Nilay Patel, writing for The Verge:
Oh look, I won this argument in one shot. For years the entertainment industry has decried what they call the “analog loophole” of headphone jacks, and now we’re making their dreams come true by closing it.
Restricting audio output to a purely digital connection means that music publishers and streaming companies can start to insist on digital copyright enforcement mechanisms.
Good job, Nilay. You won the argument about a rumored device by citing a purely speculative feature.
But let’s think about this logically. How long will it take for the majority of cars on the road to have Bluetooth, Lightning cables, or some other input that would be compatible with this mythical copy protection that you speak of? Ten years? Twenty? Remember, the average age of cars on US roads is over eleven years old. I think it’s a safe bet that Apple isn’t closing the analog loophole anytime soon.
Being able to output audio to your car’s stereo is just too important for the music industry to lose. Apple knows it, Spotify knows it, and every record company knows it. Based on that alone, if Apple does remove the headphone jack from their iPhones, there’s still no indication that they’ll ever block support for headphone adapters. It wouldn’t be in their best interest to.
Here’s the thing, if you’re truly concerned about copy protection, I would encourage you to cancel any streaming music subscriptions you have and only buy DRM-free music. Don’t whine about the death of the headphone jack and what that could mean in the future — streaming services are already using copy protection. Instead, do exactly what Nilay suggests at the end of this piece — vote with your dollars.