The world was at shock when Apple announced its bold move of coming up with smartphones without a headphone jack. After the dust settled, it appeared the company was right in its decision of dropping headphone jacks. The advantages of giving up the 3.5 mm port have outnumbered the presumed negatives. Moreover, it also makes space for other innovations in the phone space. 2016 when the news was announced was different from 2020 when it was taken as utter lunacy to drop a headphone jack from an iPhone 7. It is only recently that the tech world has come out of the headphone-focused phase. Now Beats by Dre cans are increasingly becoming a fashion statement, and celebrities and rappers are releasing their own sets.
Interestingly, it is Apple that owns Beats, the leader in Bluetooth earbuds sales. So, when Apple confirmed its iPhone 7 was going to come without a headphone jack, it was assumed that customers were losing a critical feature “because of money.” Even knowing that Apple has released its first-generation Air Pods at the same time did not calm the situation and that surely was a huge disappointment.
Reasons for Removing Headphone Jacks
What reason Apple gave was an unclear declaration of its “courage” to introduce innovation in the smartphone market. However, a popular theory of 2016 surfaced to give another insight and that was Apple wanted to prepare for more immersive smartphone experiences by removing the home button and adding more speakers. Within one and a half years, Apple came out with the iPhone X which combined an iconic, “all-screen” design with a thin build. Although it may be hard to deduce the exact reason for dropping a headphone jack, a popular theory is that the company wants to launch full-phone displays. Therefore, it dropped headphone jacks. However, this experiment proved right in later years and it brought revolutionary changes in the market.
What to Gain from Losing a Headphone Jack
The news that Apple also removes headphone jack from iPad without merits. A lot of innovative ideas and experiments became part of new models. Let’s discuss what we got after losing a headphone jack.
1: Mainstreaming Waterproof Technology
In addition to getting sexier iPhones across the board, losing the headphone jack also affected the standards of the industry. Waterproof phones were finally mainstreamed. Before the launch of the iPhone 7, most waterproof phones came with an annoying door that needed to be removed in order to have access to the headphone jack or charging ports, with a few exceptions. Moreover, the use of waterproof hardware also takes up space, and getting rid of the jack did help make it a reality.
2: True Wireless Headphones
The market was flooded with true wireless headphones. The latest craze about the “stuff that looks cool on your heads,” is a modern revelation. True wireless headphones are what came as a result of Apple dropping off a headphone jack. They are as effective and useful as they were in 2020. It is quite hard to imagine coming this farther since the launch of AirPods if the smartphone market did not have to come up with a good alternative. It is a perfect example of necessity as the mother of invention. In this case, as well, we see innovation was bred by necessity.
3: Full-Phone Displays
Another thing that customers got as a result of getting rid of headphone jacks was practically bezel-less smartphones and full-phone displays. Moreover, this also led to more cool features. Although Apple has not hey taken full advantage of these features, in-display fingerprint and gestures readers are excellent options that you find on phones from Samsung and OnePlus. Apple was a pioneer for fingerprint reading with Touch ID as a button which is now dominating the market. But other companies have come up with less obstructive ways of enhancing security and scanning fingerprints on a phone. Touch gestures are not very impactful. However, their use has become a daily part of using modern smartphones. These advancements would not be ornaments of the market had we stuck to a home button.
4: Headphone Jacks were Redundant
Last but not the least, there are arguments Apple was shy to come out and say, headphone jacks are redundant, back in 2017. They allow for remote volume control, a microphone input, and stereo sound. All these functions can be handled by Bluetooth and other ports. Since the Lightning port was not a good solution, Apple decided to come around with USB-C Type. But it was obvious like daylight that Apple could have come out and said easily, “We are dropping the headphone jack because it is redundant.” Although things are not ideal without the headphone jack, removing it brought a lot more innovations and advancements to the market. Surely, the merits of removing it outweighed the presumed negatives.