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In the tech world, courage is the line between a booming success and a depressing failure. Whether thinking about Nintendo’s short-lived endeavor in Virtual Reality with the Virtual boy all those years ago or Tesla’s gamble on making electric cars, there’s no end to the risks companies make.
Apple is no stranger to taking risks, it gave us the iPhone and modern Mac computers, but also led to some terrible failures. On Wednesday, Apple revealed the reality that many rumors were suggesting, the headphone jack will be missing from the iPhone 7. Sam Thielman from The Guardian described it this way, “Apple signed the death warrant for the headphone port on Wednesday, ushering in what it hopes is a new tangle-free era of wireless listening.”
Removing the headphone jack is quite the ballsy move. Any time a company removes a feature there’s usually some uproar. Steve Wozniak warned of the possible move, mentioning to the Australian Financial Review “If it’s missing the 3.5mm earphone jack, that’s going to tick off a lot of people.”
Some may laugh or question Phil Schiller using the word “courage” to describe the decision to remove the headphone jack. Even Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah from “The Daily Show” joked about it. Still, in some small sense, it is a type of courage. It’s not running into danger or asking someone out on a date, but it is a significant risk. Removing the headphone jack is akin to changing the way we live, especially if other companies follow Apple’s move. It could mean the end of the headphone jack entirely.
In fact, how is Apple resolving the issue? It’s giving customers a special kind of headset with a Lightning connector instead of the old 3.5mm plug. Plus, folks will also get a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter, allowing the old earbuds and other wired headsets to work with the iPhone 7. Sadly, the only way to charge the iPhone 7 and listen to music with headphones will be to use Bluetooth. Apple’s banking on that not being an issue for most people.
For those who don’t want to use wired headphones, Apple will have their own brand of wireless EarPods called “AirPods” due out in the near future. The bad news is they cost $159, which is a steep price for most consumers looking for something as simple as headphones. Of course, those who already have Bluetooth headphones have nothing to worry about.
Is Apple showing great courage by removing the headphone jack? It’s not the kind of courage, like running into a burning building to save a bundle of kittens. It’s more the financial kind of courage. If Apple’s move pays off, there’s no problem, but there is the chance at least some customers won’t want to upgrade.
Are you going to upgrade to the iPhone 7?
Or is the lack of a headphone jack too much of a loss?
Let us know in the comments!