It’s an interesting time for the iPhone, the 6S wasn’t a huge step up from the 6 and the rumoured removal of the headphone jack and reuse of the same case design has many in the industry ready to attack as soon as it’s announced in September.
From my perspective the most interesting part is the removal of the headphone jack, something I really didn’t think would happen this year but there are too many rumours to ignore it and I now strongly feel that this year we will see the death of the headphone jack in the iPhone 7.
For me the success of this change is going to be implementation, both in marketing and why we need it.
Apple won’t implement a full wireless system, current bluetooth isn’t reliable enough and in my testing (being annoyed when my headphones are out of juice aside) I get crackle and range issues. It would need to replace the existing jack with lightning, something that has been done before but the headphones are very expensive and at this point not a massive difference in sound quality. I feel that we will see an adaptor, not a new set of EarPods with a lightning connection. This means that any of your existing headphones will work - they have to and it would be silly of Apple not include this in the box but I could totally see them selling as an extra but I hope this isn't the case.
I don’t see a fix for this that isn’t messy and involves lugging around adaptors, it's a future I'm going to be dragged into at this point.
Paving the way for the iPhone 10th Anniversary Edition
If rumours are to be believed the 2017 iPhone will be spectacular, with edge to edge screen and TouchID incorporated into the screen so are Apple getting the pain of removing the headphone jack out of the way early? It makes sense (for Apple) but not to me.
I’d much prefer them to remove the headphone jack with a valid reason, having this new 2017 model could be that reason I get on board with. Removing it when the outer shell remains largely the same as the current model makes no sense to me, they don’t need to worry about making more space and is just going to stop people upgrading.
The more I think about this the more I could see them getting this out there and over with so that when the next model comes out this isn’t seen as a negative point against it - all the bad feeling has been done and is (hopefully) over with.
From a quick unscientific survey amongst friends and family removing the headphone jack is having no positive impact on them getting the next iPhone. The people I spoke to are happy with their 6 and 6S and have even gone as far as looking at an Android switch for their next purchase.
There is no point explaining alternatives when all most people see are that Apple are taking something away and not replacing it with something fundamentally better.
Maybe 2017 will be a different story.
It’s been done before
Yes, other Android phones have been released without a headphone port but not on the scale of the iPhone. The only equivalent that I can think of is that Samsung does it on their next phone, I don’t think they are brave enough.
I’m sticking with my headphone jack
Personally I am on an iPhone 6S, happy with my phone and unless the camera is stellar won’t be looking at getting a phone where I need to make sure I carry about a dongle so that I can use my headphones.
I would be happier with a radical new design to force me down this path, don’t get me wrong if the hardware change was justified I’d move on but I can’t see any reason why this change isn’t unnecessary at this point.
Summing up, this isn't a rant or meant to be overly anti-Apple but I am concerned that this (probably) innovative step is going to make the iPhone 7 a bit of a stop gap and removing the headphone jack to take the pain now rather than later isn't a move that I want to see Apple taking.