Woz: Apple killing the 3.5mm headphone jack in iPhone 7 could ‘tick off’ many users

“Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has warned Apple is going to frustrate a lot of customers if it removes the headphone jack from the upcoming iPhone 7,” John Davidson reports for The Australian Financial Review. “When the next iPhone comes out, rumoured to be in early September, one thing that’s expected to be missing is a place to plug in earphones.”

“Though Apple is yet to confirm the rumour – indeed, it’s yet to confirm it will even launch a new iPhone in September, or that it will be called the ‘iPhone 7’ – the company is widely thought to be moving to a new type of Bluetooth ‘EarPod,’ that will connect wirelessly to the iPhone,” Davidson reports. “Customers wanting to use their existing, wired earbuds and headphones might have to buy an adaptor that attaches to the iPhone’s Lightning port, or to whatever port does remain on the phone. (The Lightning port, which is used for recharging and for attaching accessories, is rumoured to be changing, too, possibly to a magnetic one.)”

“”If it’s missing the 3.5mm earphone jack, that’s going to tick off a lot of people,” Mr Wozniak told The Australian Financial Review,” Davidson reports. “‘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… 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.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Woz is right. There will certainly be the usual whining from the low information whiners – times a million, since Apple has so many more users now than when they killed the floppy in the iMac, for just one of many examples where Apple pulled the world kicking and screaming into the future – but, it’ll subside in time as usual.

Regardless of the impending idiotic whinefest, we can’t wait! Dumping the 3.5mm anachronism for Lightning will deliver myriad improvements and innovations.

As we wrote back in June 2014:

Bring. It. On.

Mac users are never wedded to old tech when there’s progress to be made.

Also, another good reason for the Beats buy. If Apple and Beats both change to Lightning headphones, the rest of the world will have to follow.

Of interest: Apple Inc.’s U.S. Patent No. 8,655,004: “Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets.”

Apple’s patent abstract: A monitoring system that can be placed proximate to the head or ear of a user is disclosed. According to one embodiment, the monitoring system can be used with headphones, earbuds or headsets. The monitoring system can, for example, be used to monitor user activity, such as during exercise or sporting activities. The positioning of the monitoring system can also facilitate sensing of other user characteristics (e.g., biometric data), such as temperature, perspiration and heart rate. The monitoring system can also be used to control a an electronic device. In one embodiment, the monitoring system facilitates user control of the electronic device using head gestures. More info here.

From your ear to your wrist in the blink of an eye™.

Also, if you’d prefer no wires at all, you can do as we’ve been doing for years now and just go Bluetooth – which works just fine for things like exercising, commuting, etc. We’ve been using wireless Jaybirds (currently the Jaybird X2 Sport Wireless Bluetooth Headphones (around $115)). They’re easy to charge, easy to pair, light and comfortable, and work perfectly with our Apple Watches and iPhones.

The real reason Apple wants to kill the 3.5mm headphone jack – August 15, 2016
Apple’s next-gen iPhone will feature all-new non-mechanical Home button, no 3.5mm headphone jack – August 2, 2016
Apple supplier preps for removal of 3.5mm headphone jack in next iPhone – June 30, 2016
Mossberg: New Even earphones tune themselves to each individual’s hearing – June 29, 2016
Alleged iPhone 7 chassis lacks 3.5mm headphone port – June 28, 2016
iPhone 7 rumored to get second speaker, larger camera – June 27, 2016
Apple is known for dumping legacy tech before the rest of the world catches up – June 27, 2016
iOS 9 code reveals Apple’s plans to dump 3.5mm headphone jack in future iPhones – January 20, 2016
Apple’s intention to kill the 3.5mm headphone jack is brilliant – January 13, 2016
iPhone 7 said to be waterproof, replace 3.5mm headphone jack with Apple’s Lightning – January 8, 2016
The fastest Lightning cable is also one of the least expensive – January 8, 2016
Apple will drop headphone jack to make the iPhone 7 super slim, source confirms; wireless charging and waterproof, too – January 7, 2016
Petition demands Apple keep 3.5mm headphone jack in the ‘iPhone 7’ – January 7, 2016
More reports claim Apple has dumped the 3.5mm headphone jack on iPhone 7 – January 5, 2016
Why Apple may axe the 3.5mm headphone jack – June 20, 2014
Apple may be poised to kill off the 3.5mm headphone jack – June 7, 2014
Apple may ditch analog 3.5mm headphone jack for Lightning to make thinner devices – June 6, 2014
Apple introduces MFi specs for Lightning cable headphones, iOS software update to deliver support – June 5, 2014
Apple preps HD audio for iOS 8 plus new Apple In-Ear Headphones and lightning cable – May 13, 2014
Apple patents biometric sensor-packed health monitoring earphones with ‘head gesture’ control – February 18, 2014
Apple paves way for more affordable iOS accessories with lower MFi and Lightning licensing fees – February 7, 2014


    1. So, Thelonius, if you can’t refute the message, you attack the messenger? You are just displaying your own arrogance.

      Woz is correct in his observation. That’s a provable fact since right here on MDN for weeks the most knowledgeable audio enthusiasts have been chafing against such an ill-advised feature removal.

      So if you think people are going to listen to your pathetic insults of Woz, a person with more technical accomplishments and product knowledge that you ever will, or the advice of many people here at MDN, you are mistaken.

      1. Sorry, but the answer is so obvious (the pitchforks and mobs have been out for months) it is silly to see a story about Woz stating it. Like, now if must be true!

        I think we ALL know by now that removing the audio jack “could tick off many users.”

        1. Look, Woz simply observed — correctly — that many people would be ticked off when a longstanding feature that they use for operability with their other equipment is suddenly removed. The dozens of comments here at MDN and elsewhere prove that Woz is correct.

          Moreover, some of the shit changes that Apple forces result in former Apple users moving on to other companies that deliver more user-friendly hardware. The condescending attitude that Mother Apple knows best long ago wore thin. The mis-steps Apple made in the past like hockey puck mice are small potatoes compared to the impact a mis-step with the iPhone could have.

          I know that many Apple loyalists are just as arrogant as MS was in their heyday, but Apple is not invulnerable. The iPhone could become just like the Mac — no longer worth the premium price. Think about it.

  1. Getting rid of SCSI ticked off lots of people.
    Getting rid of 3.5″ floppies ticked off lots of people.
    Getting rid of The Newton ticked off lots of people.
    Getting rid of HyperCard ticked off lots of people.
    Getting rid of the Apple II really ticked off WOZ.
    Getting rid of Woz ticked off lots of people.
    Getting rid of 5.25 floppies ticked off lots of people.
    Getting rid of the multi-colored logo ticked off lots of people.

    Ok MDN. You’re running an ad that says a “Quick Survey gets me $500 for Amazon.” If it’s not true… I’m coming back.

    1. So you trot out a list of desktop technologies that Apple stopped shipping but which 3rd parties continue to support, often via INTERNAL user upgrades on legacy Apple machines. For new hardware, Apple almost always adopted a better/faster/friendlier standard.

      SCSI was ditched in favor of SATA, like the rest of the industry
      3.5″ floppies were replaced by CD-R and USB memory
      Newton was killed due to budget crunch only, it laid the framework for the iPhone.
      Hypercard was embraced by what percentage of users? Apple essentially replaced it with a more intuitive Applescript, and 3rd party software like Supercard is available.
      The Apple II was replaced by the Mac, though admittedly it was an abrupt transition.
      Woz left of his own accord when the Apple II was killed.
      5.25″ floppies were replaced by more capable 3.5″ floppies

      Where is the user-friendly replacement for analog audio connection, Thelonious?

      1. Lightning jack.

        The point is, all of those old technologies were soon abandoned anyway. The third-party offerings only provided stop-gap solutions for those who needed them, while they needed them, which wasn’t that long.

        1. Well since you put it that way… if Apple now thinks that analog audio must be killed off without a cost effective replacement, then we’ll just have to let the market decide.

          If iPhone sales crash, then we will know what a great idea this is. If not, then we will see many happy people carrying around external DAC dongles.

          What is the markup on Lightning licensed accessories again?

          1. Well, we’ll probably find out soon enough. Here is my expectation. iPhone 7 will come without the headphone jack, and with bundled Apple earbuds (likely with a lightning connector). The lightning to analog audio (3.5mm) adapter will go for some $30 at Apple, and probably under $20 at Monoprice or similar other cable outlet. The phone sales will break all prior records (remember, this is the two-year anniversary year of iPhone 6 / 6+, which means most of those will replace their devices. Let us also not forget that the 6 / 6+ was a record-smashing device due to a pent-up demand for larger screen that Samsung was slowly poaching away.

            Whatever the markup on lightning accessories, it will be paid by the few who want to use their current Bose, Senheiser, Koss, Sony, Beats or whichever other boutique headphones with the new phone. The rest of the population will keep buying iPhones for the same reason they had bought them before: being the best mobile phone there is.

      2. Mike, the whole point is whether or not Apple will succeed in replacing the analog audio connection with something better. Your list includes several items where Apple _made_ the new superior thing, so it doesn’t support the argument you seem to be making (that Apple can’t possibly come up with something better than the analog audio connection).

        On a side note: Holy cow are you wrong regarding AppleScript replacing HyperCard. I mean, I’ve written code in AppleScript for personal use and for work for over 20 years. It’s very useful, but not at all a “replacement” for HyperCard. Two very different things. They do own FileMaker, which many people moved to when/before HyperCard went away, and it is still a great product. That would be a better choice for your list of replacements.

  2. Except that… Beats headphones are steaming piles of audio pooh. Not a chance in hell I would ever buy a pair when real headphones options are available elsewhere. Beats are perfect for tinny c-rap music, lousy for music with wide dynamic range or anyone with remotely good hearing. Caveat emptor.

  3. Speaking as one of MDN’s “low information whiner”, albeit one with many decades in professional audio, I’ll whine a bit more. It’s incumbent on Apple to include an adapter with this thing. I really could give a flying fart if a new generation of headphone can track my pulse or tell me if I need to pee. I’m generally aware of what I’m doing. I just want high-quality audio without yet another battery charger and more e-waste.

    1. They will bundle headphones, but no adapter. If you really need one, you will be able to buy it, either directly from Apple, or from a third-party maker (for a lot less).

      Ten years ago, Sony-Ericsson had a very particular custom plug for headphones, that went into the charging port. This was on multiple generations of Sony-Walkman phones. You couldn’t use your Bose headphones, and you couldn’t charge and listen at the same time. The phones were quite popular (relatively speaking), since they had great cameras (for its time) and excellent music-related features (MP3 player, FM radio, etc).

  4. How about leaving the, currently loved by millions, headphone jack (and remove the DRM possibilities of using only a digital port) and make the phone just a little thicker. It won’t bend and many hours can be added to phone usage by using a LARGER BATTERY.

    Most people have nothing to gain and some to lose by getting rid of the headphone jack. Everyone has something to gain by putting a larger battery in there… Its a WIN!

    1. This isn’t really about what you and a small group of people like you want.

      This is about making the design of the iPhone pure and pristine. Holes, jacks, ports and other openings break up the cleanliness of those design lines and make the phone uglier.

      As soon as wireless inductive charging becomes effective and space-efficient for Apple, iPhones will have no ports at all, and Apple will likely bundle some cheap bluetooth headphones (taking a hit on profits) rather than have ports on the device.

      1. Using your logic, they are going to remove the speaker grills, the lightning port, the headphone port, probably the volume controls, the ring/silent switch and the power button.

        Wow, that sounds like a useable device. A brick.

        1. Yes, they will likely want to remove as many of those as possible, while preserving the relevant functionality. Physical power button will likely have to be the only one that will have to remain, but volume can easily be absorbed by the OS. Same for the mute switch, especially since a significant percentage of users don’t even know its purpose, and mute their phone by manually lowering ringer volume to zero (I have witnessed this many, many times). Speaker grille will likely be eliminated once the speaker diaphragm is somehow integrated into the display (there was some patent related to this some time ago). So, the most perfect, ideal iPhone will ultimately have only one single physical button (power button), and no ports or openings of any kind. Everything will be done wirelessly; charging, syncing, headphones, other accessories. Perhaps it will come as soon as the 10th Anniversary iPhone 8 next year, perhaps it will wait for Bluetooth 5 (for broader bandwidth), but I won’t be surprised if it eventually comes.

          1. Though I thought the patent for integrating the speaker diaphragm into the display was an interesting idea, it seems impractical to me on any mobile device since anything that may touch such a display would render the sound muted or changed. Gaming would be most affected, not so much for listening to music or watching vids.

  5. IF Apple ends up removing the audio jack for some capricious reason I will be the first to call them asswipes. But I don’t think Apple would make this move over issues of weight or thinness or a hair more battery, or any of the other unimaginative suggestions I’ve seen. I believe that if true, Apple will have something to offer that will rationalize the act. I may end up being wrong, but I am preparing for an “OH!!!” moment if the jack gets dumped for something else.

  6. This is the third or fourth time this subject has come up on this and other sites regarding this subject and I for one will not buy another phone from Apple because of the proposed 3.5mm change. Primarily because I have a lot of money tied up in high end hearing devices, from Boze Noise Cancelling phones to a $500 set of Sennheiser electrostatics not to mention a set of musician quality custom fit ear phones that cost over $500. Instead, I will upgrade to a iPhone 6s 126g and stay with them as long as I can. Oh sure I can buy a BT set of phones to replace the set but why should I? I would have to go to a set that requires re-charging, which is a pain in the ass, just to listen to a phone’s music? I don’t think so. Sorry Apple, you are slowly shoving lifelong Apple users to the side to impress a new set of customers, all for what?

    1. You will really have a tough choice: stay with the 2015 technology (iPhone 6s), or move forward, buy a $30 (likely much cheaper than that) dongle and connect your $500+ headphones to that new phone. There are pros and cons on both sides, and you’ll eventually have to evaluate. Perhaps not yet, since 6s is a beast of a phone, and will remain one for quite some time, but sooner or later, that 6s of yours will become a nuisance, especially with the new models having significantly better features, and at that point, the $30 adapter many not seem so horrible.

    2. And buying a BT set isn’t your only alternative option. There already are several major headphone makers who are selling wired headphones with lightning connector. So, no, you don’t really have to go constantly re-charging just to listen to music. Not if you don’t want to.

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