Don’t Hit The Road, Jack


by Kyle Wall

There have been murmurs for months now that Apple was considering ditching its headphone jack. Jason Snell echoed my mindset of denial in PCWorld:

So when the first rumblings of the headphone jack being removed from the next iPhone surfaced, it was easy to laugh them off. Outlandish rumors are common early in the iPhone product cycle. The next iPhone release was nearly a year away. There was no way Apple would do something as shortsighted as removing the worldwide standard for attaching headphones to electronic devices. This was just a silly rumor filling the space during a quiet period for Apple news. We’ll be the ones laughing come September.

But alas, the rumors seem to be true, according to recent reports. And as a longtime iPhone user, I’m pretty terrified about what a jack-less iPhone is going to mean for the future. Along with being someone who can’t walk a block without listening to whatever song’s currently on my mind, I’ve been demoing, recording, and mixing music on my iPhone for years. This often happens completely spur of the moment, when I’m out at night and catch a noise I want to preserve, or have a harmony spring to mind. And I’ve become something of a spoiled headphone nerd, never going far without my big clunky Sony MDR-7506s.
So now am I going to have to carry around an adapter everywhere I go as well? Or rely on some special Bluetooth situation that’s inevitably going to short circuit or not connect half of the time? Maybe I’ll be surprised and they’ll come up with an easy way for me to continue my life as a full-time music nerd, but for the first time in as long as I can remember, Apple has me legitimately concerned about how a product change will affect my day-to-day life. And from a more macro standpoint, Fast Company has a piece on how the change may “open the door for increased DRM control over music content by the record labels that own it.”
Apple’s seems to be fully hitching its wagon to the rising popularity of wireless Bluetooth headphones, and more generally, an all-wireless world. And coincidentally (wink wink), the most popular Bluetooth headphones are made by Beats, which you may remember, was recently bought by Apple. So it seems to be a play for forward thinking techies and audiophiles, and based on the short-lived controversy surrounding the switch to its Lightning port, everyone will inevitably learn to adapt. (Pun intended.)
I’m sure I’ll be included in that category, but the thought of either carrying around another cord/adapter or buying another new set of headphones is currently making me shudder. Sure it’s not too late to change your mind Apple?

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