Tag Archive for ‘Headphone Jack’

Details on the Next iPad Pro ➝

Chance Miller, writing for 9 to 5 Mac on Macotakara’s recent iPad Pro report:

The report goes on to explain that Apple is likely to ditch the headphone jack with this year’s iPad Pro models, a move the company first made with the iPhone 7. While Apple includes a Lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter to ease the blow for iPhone users, it will not do the same for iPad Pro users, according to today’s report.

Today’s report corroborates that this year’s iPad Pro models will feature Face ID, but it notes that there is no support for landscape Face ID as earlier reports had indicated. This presents an interesting problem for the iPad Pro, which is used commonly in landscape mode with accessories such as the Smart Keyboard. Macotakara notes, however, that Apple is moving the Smart Connector on this year’s models to “the lower rear side – close to the Lightning connector.”

I can’t remember the last time I used the headphone jack on my iPad, but it was most likely before I purchased AirPods. I’m probably going to be buying one of these iPad Pros and I’m fine with the headphone jack disappearing. Just don’t let Nilay know about this rumor because we’ll never hear the end of it.

The Face ID rumor is odd to me, though. I never use my iPad in portrait mode. With the only exception being the times when I launch Noisli, a simple white noise app that doesn’t support landscape orientation for some reason. Maybe the Face ID camera will be located in the same place as the current iPad Pro’s FaceTime camera, but will work in either orientation for the purposes of Face ID. Otherwise, I have no idea what Apple is thinking.

Adding a Headphone Jack to the iPhone 7 ➝

After building his own iPhone from spare parts, Scotty Allen has spent the past four months modifying an iPhone 7 to add a fully functional headphone jack.

I guess some people just aren’t interested in the brilliance of AirPods.

The Curious Case of iPad Headphone Jacks ➝

Ben Brooks:

In Apple’s mind I believe they see the iPad as a device in which you don’t ever need wires to use. If you do, you only need one at a time (either to charge while you sleep, or for headphones). Of course Apple’s preference is for you to use AirPods, but lacking that you can use the Lightning port.

I would bet then that the next round of iPad Air, and iPad mini models, you will see no headphone port.

The writing is on the wall for headphone jacks — eventually Apple won’t sell a single device that has one built-in. But this transitionary period will take a few years. I agree with Ben, I think the iPad Air and iPad mini are the next devices that will lose the headphone jack.

I think the iPad Pro will follow soon after, though. iOS devices represent a new era of computing and I think the “pro” iOS users are more willing to accept these types of changes. They’re the bleeding edge users who have already preordered their AirPods or plan on doing so soon. Apple will still probably hear some amount of backlash from them, but not to the same degree as they did with the iPhone — not even close.

I’m more curious about how long it will be before Apple ships a Mac without a headphone jack. And will that happen before they’ve been fully removed from the iOS lineup? Is this the type of feature that Apple will use as a temporary differentiator between the two lineups or will they transition both of them concurrently?

On ‘Courage’ ➝

John Gruber, regarding the video of Steve Jobs in which he makes the case for not supporting Flash in iOS:

You can argue that Jobs said it better. I think he did, too — particularly because Jobs emphasized the fact that they knew people were going to disagree, vociferously. (Jobs was one of the best communicators the world has ever seen, so that’s no ding against Schiller.) But Jobs and Schiller meant “courage” in the same way: having the courage to make a sure-to-be controversial decision when there is a non-controversial option, simply because they believe it to be the right thing to do in the long run.

It’s funny how so many people have been hung up on Phil Schiller’s “courage” explanation. I’ll admit, it didn’t come off particularly well. But if you look beyond the snark and listen to Schiller’s full remarks, I think you’ll start to get it.

What Apple did was force the issue. In my day job, I often make decisions that effect the freight process in the retail store where I work. One strategy that I’ll often employ is shrinking the amount of available space for a department’s backstock. Other employees usually get pretty upset with me for doing this. But more often than not, by the time the next truck shipment arrives, they’ve done enough work in that department to shrink its backstock to an acceptable level.

Forcing the issue does, indeed, take courage. And doing so shows that you aren’t afraid to take a little heat in order to get the desired outcome. Apple knew that some portion of users would get angry about the removal of the headphone jack, but do you expect us to continue using it forever? Would headphone companies invest the resources necessary to improve the wireless experience if Apple hadn’t given them this nudge? Perhaps.

But with all the physical constraints of handsets and everyone’s desire to pack them with more and more technology, something had to give eventually. Maybe Apple removed the headphone jack a little prematurely. But I think we’ll find a wireless future much faster because Apple had the courage to take the heat.

Headphone Jack Theory

There’s been a lot of talk about the potential removal of the next iPhone’s headphone jack. Unfortunately, the vast majority of it has been overtly negative and has focused on the reasons why Apple shouldn’t make the change. But I thought it was worth while to share my theory on why Apple might be removing this ubiquitous hardware feature.

I get it, if you’ve spent a lot of money on high-end headphones, use standard audio cables to run music into your car, or frequently charge your device while listening, there’s going to be an annoying period of adjustment. But I don’t think it’ll last too long and I bet we’ll look back at the headphone jack and see it in the same way we do the parallel port. We’ve all lived through changes like this in the past — whether it be the transition to optical discs, USB, or Wi-Fi. In hindsight, all of these moves have been for the better and I think the end of the headphone jack will be no different.

I suppose the biggest concern about this move is that no one’s been able to come up with a good reason as to why users should get on board. They all talk about external digital-to-analog converters, simplifying the device with fewer ports, slightly bigger batteries, and so on. But until Apple actually announces an iPhone without a headphone jack we’re left to speculate about what it could mean. And unfortunately, in the words of Doc Brown, we’re just not thinking fourth dimensionally.

I have a theory, though, about why Apple would want to remove the headphone jack. I think they’re going to make a big push towards waterproofing their devices and I think removing the headphone jack is all part of their master plan to do it the right way.

There have been waterproof handsets on the market for years, but there’s always been problems with them. You can’t use the touchscreen while underwater — which limits its use as a waterproof camera — and they can only go to a certain depth for a given duration. Waterproof electronics are typically given a rating, which tells you how deep and how long it can be submerged.

As an example, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is rated IP68, which means it’s safe up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. That’s great for accidental spills, but nothing I’d trust to take with me while swimming. I think Apple’s going to go bigger. I think Apple’s building a device that is designed to be taken swimming and the marketing will reflect that.

What if Apple is removing the headphone jack to further improve its potential waterproof rating and to make room for a brand new sensor? A sensor that’s capable of telling when you’re device is underwater and how deep it is from the surface. This would allow your iPhone to offer a warning when it’s going too deep or when it’s been submerged for too long. It could even automatically shutdown the device if it’s in danger — potentially saving it from harm after a few hours of drying.

This sensor would serve a similar role to the temperature sensors that iPhones already include — which allows the iPhone to display a warning if it’s too hot to operate.

But Apple wouldn’t stop there. Traditional touchscreen displays don’t function when they’re submerged in water, even if they’re waterproof. When water sits against a capacitive touch screens the device thinks that the entire screen is being touched at once — there’s no way for the device to differentiate between the water and your finger. As it turns out, Apple built technology into their iPhone displays last year that could help solve that problem — 3D Touch.

When you add 3D Touch to the conversation, things start to get interesting. The 3D Touch technology adds pressure sensitivity to a standard capacitive touch screen and Apple could pair it with the new water sensor to let users interact with their device while underwater. When the sensor determines that the iPhone is submerged it could begin treating 3D Touch presses as simple taps. This would turn your iPhone into an incredible underwater camera that could be used in your backyard pool or during trips to the beach.

Imagine the advertisements Apple could create showing a group of kids jumping into a pool holding case-less iPhones. Or one that shows parents photographing their child while learning to swim. These are the kinds of moments Apple wants to create with their devices and would be a huge selling point to help spur upgrades and lure new customers from Android.

Make no mistake, the ability to use your iPhone underwater isn’t something that you’ll use everyday. But I don’t think there are many features left to add that fit that bill. Apple has to do something to continue moving hardware forward and this is the type of feature that would demo incredibly well and would be difficult for other handset manufacturers to replicate. But more importantly, I think a lot of iPhone owners would be willing to give up their headphone jacks in favor of a waterproof device that they could take with them to the pool without fear of water damage.

Searching for a Good Reason to Remove the Headphone Jack ➝

Jason Snell:

I have a point of view on all this, but I’m trying very hard not to get mad about something that hasn’t happened. This is a tech unicorn, an unannounced feature on a nonexistent product, and it’s important to keep that in mind. Still, it’s not a bad intellectual exercise to ponder why Apple might make such a move, and what the ramifications might be.

Let’s just keep in mind that Apple has actually done nothing yet. We don’t know the whole story, or if there’s even a story.

An incredibly rational take on the whole headphone jack thing. Definitely worth reading, regardless of what side of the fence you currently reside on.

Marco Arment on the Headphone Jack Rumor ➝

Marco Arment:

Apple better have very good benefits for this that customers will want, but none of the reports so far indicate any.

Combined with the disappointment sure to result from the same physical iPhone design for three years in a row — a mediocre one, at that — I fear for the public perception of this fall’s iPhone and Apple as a result.

I agree, Apple needs a way to defend their decision to remove the headphone jack. And it must be better than “it’s time to move on” or the outcry of complaints will be beyond anything we’ve ever seen.

Update: I suppose it would be better if I clarified my position: I believe Apple should remove the headphone jack. Not just because “it’s time,” but because it would allow for thinner devices, a massive push toward wireless audio, and more simplified devices — wires are a bit fiddly.

The transition will be painful for some, but in five years we’ll look back in shock that we ever connected headphones with wires.

The End of the Headphone Jack Is Not the Start of Proprietary Headphones ➝

Matt Birchler, on Nilay Patel’s pro-headphone-jack piece:

What I do know is that every single time Apple has ever removed something from their products, the same chorus of people rise up and say “it’s too soon!” But a year or so later everyone is doing the same thing and it turns out it was for the best.

I don’t know if 2016 is the exact right time to remove this port, but Apple has a pretty good track record at getting their timing on the nose for these things.