iPhone 7 Won't Have a Headphone Jack, Because Fuck the Environment
Two separate leaks from within the Apple's Chinese manufacturing chain have recently indicated that the new iPhone 7 will lose the standard 3.5mm headphone jack, and give users the option to listen only over bluetooth or using the lightning port with special lightning equipped headphones or adaptors.
For a while now there have been rumblings, supported by patent filings, indicating that Apple has been looking to move away from the standard 3.5mm (1/8") headphone jack on its handheld devices such as the iPhone and iPod touch. Industry rumors have hinted that Apple's buyout of Beats by Dre was partially to spearhead the movement of headphone manufacturers producing lightning equipped headphones.
Now leaks have indicated that Apple is indeed planning to lose the 3.5mm headphone jack on the next iPhone, supposedly to allow for a thinner design, and possibly to allow for higher resolution playback. The idea of higher resolution playback sounds appealing, but the reality is that iPhones already have a fairly high quality DAC capable of playing back 16 bit, 44.1khz uncompressed audio over the 3.5mm jack. I'm a professional audio engineer, and I have an incredibly hard time distinguishing between 16/44.1 and anything higher unless I'm in a studio with full acoustic treatment and high end monitor speakers.
Typical iPhone users are unlikely to ever hear the slightest difference. The odd DJ with a broken laptop that needs to plug his iPhone into a main stage Funktion-One sound system might appreciate the improvement, but that hardly seems like appropriate justification for forcing millions of iPhone users to buy new headphones or adaptors. And the idea that specifically Beats could deliver a superior listening experience is laughable, regardless of the connector type or playback resolution. Beats are absurdly overpriced fashion accessories masquerading as high end headphones. They are terrible, and superior headphones can be found for a fraction of the price.
Apple has an established record of forcing perfectly useful tech - and thereby all the accessories that go along with it - into premature obsolescence. Of course the public claim is always that Apple is seeking to bring new innovations to the market, that will end up benefitting consumers. But these "innovations" conveniently force consumers to purchase new accessories, new adaptors, and the like - pulling even more profit into Apple's hands.
The real tragedy is that this forced obsolescence puts mountains of perfectly useful cables and accessories into landfills. And when electronics go into the trash, it's a much bigger problem compared to standard waste, because electronics tend to have components that have particularly problematic environmental impact. Of course all electronics should be recycled appropriately, and in most countries this is required by law. But the fact is most electronics waste is not recycled properly - as much as 90%, according to the UN.
There is currently a petition going viral on sumofus.org demanding that Apple change its plans and keep the standard 3.5mm headphone jack. I've already ditched Apple because of their greedy, unethical, environment destroying business practices, but if you plan on getting an iPhone 7, I'd encourage you to sign the petition, and share it on social media.
New patent filings have seemingly confirmed that Apple does indeed plan to remove the 1/8" headphone jack from the upcoming flagship iPhone. Sunday Express recently reported on new filings which indicate the removal of the 1/8" jack is imminent. One in particular addresses the need to supply both audio playback and power over the headphone connection - which could be accomplished with Apple's lightning connector, but not a traditional 1/8" jack. This would allow the Apple earbuds to include features like noise-cancelling capabilities, but would still make millions of traditional 1/8" equipped headphones worthless without an adaptor.