Apple co-founder and tech advocate Steve Wozniak is worried about reports that the upcoming iPhone 7 may not have a headphone jack, he told the Australian Financial Review. It is rumored that Apple will be using newly developed wireless Bluetooth headphone technology instead of the traditional plug-based standard. One of Wozniak’s main concerns about the new tech is sound quality.
“If it’s missing the 3.5mm earphone jack, that’s going to tick off a lot of people … I would not use Bluetooth … I don’t like wireless. I have cars where you can plug in the music, or go through Bluetooth, and Bluetooth just sounds so flat for the same music.”
Steve Wozniak says Apple must fix iPhone 7 Bluetooth or revive its headphone jack: https://t.co/E1kGJSwFqh
— Paul Smith (@SaysSmithy) August 22, 2016
Wozniak also notes that an iPhone without a headphone jack means consumers will need to buy additional equipment to allow them to continue to use their personal headphones or earbuds. This is especially meaningful for Wozniak, as he uses a customized pair of in-ear headphones.
“[I have earphones with] custom ear implants, they fit in so comfortably, I can sleep on them and everything. And they only come out with one kind of jack, so I’ll have to go through [an] adaptor.”
Although Steve Wozniak, who no longer works directly for Apple, might not be able to influence Apple’s decision on the iPhone 7 headphone jack, he is not in total opposition to the idea of wireless mobile headphone technology, as long as it is done to a higher standard of quality. He hypothesizes on possible improved Bluetooth standards that could result in better audio. Wozniak also holds off on being too critical of the company he helped to create.
“If there’s a Bluetooth 2 that has higher bandwidth and better quality, that sounds like real music, I would use it. But we’ll see. Apple is good at moving towards the future, and I like to follow that.”
— Forbes (@Forbes) August 14, 2016
According to reporting in Forbes earlier this year, the push towards wireless headphones might be to allow Apple to push a new line of fashionable, proprietary wireless earbuds.
“Apple’s wireless earbuds will have a noise-cancelling microphone system built-in to support phone calls and Siri commands. The new earbuds are completely wireless so there will not be any wires connecting between the left earbud and the right earbud…the new wireless earbuds are expected to have built-in buttons for managing calls and activating Siri. To fit comfortably inside of the ear, the new wireless buds may have a few ear gel options…the new wireless earbuds will not have ports for charging, but it may have a carrying case that charges up the headphones. Apple will be selling the wireless earbuds separately from the iPhone 7.”
So despite Steve Wozniak’s concerns about an iPhone lacking a headphone jack, there may be more at play here than simply developing new technology. Like many recent Apple products, it also appears to be about style. These developments may be an attempt to corner a new market, much as the Apple Watch has met at the intersection of fashion and technology. The Forbes article reminds readers that Apple purchased the fashionable headphone giant Beats in 2014, and that “Apple will be using some of the resources from the Beats deal” in creating their new earbuds.
Wozniak is not alone: there has been growing concern over the past few weeks about the potential of the new iPhone being without a headphone jack. Among other worries for the product line is touchscreen failures and security issues on the last-gen iPhone 6. All of this comes as Apple CEO Tim Cook marks his fifth year at the top of the company.
Is Steve Wozniak right that the next iPhone should have a headphone jack? Or is Apple pushing the future ahead, past headphone jacks (a technology that can be traced back to the telegraph and telephone switchboards of the 1800s) to a brand new audio standard the rest of the tech world will have to catch up with? Leave a comment below and say what you think.
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