Apple is killing the headphone jack.
The Californian technology company announced the iPhone 7 on Wednesday — and controversially, it has removed the traditional port for plugging in headphones and aux cables.
Wireless is the future, Apple says: It announced new bluetooth “AirPod” headphones, and also included an adaptor in the box so users can plug in wired headphones via the Lightning charging port.
This, unsurprisingly, has made a lot of people very, very angry.
The 3.5mm jack is totally ubiquitous, and has been around in its current form for 60 years. If users want to go wireless, it forces them to re-buy headphones, stereo systems, etc etc.
The alternative is to use the adaptor, but that creates new headaches, because then the user can’t listen to music and charge their device at the same time.
Luckily, Apple has a solution to this problem — but it’s not particularly elegant, and it will cost you.
Behold, the Apple Lightning Dock. It’s a bit of plastic that allows simultaneous charging and audio output via a standard headphone jack. And it costs a cool $49 — or £49 in the UK. It’s pretty ungainly, and looks certain to hamper using the device while it’s charging — and will make listening to music while charging on the go (via a portable charger) a nightmare. But it’s better than nothing, at least?
Apple says it took “courage” to ditch the headphone jack. “Now, some people have asked why we would remove the analogue headphone jack from the iPhone,” Apple exec Phil Schiller said during the iPhone 7 unveiling. “The reason to move on really comes down to one word: courage. The courage to move on and do something new that betters all of us.”
It just so happens that this courageous move will make Apple a whole lot of money selling awkward accessories.