This article was published on September 8, 2016

Dear Apple, this is not how you start a wireless revolution

Dear Apple, this is not how you start a wireless revolution
Juan Buis
Story by

Juan Buis

Digital Culture Reporter

Juan Buis is TNW's Digital Culture Reporter, and you should click here. Juan Buis is TNW's Digital Culture Reporter, and you should click here.

Yesterday Apple declared the headphone jack dead. If you’re buying an iPhone 7, it will only have a Lightning port and nothing else.

If you’re one of the billions of people around the world that still uses headphones using the analog 3.5 mm standard, that sucks. You’re either buying wireless or Lighting enabled headphones, or using the dongle they give you in the box.


I mean, I get it. Apple is trying to push things forward — even saying it takes ‘courage‘ to do so.

The company is well known for its bold moves like removing the floppy drive when they released the iMac G3 in 1998. Everyone thought it sucked for a while, but we came to love disks in the end.

But it’s not fair to compare the headphone jack to the floppy disk.

The jack, using Apple’s favorite term, just worked. The floppy disk on the other hand was a clearly ageing medium that was holding back a new medium with bigger storage capacity.

As told by John Gruber, there were only five realistic possibilities for what could have shipped in the box of an iPhone 7:

  1. Wireless ear buds
    2. Wireless ear buds and an adapter
    3. Lightning ear buds
    4. Lightning ear buds and an adapter
    5. The existing 3.5mm ear buds and an adapter

We now know that we’re stuck with number four.

Ok, so let’s say we believe in Apple’s vision for a minute — wireless is the future and all cords should be cut. Every pair of headphones sold should have the magical W1 chip and nobody will ever have Bluetooth trouble again.

In this wireless world we’re being force-fed, it would make so much sense to include the AirPods in the box that it’s mind-boggling they’re not there. They’ll be sold separately for a whopping $159, and in the box you’ll get a pair of wired Lightning headphones. You’ll have to pay up to be part of this revolution.

And then there’s the headphone adapter, which practically Apple admitting it isn’t sure it’s making the right move. It’s practically the company saying they’re not doing the right thing. If it’s going to remove the audio jack, it needs to push everyone to wireless or Lightning headphones. Instead, they’re simply enabling everyone to keep on using their old headphones.

Apple, when you removed the floppy drive, you paved the way for a new medium. But now you’re trying to push a wireless future by giving us more cables.

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