Removing the headphone jack is just one of Apple’s Tech advancements

Cuillin Chastain-Howley

Early September is like Christmas for Apple fanboys. The annual iPhone announcement is the most important event for Apple every year but also brings out their many detractors and people upset that they didn’t get everything they wanted. The detractors this year were especially fierce because of Apple’s highly controversial design decision to eliminate the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. However, these critics largely miss the point of Apple’s decision, as there are several credible reasons for the absence of the jack.

The removal of the headphone jack makes sense from a customer satisfaction standpoint. The extra space allowed Apple to add better cameras and a longer-lasting battery, a change that won’t be immediately obvious to consumers but will improve user experience over time. If you assume that consumers will pivot towards Bluetooth in the following years — which Apple clearly does — removing the jack for these subtle improvements makes total sense.

Also, the amount of people who will be truly inconvenienced by this switch has been largely exaggerated. The market for Bluetooth headphones has exploded over the past year, showing that consumers are receptive to a wireless future. Even those who don’t own Bluetooth headphones won’t necessarily be inconvenienced by this change as earbuds that connect to the lightning jack and an adapter for the old 3.5 mm jack will ship with the phone. None of these solutions work for people who want to listen to music and charge their phone at the same time, but this problem will likely be solved if next year’s iPhone ships with wireless charging, as many rumors have indicated.

That’s not to say that everyone should line up to buy the iPhone 7. Apple’s design decisions have made life difficult for consumers in the past, and often consumers who want to be on the cutting edge of technology have had to purchase adapters to function in the here and now. For example, if you had an extensive collection of Dixie Chicks CDs that you wanted to burn, becoming an early adopter of the MacBook Air would have been a bad idea — my mother found this out the hard way.

Journalism junior Jane Butler, who preordered the iPhone 7 despite its lack of a headphone jack, said via email, “I feel like Apple had a reason to make this change to the design … I figured after a while it would just be the new normal!”

If history is any indication, the absence of the jack will soon become normal. Apple has long been a pioneer of new technologies and one of the first to eliminate old ones. There was an uproar when the original iMac didn’t have a floppy-disk drive (remember those?), outrage when the iPhone didn’t support Flash and outcry when the MacBook Pro didn’t have a CD drive. In every one of these cases, Apple took flack for a decision that the rest of the industry soon followed suit on.

And that’s the thing about advancement in tech — in order for it to be reality, someone has to take the first step. This design change might not be for everyone in the present, but it will be a good thing for everyone in the future.

Chastain-Howley is a rhetoric and writing junior from Dallas.