By David Wheeler
Editor’s note: David R. Wheeler is a freelance writer, a journalism professor at the University of Tampa, and the editor of the online magazine AliveTampaBay.com. Follow him on Twitter: @David_R_Wheeler. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
Apple, don’t you do it. Don’t you dare do it.
Rumors are circulating that the new iPhone won’t have a headphone jack. Tim Cook: If you’re listening, I’m begging you, on behalf of iPhone lovers everywhere, please leave the headphone jack alone.
Apple customers have been buying needless upgrades and wasting money on proliferating plug-in ports (new power cord $53.99) for far too long. Now you’re getting rid of the headphone jack?
That’s one step too far. Just back away from my headphone jack, Jack!
Like most normal people, I use my headphones with my iPhone every day. Sometimes they’re Apple brand headphones; sometimes the absurdly large, old-school, 1970s-record-producer-style headphones. I use them to take phone calls in stereo, to drown out the sound of car horns and cappuccino machines, to give myself a luxurious listening experience.
But there’s more. I also sometimes walk around with the headphones in, wires dangling from my ears to my “iPhone pocket” (my right jeans pocket), even when I’m not taking a phone call or listening to music. It sends a pretty strong message: Don’t talk to me right now.
Connecting tiny headphones with Bluetooth just won’t cut it.
Tim, you surely know how hard it is to get people to leave you alone if you’re not clearly sporting a pair of headphones. Don’t interfere with this ingenious method of avoiding unwanted conversations.
To understand this completely unnecessary intrusion into my daily routine, I needed to consult someone who understands Apple and has been covering them for years. So I turned to Alex Heath, a world-class tech reporter for Business Insider, who has even interviewed Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
“Please tell me it’s not true,” I begged.
But Heath did not tell me what I wanted to hear.
“Yeah, it will not have a headphone jack,” he said, matter-of-factly.
“But why?” I asked, exasperated. “What’s wrong with the way it is now?”
“There are a lot of trade-offs that come with ditching the headphone jack, but the benefits for the new iPhone will be better sound quality and the device being more resistant to water damage.”
Water damage? A likely story. I can count on one hand — okay, maybe two hands — the number of times I’ve almost destroyed my phone by dumping it into water. Not a big deal. Not a big enough reason to spend hard-earned money on an adapter for my previous headphones.
I also hear the claim that removing the headphone jack will make the phone thinner. But it’s already the perfect size. In my book, you don’t get any extra points for being thin. What do you think this is — the Ralph Lauren catwalk during fashion week?
Water damage. Sound quality. Thinness. Yeah right. This is more likely about making a few extra bucks. Surely other people will have my point of view, I insisted to Heath.
“It’s hard to say whether it’s the right move in 2016, but no one thought it was a good move when Apple removed the floppy drive or CD drive on the Mac either.”
The CD drive! I’d almost forgotten! Another example of Apple disrupting my routine, ending my ability to open my laptop any time I wanted in order to have an old-fashioned listening experience. You know, the kind where I dig out some treasures from my CD collection from the ’90s — the one with the zipper pouch — which includes Better than Ezra and Alanis Morissette.
“CDs are dead. Just buy Apple Music,” people say. And give them even more of my money? Give me a break.
I turned to Heath again to explain the bigger picture of what this change means.
“I think getting rid of the headphone jack now is more about pushing towards the inevitable future, which is what Apple has always been good at doing,” he said.
Well, I guess my future is going to be all about devoting an ever-higher percentage of my income to Apple, so I can buy its latest headphones and subscribe to its music services.
But in the end, I will cave. Why? Because my only other option is Android.
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