Column: An iPhone 7 without a headphone jack is a plus

Although the removal of the 3.5 mm headphone jack seems like a drawback, it is actually a smart move in the long term.
Photo illustration of an iPhone 7.

At Apple’s annual September press conference last week, the company announced that the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will not have a 3.5 mm headphone jack. It’s a change that has been rumored for months, but according to a poll on Forbes’ website, 65 percent of respondents were not pleased with Apple ditching the jack that was popularized by the Sony Walkman in 1979.

The fact is, the decision to remove the headphone jack is the right move in the long term.

Apple has been ditching internal parts that they have deemed unnecessary for a while. When the iMac was announced by Steve Jobs in 1998, some people panicked because it lacked a floppy disk drive and had some new drive called a CD-ROM, if you’ve ever heard of it. Last year, people were surprised by the fact that the new MacBook had only two ports: a USB port and a headphone jack. This all fits within a common theme seen in Apple products: simplicity and user-friendly design. At the same time, it allows Apple to focus more on battery life. The fewer components inside the iPhone, the more space that can be filled with battery. For most consumers, myself included, that is all that really matters.

It is worth mentioning that a free adapter will come with every iPhone 7. This does mean the adapter must be carried around if you wish to use your old 3.5 mm headphones. You will also not be able to charge your phone and listen to music at the same time if you use a 3.5 mm wired headphone. This can be avoided if you buy a hideous two-slot dongle made by Belkin.

Although it may seem as though Apple is being the bad guy in this situation, they are actually attempting to make the headphone market innovate and produce higher-quality headphones. For example, these Lightning headphones reviewed by The Verge offer incredibly high sound fidelity, leagues ahead of anything a 3.5 mm connector can offer. This is due to the power supply available to headphones if they are powered by a Lightning port instead of a 3.5 mm port. More power allows for the headphones to use more energy to produce higher-quality sound. This level of sound fidelity is not possible via an iPhone with a 3.5 mm jack, unless it has an external power supply.

This trend will more than likely follow suit with wireless headphones that use Bluetooth. Of course, this means the headphones will probably be bigger to have larger power supplies, but it will be worth it. Apple, by dropping the 3.5 mm port, is attempting to force innovation much like what they did with the iMac dropping the floppy drive and replacing it with CD-ROM. In a few years, this will be seen as a good move on Apple’s part.

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