use of iPhones etc: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlbIF7IOb_Q

By "advertising" I was referring to broadcast or print advertising, not special-interest outreach. None of those has been part of their broadcast TV campaigns.

Advertisement means advertisement. In a time when most content (especially video content) is consumed online, you for some reason call those videos "special-interest outreach".


> People are on average online for 24 hours a week, twice as long as 10 years ago, with one in five of all adults spending as much as 40 hours a week on the web. > > This is partly due to the rise in use by those aged 16 to 24, who average 34.3 hours a week on the internet.

You mean the same Apple that got a Louis Braille award[1] for their work in accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, that Apple ?

1. https://appleinsider.com/articles/17/01/27/apple-honored-wit...

I never referred to functionality; I was pointing out the image that Apple wants to convey in its advertising.

Or any ad, really. Apple is at least one order of magnitude better at a11y than everyone else in the industry; this is simply a nonsense comment. Nobody else remotely approaches them on this front—it may be their biggest and most unassailable moat, albeit for a tiny market that won’t ever increase in size. It’s one of the most charitable things they do as an organization.

What's the point in coming here and trying to spread lies? Apple regularly highlights accessibility features and I'm fairly sure they're among the leaders in the tech field, if not THE leader.

> Or an overweight person, for that matter.

How about smokers, while we're at it?

Smokers look just like non-smokers, unless currently smoking.

Pity about the smell.

Anecdotally often it's pretty obvious who the smokers are from skin/complexion/teeth.

Not if they're a heavy smoker...

Just attach the tiny little dongle that comes with the phone to the headphones. Then say to him that he can put the charging cable there and also the headphones cable.

Would this be too complicated too? You can get the EarPods with a lightning connector. If that’s too complicated then maybe you can draw a picture explaining it?

Not sure of the intent with your tone, but I wouldn't need to draw a picture of something so simple. As mentioned in the post, I would love to resort to a connector, _if the dongle came with his iPhone_. The only new information I can provide is, because the dongle is small, I know he'd lose it and continuously buying this connector isn't an option (hence why I tried to future-proof him)

Then you misplace the lot and you're out $50-$100 worth of kit, rather than a $4 set of 3.5mm headphones, which you already have six compatible pairs of sitting in the culch drawer.

$50-$100 worth of kit? The dongle is €10 (21% VAT incluis) in an Apple Store. EarPods with lightning connector integrated are €23 (again, VAT included) if you want the most easy solution on a like €600 minimum phone.

If you have a phone that doesn't come with a 3.5mm headphone jack, then you're able to spend €10 on a dongle to make your $4 set of 3.5mm headphones work. If you cannot afford that, then you have one of the many phones that do have a headphone jack. I'm sure that, if in the future everyone for some strange reason got rid of the integrated headphone jack and there's no company that sees it as a USP while people still want to use 3.5mm headphones, that the price of dongles will be next to nothing.

You don't have to buy Apple's dongle. I found third party ones for $1.46.

At the price you could just buy like 5 and permanently attach them to each pair of headphones.

Be careful. Many of them don't actually work with the latest iOS for one reason or another. I just ran into this issue myself after grabbing some cheap dongles off of Amazon, and I got an error stating that the "device is not supported."

The dongle no longer comes with the phone.

100% agree with this. Its pretty interesting that I almost never use headphones anymore now because bluetooth headphones require a few things: 1) preplanning/foresight in charging the headphones 2) refer to number 1.

I have 2 really nice pairs of bluetooth headphones, and almost NEVER use them. Guess what pair gets used almost daily? my 15 year old beyerdynamic DT770s. 3.5mm or ¼" plug, closed back. Not really the most accurate, but a nice bass heavy rich sound and plenty loud. they work with gear that is 50 years old and brand new(so long as they include a headphone jack). I have vintage analog synthesizers 80s and 90s samplers to <2 year old digital synths. All work with these headphones.

Apple really really really really really really screwed up here. reverse course immediately.

Use another brand phone? It couldn't really be simpler, free market and all.

Wireless things suck, I've never considered bluetooth for anything and I really, really hate my bluetooth keyboards. They have nice keys and petite builds, but I haven't used any of them for years now (one Apple, another also with great build). Can't be bothered for batteries, can't be bothered with bluetooth for different linux distros, desktop environments etc. Habits with technology are easily broken even when we don't want to. Give me wired or I'll go without. Also, Wi-Fi internet at home just sucks (IoT/SmartHome I won't even go into, much less that joke called SmartTV [give me regular TVs back please that don't look after me in goody two shoe or shady ways]). Whoever thought Wi-Fi everywhere was a good idea? Reach sucks, gives everyone on the block cancer. Let's stop spamming waves around people. They're not not noise, even if not perceived (microwaves for instance make me want to leap out of the room, it's like a screeching feeling.) I wish ethernet cables were still something people regularly setup, really wish.

I used not to hate technology, really did. Then the executives overdid it and the Wozniaks were put out on the side.

> Use another brand phone? It couldn't really be simpler, free market and all.

Well, it could be simpler, and more of a free market, if you could choose your OS across different brands instead of also having to change that, or if you didn't lose access to everything you have already bought for one OS's app marketplace.

There are plenty of things being done by the vendors in this space specifically to combat the effectiveness of the free market, because the free market is good for consumers and bad for short term company profits. Captive consumers are all the rage in the 2000's.

All the more reason to put your money toward phones that run an operating system that's not locked to one specific device vendor.

Come on. You can pick Apple that sometimes act forceful in the name of (future|profits) and you can pick Google's personal data collector with smartphone functions bolted on, and that's it.

The latter ain't necessarily true. Android without the Google Apps suite is possible (and relatively commonplace; see also: Fire tablets, Fire TV, and the rest of Amazon's Android-based devices). I ran CopperheadOS without GApps for a couple years with few issues. I currently run GApps on my new phone with LineageOS, but I'm strongly considering doing a backup and reflashing with microG's LineageOS build (which ships microG as a drop-in replacement for GApps, thus cutting Google out of the equation even for apps that would normally require it).

Oh okay I'll just call up my 70 year old dad and tell him this, since it's such an accessible option for 70% of the population.

Fact of the matter is, while nearly every single obnoxious facet of the tech world can be worked around, half the people in my family can't figure out how to turn their phone's wifi on and off, let alone something as complex as replacing the entire OS and figuring out solutions to the various bugs this might introduce.

For an absolutely enormous majority of the population, your choices are something that doesn't care about UX anymore and comes in three flavors of "really expensive" or something that harvests your personal data all day long.

Your 70-year-old grandpa would probably enjoy using a Kindle Fire. My 70+ year old grandma uses hers regularly to play Scrabble. Granted, Amazon's probably doing just as much data collection, but my point stands: Android without Google is possible, by no means obscure, and still reasonably accessible. You just have to know where to look (and come to terms with not having access to Google's ecosystem).

I think Android is very frustrating as well.

Actually, I pick old Palm. I'll buy a new Palm Treo like I did 10 years ago and it was glorious old tech. Maybe no whatsapp is a plus and I'll just use from the laptop, tell people to call/sms me during the day.

> Wireless things suck

As a counterpoint, I think wires suck. They get in the way, they get tangled, I have to transport them, they break all too often, I trip over them, they knock things over when I move with them, they blow around in the wind, they present a fire risk and a safety risk, they have some kind of physical connection which keeps changing.

Downsides of wireless: remembering to charge, and configuration (a bit annoying if you have multiple devices).

Hah, this is very subjective indeed ;)

advantages of jacks + wires: reliable, 140 year old industry standard, plug-and-play, universal, cheap, easy to repair, doesn't require battery, doesn't require configuration, doesn't get out of sync, cannot be hacked by a third party.

downsides: sometimes all those wires tend to mix and make knots.

downsides: can't move really far when plugged into stationary device, breaks a lot (at least for me it's almost always the plug or cable that breaks), cable picks up random noise

upsides: my very old thingamajig with a broken display doesn't support anything else

If they break a lot, you should find better headphones.

My JLab Audio Diego earbuds have lasted for the past two years, and I don't treat them well—they stay in my back pocket, and have experienced several trips through the washing machine.

And if they ever do break, the cost of a replacement is $15. That's barely more than the cost of the headphone jack to lightning adapter that I would need if I upgraded from my 6S.

And they have a flat cord that very rarely gets tangled.

> They're not not noise, even if not perceived (microwaves for instance make me want to leap out of the room, it's like a screeching feeling.)

I don't want to second-guess you, but that sounds more like a high-frequency sound from the microwave mechanism than anything directly caused by microwave radiation. Can you hear the "mosquito sound"? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKl_sTh0oHE

I mean, it could be, but I meant like a completely silent sound feeling, there is no sound (well, the microwave oven is noisy, but that bothers me as much as a blabbering TV, which is nearly not as much as this complete screeching silence.) To add to it, it gets 100x more bothersome if I'm within a foot of the oven, whereas being in the same room is still very upsetting and being just outside the doorstep feels more comfortable.

I recently bought a $5 pocket AM/FM radio and found that on AM mode (in between radio stations) I could pick up the radiation from every device in my house. When I moved the radio to my balls (phone), and to my bed (neighbors smart TV), it was very loud there. Sounded like demonic screeching.

Carry my phone in my backpack now, and moved my bed.

Now I just have that smart meter... that one soaks the entire house in a steady whine.

Please do yourself a favor and google "non-ionizing radiation", then realize that whether or not you have a receiver you are currently being bathed in all sorts of EM radiation. It's not harmful.

Now I just have that smart meter...

The house electrical system emits radio waves, and so do most screens, many lightbulbs, any device with an electric motor (e.g. hairdryers)..

And of course, your house is bathed by radio and TV station broadcasts, cellphone towers, CB radios, and of course, millions of space objects. Like the Sun.

So this is the sound I hear every time an old TV is on! Thank you.

> the sound I hear every time an old TV is on

Ah that would be the flyback transformer. Plainly audible to us these days now that most TVs don't have them any more. (I think GP is talking about something else btw)


Most of the time in non-old devices it's a bad (either of quality or age) capacitor whining. It's infuriating enough in itself but can give me nausea on top of it!

You write like Neil Stephenson. I'd love to subscribe to your newsletter, if you've got one.

OK, since I like to write, have more so lately, have started a newsletter before and was planning to start a similar one soon, I'll bite. Except if Poe's law comes bite me and it wasn't in earnest (checked your comment history and you don't seem to make trashy comments like me), what'd you like to read about in this style? Technology, technological change, society, languages, editors, open source? What periodicity would work for you? Also I'll go finally read Snow Crash already (started once.)

Just finished Snow Crash!

It's really good; as I was reading it I would stop and check the date it was authored. It holds up very well.

Read 'The Diamond Age'. Personally I think it's the best of his books.

Agreed. Also Anathem is fantastic.

Snow Crash is great. I actually just finished Zodiac yesterday and only realized after the fact that it's 30 years old. I'm starting Seveneves now, and it's already blowing my mind.

I've been meaning to read a number of different things, many from friends I've convinced to jot down in my reading suggestions spreadsheet.

It took a new local library opening up, and a holiday, for me to finally get to Snow Crash. I suspect I might be reading a few more of his works very soon.

I don't think I've read any of the others, though I may have started Seveneves at some point, but I did read "The rise and fall of D.O.D.O." (just before Snow Crash in fact!) which I highly highly recommend as well.

Anything tech. Your writing style matches very well with things that are frustrating, meaning I think lighthearted rants might be hilarious to read.

Yes, my life as a programmer has been in horrible frustration with human-computer interfaces. Thanks by the way!

Latency is another issue. If you use your phone or tablet to make music then wireless headphones have an unacceptable delay. It's not a huge niche but there are a lot of us out there.

The way I read it, professional / amateur musicians and iPhones are the very definition of huge niche.

Pro/am musicians and Macbooks are an absolutely massive combo and Apple get a lot of free advertising every time that glowing apple logo appears on stage. I wonder if they know this or will risk removing the jack from laptops.

Most probably wouldn't care - they're usually using external DACs anyways.

I also still use my DT770s as my daily headphones when I'm at my computer. I wish I had bought the Pro version way back when, as I believe it has detachable cables, and also higher resistance... it's difficult to modulate the volume on my desktop, as even 4-6% can be loud enough in some circumstances and there's not a lot of room for fine control at that level. In any case, I have had mine around the same length of time as you.

However, I also really love my bluetooth headphones, and that's what I use when I'm not at my desk at home. They also work as wired headphones, but I acknowledge they are not affordable to most people. A charge lasts a really long time, and they have some nice features as well. I don't expect them to last 15 years, however.

I bought a specific pair of wired earbuds with a mic to use for conference calls using my phone (Android). Now that my phone is failing and I'm forced to upgrade, I'm a bit concerned that the USB-to-3.5mm dongle for the Pixel 3 may not be compatible w/ the mic in my earbuds. In pictures it looks like it has a proper tip-ring-sleeve configuration so it might work, but at this point I'm just crossing my fingers until I can test.

With regards to your desktop, I had/have the same issue with the volume being insanely loud and my options being either on at 2% or off since everything else was uncomfortable. I found https://equalizerapo.com/ (for Windows, similar things seem to exist for other systems based on a quick google search) fixed the problem and allowed a lot greater fine control.

To get lower volume overall with Equalizer APO: install, reboot and change the Preamp line in EqualizerAPO/config/config.txt to -20 dB or whatever suits you. It should work as soon as you save.

Just as an FYI you can buy adapters that increase impedance on your headphones very cheaply on eBay. If you are looking to change sensitivity without changing impedance (which has some effects on sound signature), iFi makes the “Ear Buddy” and “iEMatch” products that are a bit more expensive, but do what they claim on the tin.

I don't know if this was the case "back when", but nowadays the pro version does not have detachable cables. The difference is that the cable is coiled (and I think a bit longer) and some parts (that do not affect the sound signature) are of slightly higher quality.

Aha, the DT770 Pro are awesome! And they do exist in 80 and 250 ohms variants, which would probably have solved your volume problem...

For what it's worth, I use the USB-to-3.5mm dongle with my Pixel 2, and my earbuds with mic work great.

I have a pair of Bluetooth headphones that can actually go both ways. It has a wired and wireless mode. The wireless mode is great for exercise and chores, but if I forget to charge them I can still use them.

Is the quality of sound still the same in the wired mode? I have one like this, but the quality of sound in the wired mode is too atrocious to even think of it as an option. So while it ticks a "feature" on the box, it is, for all practical purposes, simply a bluetooth headphone.

Not sure, but it appears that the bypass around the amplifier (which requires power) is just not designed right.

My experience was opposite. My car stereo has bluetooth and I would often listen to my phone that way because, well convenient .. one day I accidentally used the wired mode because I was charging my phone from it and boom the improvement in sound quality just blew me away.

I looked into this, and the Bluetooth audio codecs just aren't that good. From heated discussions I have learned that the AirPod ones are in fact lossless because they use a grade of codec that isn't commonly available and thus never actually have to decode/reencode or anything like that. It's digital all the way to your ears.

So maybe bluetooth is "as good as" line quality when you've all the pieces lined up; but line quality can be obtained "for free" at all times with commodity hardware. Just a thought.

> It's digital all the way to your ears.

You mean to say "lossless all the way". Also, it cannot be digital all the way except if you were linking up your aural nerves to the airpod directly. ;)

I guess it depends on whether you define "ears" as "the general vicinity of" or "the actual thing" - I had expected that the former definition was evident but forgot this was HN ...

It's digital all the way to your ears in that you don't need to decode and then reencode, thus eliminating that intermediate "lossy" analogue transition phase. So yeah digital all the way, and by implication "lossless" because of that.

This is almost certainly just a me thing, but just in case: I got some Bluetooth headphones that seemed to sound terrible wired, but it turned out to that the cable had to be pushed and rotated to lock into the headphones at that end. If you really mean atrocious atrocious (and especially if it’s Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT), this might be it?

I haven't noticed a difference between the two modes, this is the pair that I own:


AirPods require neither of these things. The case is always charging them. You want to use your beyerdynamics? Fine. Your phone came with an adapter for them.

I use AirPods. I even like them. ... but you do realize that the case isn't a magical source of energy, right? You have to charge that thing... and the airpods themselves last a remarkably long time, but they don't last that long, so I find myself having to do this awkward dance in the middle of meetings where I take one out and charge it while relying on the other one, and then I swap to charge that one... I have lightning earpods, but then I can't charge my phone at the same time, so at some point my phone starts running out of battery and I'd have to switch to the airpods anyway (lol). I have tried buying multiple brands of lightning splitters, and they all suck and often the phone isn't quite able to charge even though it says it is charging.

I honestly don't care if I have a "headphone jack": I totally agree with Apple that it was a shitty jack. It was a fragile hole that made it impossible to waterproof the damned phone. How about they just give me two lightning ports? Or a lightning port and a USB-C port, to make my dreams finally come true of only having to carry around one (USB-C) cable while still getting to be compatible with all of the stuff Apple already sold for these devices?

> made it impossible to waterproof the damned phone Was that what Apple told their customers? Because it's utter bullshit. Sony, Samsung, LG, even those ultra-rugged CAT phones had headphone jacks and at least IP-68 (5m, 1h).

I love my CAT S41 because I don't have any of the issues in this thread and I expect this to stay true for another 10 years.

As a workaround I use an inductive charger while using headphones. Not a great solution because it only works at my desk, but better than nothing.

Its not that I "want" to use them. The difference is that I could use the same headphones to record drums, drum machines, guitar, Vox, or even my iPhone. Bluetooth is great! I use it in my car for phone and audio all the time. Wireless headphones are at a fundamental disadvantage in that they have less battery capacity than a phone. Those AirPod thingys you like? great. They don't fit my weird ears. My problem. but ear buds and I don't mix. Sorry, wireless and small are at odds with each other.

Why don’t you just plug your old headphones into the adapter and continue to use them?

Because it's a pain in the ass to have to carry around another fiddly bit of tech gear which should have been completely unnecessary.

Yeah, it's petty. But literally no one benefits from the absence of jack (or at least no user), so why inflict even a petty annoyance on some users with nothing gained for it?

I don’t use wired headphones, but I imagine that I would just leave the adapter on them 24/7?

>but I imagine that I would just leave the adapter on them 24/7?

Except people often use same headphone with both - phone and pc, so you will have to remove the adapter anyway.

Thats one of the most fatal flaws. Apples proprietary plugs aren't even standard across their own devices.

I'd rather keep the 1/8" to 1/4" adapter on it. Lightning or USB C means now I have two adapters to carry around.

It shouldn't be required either way, but I've occasionally zip-tied two adapters together so I can swap between them quickly.

I think it might be slightly annoying to have a two-inch-long dongle hanging off your phone at all times, particularly on a brand of phone that's specifically marketed (and purchased) for being sleek and clean-lined.

Correct. It really isn't a big deal.

Until you want to charge and listen to music at the same time, which I wanted to do on a flight recently. I had to charge up to what I thought was enough and then put the headphones in. Annoying.

My wife also brought Lightning headphones, which didn't work with anything except her phone, leading to her using the cheap airline ear buds for the in flight entertainment system.

Alternatively you can pick up a dual-port adapter and charge while you listen:

For example, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E5AHZYA

I take it you only use one set of headphones and that you only ever connect them to the phone?

Could they have build the iPhone XS with a jack? Because if they couldn’t, I’d argue that everyone who owns one benefits from it not having a jack.

The real annoyance for me isn’t the lack of the jack, it’s that they haven’t also replaced the jack on the MacBook line yet.

Why couldn’t they build it with a jack? Due to the thickness?

I’m typing this out on my iPhone 6 (which I will keep until it disintegrates because of its headphone jack) and it is plenty thin. I think only Apple themselves are obsessed with thin devices.

Heh. No. It's about DRM. Incrementalisim is powerful. They just pretend it's not.

The 6 is the thinnest of them, 6S and onwards are all thicker

Thinness and waterproofing are the two things I've heard that lead to removing the jack.

Neither seems insurmountable, but if you want to try and remove as many obstacles as possible in the search of those two things then the headphone jack is apparently one of the simpler ones.

Speakers, camera lens, physical buttons, charging, and data transfer are the remaining ones I can think of, and many of those have already been replaced in some models.

Samsung's been shipping waterproof (or at least water-resistant) headphone-jacked phones for years now.

Yeah, I mean it's not like they need to allow air to pass to the interior of the phone. All you need is a couple of exposed metal tabs, no different than the USB/lightning port.

Exactly, I think there are solutions for more or less everything I listed, or solutions could be found if necessary.

I think the headphone jack is a very practical component of the phone, and miss it regularly, but removing it does remove a few limitations on the designer.

At some point, in perhaps the not too distant future, I wouldn't be surprised if phones had been reduced down to look like not much more than a piece of glass. Maybe even a piece of flexible glass!

That's definitely been the trend for a while now, and things like edge to edge screens and wireless charging move us further in that direction. Thankfully neither of those seem to have necessitated the removal of some other function. There have been other casualties other on this path to simplification, such as the removal of the physical home button, but I don't think any which leave as big a gap as the headphone jack.

That would definitely be cool, we see them fairly often in modern scifi films/shows too nowadays.

Can't be thinness because the thinnest iphone ever is the 6s, which has a headphone jack and it can't be waterproofing because android makers seem to do waterproof phones with jacks just fine some of them even thinner than iphones too.

Nooo. Don't take my headphone port from my MBP!

In my home office, I have it wired to my simple mixer and amp with which two other computers also connect to. And from that split into my speakers and a pair of headset.

All non-digital and no USB involved with other things that can go wrong. I am no Hi-Fi buff, I just like one volume and power button when I need to silence or amp things.

Whilst commuting on the train I also use the headphone jack, even though I also have a Bluetooth headset, but it is limited to two sources which are already used up by my iPad and phone.

I don't want to yet again swear internally whilst standing on a busy tube with 1000 other people with Bluetooth devices, and having to reset the pairing on my iPad/iPhone.

Ps. I have an old phone with a 3.5mm jack, but I never use it. I use audio on my phone only when commuting or walking and then use Bluetooth. But my old iPad and MBP are stationary so I only use 3.5mm devices with them.

>Wireless headphones are at a fundamental disadvantage in that they have less battery capacity than a phone.

I’ve been using a pair of beats for over a year now, and have never run out of batteries with them, even on multi-leg long haul flights. I use them constantly, and almost exclusively charge them when I have to go to a meeting, which doesn’t usually happen more than once a day. I used AirPods before then and their battery life was even better.

> Your phone came with an adapter for them.

Not anymore


Removing this dongle is Apple's next "act of courage" :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_fvQpyuK78

"AirPods" also cost about the same as one of my phones (a Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 running LineageOS [1]) which comes with a 3.5" jack. With one fell swoop I get a phone which does not phone home (other than through the radio firmware blob of course), which runs for a week on a single charge and connects to all those things with 3.5" jacks which I happen upon, be it headphones or cassette adapters or older car radios without bluetooth.

To paraphrase some marketing slogans from the days of yore:

IBM said "Think" [2]

Apple said "Think different" [3]

I say "Think wisely"

[1] https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/whyred

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_(IBM)

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_different

I have had mixed results with AirPods on a 2015 MacBook Pro. The earbuds themselves are great, the case is great, but they just don't know how to bluetooth with the laptop of the same company. Every time I put them on, the hunt for a BT connection starts. Sometimes I have to reboot my computer to make them work. It's such a shame that a behemoth like Apple can't make BT work between two of their products. In fact, it's deplorable. How could they ship such a shitty wireless thing?

Try resetting the bluetooth card in your mac, I was having problems with mine taking several attempts to sync (and my magic mouse point blank refusing). Shift-option then click on the bluetooth icon, debug, reset bluetooth card.

I know every trick because I researched many times, but they don't work. Most of the times the bluetooth just disconnects on its own right after connecting, or hangs during 'connecting'. Such a pity that these famous earbuds fail at their basic function - of producing sound.

Could be you just have a duff pair and need them replaced. Apart from this one issue with the mac (which I've now fixed) they've been flawless.

> Fine. Your phone came with an adapter for them.

No, no, no. Can we please get rid of this adapter hell? It's awful and just way too much overhead. In every situation. No matter if phone or laptop

The new iPhones do not come with a headphone adapter anymore.

What charges the case?

No need for a phone that requires an adapter. There are great phones that drive all audio gear nicely.

Those phones will win in the market too.

Cost / benefit ratio is more favorable. Has been, will continue to be, and that will be true because digital audio does nothing new.

Video does! We have great reasons for DV.

Those do not apply to audio. Ears are not like eyes.

> No need for a phone that requires an adapter. There are great phones that drive all audio gear nicely. Those phones will win in the market too.

Why do you say they'll win?

They won for me at least, given that I'm typing this on a phone with a headphone jack (a OnePlus 5T).

As someone who also EXCLUSIVELY buys phones with minijacks I'd say that they're definitely losing, considering that the brands that carry them right now seem to only be Samsung (rumored to drop them next year) and LG. Currently I use the oneplus 6 but they dropped it for the 6T so they're out of the race. It's starting to look like the next time I upgrade it'll have to be to LG and that's assuming they stick to it.

> Samsung (rumored to drop them next year)

Again? Samsung "dropped" the headphone jack once already and then decided to reintroduce it in their current line of phones. At least that is my understanding of their products with the S7/S8 having removed the headphone jack and the S9 once again featuring a headphone jack.

It should go without saying that a fact about a single person's purchase says nothing about what phone characteristics will win out in the market.

What overwhelming Advantage does digital-only audio deliver to the market that's worth the cost of transition to digital only audio?

With video, there's a lot of those. And today in the market we have a mix of analog and digital, mostly digital, and it mostly makes sense.

That isn't really true of audio. And it's not true because audio works very differently.

Why are you asking me? What about my comment, or its grand-parent comment makes you ask me that?

Replied at wrong level. I am going to leave it.

No pressure.


Late, but I ran into "posting too fast", which can be frustrating at times when a discussion is good enough to warrant more participation, but I digress.

I said it in my comment(s) above.

Video, for example, works differently than audio does. Digital video brings advantages that generally outweigh costs in the majority of use cases. Analog video, like audio, does take fewer resources and can still be indicated for projects, depending.

For ordinary consumers, DV is a general win. They will move willingly and their older gear will age out and become not so useful.

DA is not a general win. Their gear will not age out, will not become less useful, etc... Unless that is artificial!

And that is exactly why "no headphone jack" is so contentious right now! Most forced migrations make sense. This one really doesn't, and it's due to the nature of audio, existing gear investments, and the fact that going digital really doesn't get a person anything new.

Above that we've got some real spiffy bits. No wires is probably the best of the lot. That's a win, but the cost of it, when one is forced to adopt only a digital path is much higher than it needs to be and everyone knows it.

Should the entire electronics industry abandon analog audio, there will be startups who embrace it. 70's era gear remains entirely relevant. And it will, again, unless forced artificially.

70's era video is marginally relevant. NTSC / PAL at SD resolutions, and on analog gear, have a few sweet spots left, but for almost everyone, using that gear does not make too much sense today.

This is absolutely HUGE.

Put another way, the winners from "no headphone jack" are largely the people not wanting to include a headphone jack. Ordinary people can get all the spiffy stuff and abandon analog as they see fit without ever being required to do or spend on things having basically no value.

I don't get anything new, and my personal cost and risk exposure related to audio goes up! And this is true for very large numbers of people.

That's a losing proposition.

I just happened to think of a great parallel: HD Radio. It's got some nice advantages, but basically does nothing new, and it does so at a very significant cost to everyone.

Said that one would fail, and it basically has. Nobody needs digital radio, and what they failed to understand was that (due to commercials and other annoyances already impacting radio), and how people use radios, and the value of the installed base of radios out there now.

Right now, if you get one of those expensive radios, there are literally give away stations, no commercials! That's how poorly the dynamics surrounding radio are understood by the bigger players. They can't give it away!

I know I would not take a free phone, sans the jack. It's way too much of a hassle to be outside a production proven, time tested, high value, audio ecosystem.

These are all reasons why people who don't really get how their customers do things are going to lose in the marketplace.

Heck, I have not even read a single reason why it has to be done!

Big content wants it, because piracy. (laughable at this point, and that's no joke)

Apple wants it, Google probably wants it, because friendly to big content, also up selling, accessory replacement selling.

Samsung shows us it's entirely possible to make an awesome phone with the jack in it. I own one, and it is actually an awesome phone. Apple has nothing on my Note 8. (But I do love Apple's approach to user data security / privacy.)

There just isn't any value added here. Worse, the cost "savings" from removing the jack is what? $50 bucks tops?

How much do adapters, new earbuds, and related bits cost over the life of the phone? What about a person's time, existing knowledge, investments in gear?

Losing proposition across the board. Again, that's why I do not see a win on this.

The battery degrades pretty badly in a year.

While “we” are in the 10% I try to think about the changes in the frame of the “90/10 rule” (also how I consider the impact of features in my applications). Anecdotally, dropping the headphone jack (and similarly adding the Touch Bar) has negatively impacted 0% of non-developers I’ve talked to about both.

If I were a company, I doubt I’d change course immediately unless the larger data set said something significantly in the other direction. As developers are still, even with our more frequent “upgrade” cycle, not the largest piece of the pie.

> Anecdotally, dropping the headphone jack (and similarly adding the Touch Bar) has negatively impacted 0% of non-developers I’ve talked to about both.

Anecdotally, the headphone jack loss negatively impacted 100% of the non-developerd I've talked to about it. Now, I recognize the particular skew to that experience that biases it to a negative impact—most of the people I've talked to about it happened to be ballroom dance instructors or students in a ballroom teacher training program at a studio where the routine was to plug your device in to the sound system via 1/8” plug (neither keeping the adapter permanently on the phone or on the studio sound system was a viable solution for any of them, so it was one more thing to forget, misplace, etc.)

But I suspect your 100% is also skewed. Anecdotal experience usually is.

> Anecdotally, dropping the headphone jack (and similarly adding the Touch Bar) has negatively impacted 0% of non-developers I’ve talked to about both.

How does removing the headphone benefit users? Also how does being a developer affect how one would listen to music on a phone?

Lacking negative impacts doesn’t imply that there’s benefit, my anecdata seems to be mostly neutral.

The only thing that being developer hints at here is often that group is often more techie and either would be on wireless or have very strong opinions about their listening setup. But the same is likely true for audiophiles (likely skewing toward the 3.5mm).

For what it’s worth, I’m not arguing for the jack to be gone - just sharing the reception I’ve seen in my network.

The point about developers is probably fair (I don't think I necessarily agree with it, but we're an insular enough group that it might not be inaccurate).

The headphone jack issue just seems like a solution in search of a problem. No one was complaining about headphone jacks before, so in a very best case scenario there is no positive impact (you already have bluetooth headphones, you don't mind dongles, etc), but in a worst case scenario they made life measurably worse for users (you don't own bluetooth headphones, you don't want to have to deal with dongles, EarPods are super expensive for headphones; all of these are issues which disproportionately affect the less well-off of people who can't afford the headphone upgrades, which techies tend to not be).

> The headphone jack issue just seems like a solution in search of a problem.

Agreed, removing it doesn't seem like it really gained anything. It was neutral at best and likely negative on the average, perhaps my smaller network that has discussed it just isn't negative and decided to not say anything at all.

Weird, I noticed no difference between using the headphone jack headphones or the usb-c headphones

I guess I can’t charge my phone and use headphones at the same time, but I really couldn’t before either considering the length of the charging cable.

But I guess you must always be charging your phone since the usbport is occupied?

A common use case for me was in the car, where I want to be charging it but also use the audio port to interface with one of those tape deck adaptors, or just a rental with a terrible Bluetooth implementation (seriously, some of them scrape all your contacts assuming it is your car, and store them in the center console).

I also have broken or lost over 3 adaptors now. This wasn’t broken and was pretty transparently done to increase the adoption rate of airpods IMO, so it is pretty frustrating. If I hadn’t had mind-blowing-ly bad experiences with samsung phones I would have jumped ship over this.

Personally, I regularly charge my phone and listen to music through the 3.5mm jack at the same time when I'm driving (my car doesn't have Bluetooth, so I have to use one of those 3.5mm-to-cassette adapters). Using a phone that doesn't have a 3.5mm jack would mean needing to burn quite a bit more money to somehow wire up my car for Bluetooth if I want to still be able to do these things.

My 6yo car doesn't have bluetooth, and I regularly do long drives listening to podcasts and running satnav apps.

Thankfully I have a sensible phone, but what's the benefit to me in having a phone that can have sound output or charging but not both?

> but I really couldn’t before either considering the length of the charging cable.

The only place this really makes sense is on a long haul flight when you want to make sure you have fully charged phone and listen to music while falling asleep.

Absolutely. Any headphone i use has to go through a converter.

I am happy to discuss with anyone who downvotes as to why they disagree with me. My comment may be tangental but is completely relevant to the discussion and reinforces points made in the article.

I agree completely. Digital video had advantages. Despite those, analog still makes some sense, if nothing but fewer resources being needed.

Outside some niche uses, digital video really does make general sense. I hear and often agree with analog arguments. I keep analog gear, and in my own hardware projects will stay analog, perhaps also having digital, depending.

But, overall? People largely benefit more from digital video, and with the loss of the CRT, adoption makes sense. Digital only gear makes sense. I have no concerns and can easily use an analog adapter in a pinch.

With audio, it is inverted! A few niche uses benefit, most do not. They are equal or very modest gain at best.

Video gear seems to age out more quickly too. Increases in resolution drive all that, and analog limits do too. Above HDTV 1920x1080, analog has real issues.

Analog audio does not have those dynamics. There is no analog cliff to drive digital gear. Great stuff from the 70's remains entirely relevant. It always will. Ears are just not like eyes.

I will never, ever buy something that only delivers audio digitally.

I think you are onto something here. DRM is probably a driver here. if you have an analog signal, you can "pirate"...

Sadly, that will remain true digitally too. It is just not hard to tap the signal.

I think you are right about the DRM.

It will prove to be a waste of time. Audio is too easy. Seriously.

Heck, I can make something to just write the stream to a file, and doing that is not hard. Costs less than a CD.

> Heck, I can make something to just write the stream to a file

Not so easy if the analog signal only emerges at the earpiece ...

Hint: what is the transducer itself driven by?

This analog hole is a ridiculously easy hack job with a soldering iron.

Oh true - I didn't think you planned to go to such lengths (-:

"Ridiculously Easy"? - I wouldn't go that far, but very much within the realms of possibility for a determined attacker I'd say.

But down the line .. as actual physical countermeasures become more sophisticated maybe not so.

Worst case? Couple the device and a great mic in clay.

sounds like a DRM sales pitch

Well they can go right ahead. It won't really matter to me. If they end up better than me, I just don't buy that stuff. Don't need it it's a big world out there.

That's pretty much a policy. If I pay for it, fine. But I have it in generally useful form. No lock-in. Or I don't buy it.

And I don't mind hacking to get it in general useful form. Easy peasy.

Are you kidding? Go and get that signal. Even if they pot the thing, it would take a day.

You have a different definition of easy from most people I know.

Grew up poor. "Easy" as well as, "do what it takes" do have very different meanings.

To me, a bit of work, perhaps gain a new skill?

Not only easy, but fun, cheap, all that.

What is hard is having to spend or do work just because of a business model. I really dislike all of that. It is visceral.

With you 100%

Good luck removing the analog signal from sound.

Announcing the Apple-Neuralink partnership! /s

Someone is going to make that happen.

Then the fiction we all read about illegal implants will be reality.

Try the same kind of comment in the apple support forums and you'll see what kind of mentality die hard apple fans have. The amount of "your opinions are wrong because apple is perfect" is staggering.

I went online to get some help with what was revealed to be the infamous touch-ic issues, and I was told off in so many ways ("that's an old model, you should really get the new one", "if you get flexion based damage, you are using your phone wrong", "wow, another bend-gater. Stop bending your damn phone!").

This was after internal apple documents showed that they were aware of flexion damage before the phone was released to market.

Unsolicited tip: cultivate some misanthropy so that you can relish downvotes.

That deliciousness of righteousness against hatred.

There's a few people on HN who seem to have a weirdly emotional affection for the iPhone's lack-of-headphone-jack. One guy argued that it was all worth it because it reduces dust infiltration, another because it makes it more water-resistant. (Yeah.)

I can see why someone who's never used wired earbuds wouldn't care one way or another, but I really don't understand this sort of attachment.

It's as if the presence of the headphone jack offends them. Like, what significant negative does having a headphone jack have?

A more cynical person than me would suggest that its almost like some of them are being paid.

Careful now - that's the kind of sentiment that gets you flagged!

> another because it makes it more water-resistant.

This, at least, doesn't hold at all. My last flip-phone [0] was water-resistant and still had a headphone jack - it just had a rubber cover you had to pull up to reveal it. The charging port was also protected by the same cover.

[0] https://www.cnet.com/reviews/samsung-rugby-sgh-a837-review/

I like my headphone jack but I’d rather have none than one of those janky condoms.

My Samsung Galaxy S9 has a IP68 rating (it's water-resistant) and has a mini jack port.

I just use the adapter and keep a couple in reserve for when I lose one.

Works great.

The thing is we shouldn't have to do this. The beauty of the 3.5 was the fact that you could've gone to pretty much any remote corner of the earth and you probably could've access to one if you lost yours.

Hahaha. That reads straight or as sarcasm. Well done! I’m sure there are a million reasons that the 3.5 plug was holding back the iPhone, but I have yet to see even 1/1,000,000th of them in the iPhone.

It's no wonder Apple's profits are so high.

Lets say I can buy music rather than adapters.

It's not like the old headphones can't be used without a headphone jack. The 3.5mm-to-lightning or 3.5mm-to-usb-c dongles are small and relatively cheap. I just keep mine hooked up to my wired headphones.

>I just keep mine hooked up to my wired headphones.

This works great, until...

You leave the pair of headphones with the dongle behind by mistake and spend the rest of the day frustrated because you have access to a perfectly good pair of headphones but no the dongle.

Or you stick to one primary pair of headphones and are frequently taking the dongle on and off making it even easier to misplace or leave behind.

If you’re constantly switching then it may be a good idea to buy another dongle.

If you have to switch between lightning and 3.5mm constantly, how in the world does buying another dongle help?

This is my biggest problem. Even across Apple's own line, you have iPhones with only lightning ports, and iPads with no lightning ports. If I use headphones across those different devices, I'll have to unplug and replug the adapter constantly. Which means that adapter is going to get lost.

This is all such an unnecessary problem.

It's not supposed to be perfect. It's just a solution to that problem. Remember when optical drives where removed from laptops? We had to carry an external optical drive. Some times we'd forget it. It was inconvenient. But we survived.

No, “we” did not carry external optical drives. By the time Apple removed them, downloading music and software was already mainstream. Removing the headphone jack is not the same.

> It's not supposed to be perfect. It's just a solution to that problem.

It's frustrating to have to come up with solutions, however effective, to problems that should never have existed in the first place.

But usb thumb drives and services like Dropbox are arguably superior to optical media. Bluetooth is not superior to wired.

Optical drives take up lots of space, use a lot of electricity, and have moving parts that can break easily in a portable device like a laptop. A computer like the Macbook Air would simply be impossible with an optical drive.

I'm willing to make that trade, especially given how uncommon DVD's were even by the time the MBA launched. (Although I'll note that my desktop has a BluRay drive and I wouldn't have it any other way.)

What benefit am I getting in exchange for the loss of a headphone jack? An extra couple millimeters of screen real estate?

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