Apple really does have the ‘courage’ required to dump obsolete technology

“Apple’s senior VP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said that it took ‘courage’ on the part of the Cupertino giant to drop the ‘ancient’ single-use headphone jack from the iPhone and roll that functionality into the Lightning port,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes for ZDNet.

“Whether that comment made you roll your eyes, facepalm, or laugh outright at such a blatant act of self-aggrandizement and grandiosity (or all three),” Kingsley-Hughes writes, “I do have to admit that Apple is one of the very few companies that would be willing to do something so disruptive and take a short-term hit in order to move technology forward.”

“The headphone jack is now toast,” Kingsley-Hughes writes, “But it’s hardly the first technology that Apple has consigned to the tech graveyard over the years. Let’s list just a few…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple leads. All others follow at a distance. As usual.

SEE ALSO:
Apple bets big on a wireless world – September 8, 2016
Whoever makes the first AirPods strap is going to get rich – September 8, 2016
iPhone 7/Plus is a $5 billion opportunity for Beats – September 8, 2016
By killing the 3.5mm headphone jack, Apple is doing something extraordinary for music sound quality – September 8, 2016
No headphone jack? No problem: How to listen to music while you sync and charge your new iPhone 7/Plus – September 8, 2016
Apple VP calls 3.5mm headphone jack ‘a dinosaur,’ says ‘it’s time to move on’ – September 8, 2016
Apple kills the headphone jack – September 7, 2016
Apple reinvents the wireless headphone with AirPods – September 7, 2016
Apple’s iPhone reveal: Death of antiquated 3.5mm headphone jack heightens anticipation – September 7, 2016

44 Comments

  1. So essentially we see another apologist defending a gorilla company that imposes its overpriced proprietary connectors onto its users as a means of extracting more cash despite in many cases offering zero user benefit. DVI, USB, Firewire, DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt are all industry standards that have evolved and work really well. But Apple adopts each one for a short time only before forcing its proprietary alternative which costs more.

    The list from the article is:

    – Dropping the floppy drive (for the record, it was not dropped, it was made an external accessory)
    – Not supporting Blu-ray (and thus losing a significant portion of the pro video market)
    – Dropping the optical drive (again, Apple sold them as external drives)
    – Sticking with FireWire when the rest of the world went with USB (Apple and Sony both did this, since USB was slower in real world use.)
    – Dropping the smartphone’s physical keyboard for an on-screen keyboard (Apple never offered a physical phone keyboard, so nothing was dropped)
    – Adopting a proprietary 30-pin connector for the iPod (a clunky connector that was never better than Firewire or USB by any practical measure — just an expression of Apple’s increasing greed)
    – Coming out with a tablet that didn’t have a USB port (greed, same as above)
    – Dropping the 30-pin connector in favor of another proprietary connector rather than going with USB like everyone else (greed, same as above)
    – Using Thunderbolt for high-speed connectivity rather than USB (in addition to, not in replacement of USB)
    – Making a MacBook with a single USB-C port that’s used for charging and connecting peripherals (look at how poorly that is selling!)

    Note that they didn’t mention the ADC or the fact that Apple bastardized the USB connector on Mac keyboards to ensure one had to buy the Apple branded extension cable. Clear anti-user behavior.

    Some people don’t care, but some do, and it must be recognized that a company that claims to be pro-user can’t keep doing this forever before losing the faith of at least some of its longtime users.

    1. Wrong on so many counts, but most importantly on the most common one, the greed part. It fails on the most cursory inspection.

      Presumably, Apple shows greed by eliminating some connector in order to sell $20 adapter, or a $50 external drive (floppy, DVD, etc). In other words, Apple is presumably jeopardising sales of hundreds of thousands of devices to angry users, in order to get a few of others who did buy the new devices to buy these $20 (or $50). This makes no sense.

      Apple generates massive margins on their hardware. Average selling price for Macs is above $1,000; for iPhones over $700. Out of all Mac and iPhone buyers, a very small percentage ever buys any additional accessories or hardware (the stuff that Apple dropped form prior models, such as floppy drives, DVD drives, external SD card readers, etc). And those people often times end up buying cheaper, 3rd-party offerings, rather than Apple’s own. So, say, 50 million iPhones are sold during certain period of time ($35 Billion in revenue), and out of those 50 million, 5% need the SD card reader (the $30 lightning to SD camera reader). That is $75 million in additional revenue. That is less than one half percent. Similar percentages are with Macs. Do you honestly still believe that Apple decides to nickle-and-dime customers by eliminating ports, in order to boost their revenue by 0.3% ???

      1. If Apple didn’t care about the profits from its Lightning licensing, then why does it charge so much for other companies to implement it?

        Many, not all, connector changes at Apple have been entirely driven by greed, pushing a proprietary solution onto a captive audience. That is reprehensible from any company … except to apologists like you.

        1. You clearly don’t get it, and it’s OK.

          Licensing fees for lightning are just a few dollars per device. Even if every single iPhone buyer bought such an adapter form an after-market maker, this would still bring less than half a percent bump in the revenue. To still believe that this is about profits is absolutely insane.

          You must be new to Apple. They have been doing this for decades. Those of us who are still Apple users looked at all the pluses and minuses and decided that such changes are ultimately worth it.

          My old iMac still has a DVD burner. My new MBP doesn’t. For now, I don’t need an external optical drive (yet). When my iMac becomes due for replacement, I’ll have to think carefully if I really need such drive (I haven’t used the internal one in at least three years).

          1. The difference between you and I is that you are identifying current income (new iPhone unit sales dominate all other income Apple makes from any source by a large margin). I on the other hand am looking at trends that foretell the future.

            Let me help you out with a concept: small accessories have the highest markups and often the biggest return on investment. Apple knows this very well and it regularly cashes in with a new connector push every 5 years or so. Each time they are guaranteed a sizeable sales return from its captive audience who doesn’t mind Apple’s golden cage.

            But it isn’t always good for the user or for Apple investors.

            1) Apple released an expensive single-port USB-C MacBook. Sales have been dismal. Apple may or may not make back its investment from this design mistake.

            2) ASP of iPhone 6 was higher than that of iPhone 5 and any version before it. Why? Because it had pent-up demand of people wanting bigger screens, more battery life, etc. Apple delivered and profited. iPhone 6S offered inadequate new features to entice significant people to upgrade, iPhone sales sank the last 2 quarters. Now the iPhone 7 comes along with an increased price tag, some additional features, and some important features taken away. My prediction: those who already own an iPhone 6 or 6S and probably won’t jump to get a 7. Those who like the size of the 5 will get the SE. The only people clamoring for the exciting new functionality of the 7 are —who? I hear crickets. Maybe 256GB in Black will entice several hundred thousand buyers, but most people won’t retire their existing phone.

            3) Apple more and more is pushing its weight around to garner additional revenue streams from iCloud, subscription services, etc. This doesn’t even come close to making up for lost revenue due to stale Macs, stale Airports, stale Apple TV, stale iPods, and total lack of displays. But Apple does proudly report that the “Other” financial earnings category is growing every quarter. It is coming from subscriptions and, yes, from mandatory accessories and adapters that Apple sells at inflated prices.

            Enjoy you $49 Lightning Dock for your home stereo and your $159 AirPods, Predrag.

            1. You are clearly new to Apple, as well as to the whole consumer electronics industry. Your assumptions are off by a wide margin.

              Accessories are a negligible line item for Apple’s bottom line. One iPhone sale brings hundreds of dollars. One accessory sold brings in a few dollars. Even if two accessories are sold for each iPhone ever sold, the profit is still 100x smaller. Even if we take every single iOS device Apple ever sold over the past ten years, and assume every single one of those people bought at least one licensed accessory, even then, the total revenue on those licenses would hardly exceed $2B. Over ten years. Compared to $50B in last quarter alone (which was a bad quarter, mind you). And if we also take in to account the fact that most of the accessories bought are third-party and not Apple, that accessory revenue is mostly just licensing fees for 30-pin dock connector, or Lightning connector.

              As for dismal sales, you really need to be careful how you use that word; it doesn’t mean what you think it means. Samsung Galaxy 6 had dismal sales. The New MacBook had lower than expected sales. Most other laptop makers can only dream about MacBook sales numbers. This is the same story as the iPhone 5C of three years ago. The tech journalists were competing with their hyperbole, while Samsung, HTC, LG and others were having wet dreams about ever achieving quarterly sales numbers of 5C with any one of their own models (including flagships). With Apple, it’s all relative; what counts for “lower than expected” for Apple would be record numbers for all others.

              My prediction (and I’ve been watching this industry, and Apple in it, for over 20 years) is that iPhone 7 will break records, just as 6 did. Here is why. iPhone 6 shattered all records because of the pent-up demand for a large-screen iPhone. Those who bought 6 are coming out of their contracts now and are eligible for an upgrade. Vast majority of people are still on that two-year upgrade cycle. Water-proofing has been a feature long wished for the iPhone. All those owners of 6 will happily upgrade their device. Let us not forget that carriers will aggressively keep pushing them towards this upgrade.

              Among MDN users, I am sure large number of them will declare how the 7 is an underwhelming upgrade that clearly shows how innovation is gone. In reality, though, I’m sure vast majority will be getting it as soon as they can (depending on their contract, their budget, their spouse).

              In my case, I’ll most likely get a third-party wireless headphones. But they will have to wait until I actually get the iPhone 7. I’d love to, but likely won’t for at least some time (until I pay off the 6S with T-Mobile).

  2. Well, they certainly covered their bases (even though that was unnecessary) by using that courage statement. Everybody will adjust, just like we did to thunderbolt. I’m still up in the air about USB-C though…need to see the vendor adoption rate accelerate for that.

  3. If only Apple would let go of the obsolete processors, memory and storage in their computers.

    Talk about hypocrisy! They dump a connector everyone uses and keep old CPUs, DDR3 SDRAM and out-of-date, proprietary SSDs that no one wants to buy!

    1. The ssd’s they use are not proprietary. They are the m.2 form factor, use nvme storage, and are the same part as the Samsung 950 pro/951 (oem). Prior to that they used SATA… And we’re the first company to use that standard as well. Secondly, you do understand that I’m mobile systems Intel just started supporting ddr4 a couple of months ago right? Also that ddr3 in dual channel performs exactly the same as ddr4 in dual channel, and quad channel doesn’t offer much of an advantage unless the applications are written to take advantage of it. Also Intelsat performance gains in their mobile chipsets has been relatively minimal the last couple of years, but they will get new processors pretty quickly. And they are not “outdated” or obsolete by any stretch of the imagination, especially the iMac which uses a 6700k i7… (A processor Which most PC people drool over)… Should they have newer tech? Yes. But are they out dated? No… Especially since Apple builds their systems with the highest end parts of each generation, meaning they last a long time without slowing down… Case in point my 2012 MacBook Pro. It still performs great… You’d never be able to say that about a 4 year old PC laptop with similar specs.

    2. Also, they have the fastest ssd’s in their systems that use pcie 3.0 x4… Most manufacturers that have transitioned to m.2 still use the Sata connector to attach them, or Sata express. Not pcie. For the record, and your understanding, pcie 3.0 x4 nvme storage devices can run up to 4GB/s (8gb per lane x 4) if the memory controller supports it. The part they use in the MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro all run up to 2.5 GB/s…. Most pc manufacturers still use Sata 3 ssd’s which run at a max of 550-560 MB/s. So you’re factually incorrect, and obviously a troll I shouldn’t have fed.

      1. For the record, my company has a product with embedded NVMe technology and I am well versed in the NVMe standard.

        Can you upgrade the NVMe SSD in any of Apple’s computers, particularly the Mac Pro trashcan?

        1. You can also upgrade the ram in the Mac Pro trash can in case you thought that was impossible too. It’ll accept 128 GB of 1866 ddr3, and up to a 4TB pcie 3.0 m.2 storage card.

      2. Furthermore, the M.2 NVMe SSD in Apple’s computer has a proprietary connector and I believe firmware.

        So you can’t plug in that shiny new NVMe M.2 SSD from Samsung or Micron or anyone else.

        And the Apple proprietary version of the Samsung 951 has now been replaced by the SM961.

        1. No, you are incorrect on both counts. The Samsung 950 pro/951 work just fine in the trash can pro, and MacBook pro’s, only the MacBook uses a different connector, since it has that unique small board. Also, the 961 also fits just fine and works well. It’s a standard connector. The first generation of pcie MacBook air’s used a different pin layout similar to the Sata version of m.2. But since 2014, they have all used the standard pcie 3.0 x4 m.2 standard connector. We have many of these systems and use these parts all the time. Also, you convinetekt ignored everything else that I was correct about with regards to processors and memory.

          1. You can purchase upgrades from anywhere, but other world computing has a wide selection of parts to upgrade the systems. Also, the Mac Pro uses registered ecc ram for 8 and 16gb dimm’s

        2. And furthermore (since you like that word), you do understand that all you have to do is put in a disk and format it for the system right? Firmware has nothing to do with it. Embedded firmware on a disk simply controls how it functions with the controller, the OS has nothing to do with it. If the disk is in the right format, it’ll work. When was the last time you used a Mac? 1995? Prior to OS 8? When they still used scsi drives? Connectors are standard, drive contsruction is standard, the OS formats the drive for its particular file system…. for someone who knows nvme very welll, you should know how formatting disks works….

          1. So, if I buy the latest Macs I can upgrade the SSD? And I’ll need to because the ones that ship from Apple are a generation old at this point.

            The processor in the trashcan is two generations old.

            DDR4-2667 is clearly faster than DDR3-1867.

            Apple shipped NVMe drives with proprietary connectors and proprietary firmware (on the module).

            I buy Apple’s products, but I don’t buy their bullshit.

            1. to the ssd: yes, you can. i do it every day. Go to otherworld computing.com, you’l find tons of stuff. alternatively go to new egg and buy whatever the hell nvme m.2 drive you want.

              to the ram: in dual channel, ddr3 and ddr4 perform identically. frequency has very little to do with ram performance. ddr4 has an advantage in QUAD channel, but again, applications have to be written for it.

              To the drive connectors: again, since 2014 in notebooks, and 2013 in the mac pro the m.2 slot is standard. in the 2012 mac pro, its a standard pcie slot. and drive firmware, again, has no bearing on the os. I’m going to use caps because you still don’t seem to understand how drives work: YOU PUT IN THE DRIVE, YOU FORMAT THE DRIVE WITH YOUR SELECTED FILE SYSTEM, AND IT WORKS. MODULE FIRMWARE SIMPLY CONTROLS HOW THE DRIVE INTERACTS WITH THE CONTROLLER. ANY DRIVE WILL WORK, YOU JUST HAVE TO FORMAT IT.

              here’s a list of formats disk utility supports in macOS:
              macOS extended
              macOS extended (journaled)
              ms-dos (FAT) 16 or 32
              ExFat
              NTFS

              here’s a list of boot maps it supports:
              Master Boot Record
              Guid Partition Table
              Apple Partition Map (ppc systems)

              I don’t understand how much clearer i can be about this.

            2. To upgrade a Mac Pro, release the latch at the bottom, remove the cylinder house Inc, pull out the ssd, put in the new ssd. Easy. To upgrade the ram, while the housing is off, remove the old ram, replace with new ram. Easy. To upgrade a retina MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air: remove the 10 screws on the bottom case, lift the case off. The sad lives on the leafy hand side of the board. Remove the Phillips screw on the ssd module, replace the ssd module. Done. This is not difficult.

  4. Yeah… But is lightning a 100-year tech? If it lasts as long as the Dock connector, then it only has a couple years left before v2 comes out or a different connector altogether, then we have bifurcated again… Also, their actual computers don’t have lightning ports and haven’t been updated across the board in about a year+. It’s going to be interesting.

  5. Apple was the force that moved USB forward for Mice and Keyboards instead of PS2 connections. There are still companies almost 20 years later still shipping computers with PS2 mice and keyboards.

    1. Judging from all the vitriol and backlash they routinely get from even small changes like icons and emoji, and from the unending storm of criticism of their every business decision, I think they knew exactly what it means.

      1. It means in the event of a loss on the battlefield, they take every tenth man in the ranks and shoot him.

        Discipline in Apple ranks is positively spartan. Why, I’ve heard they cut your tongue out for leaking company secrets, unless you’re a foreign subcontractor, in which case human rights statutes constrain you…

  6. The only thing I take issue with is the assertion the mini- headphone jack is “obsolete” or outdated. Not true. It is the de-facto ubiquitous standard on virtually every audio appliance today, consumer and professional. Comparing it with the floppy disk is unfair as the floppy disk was outperformed badly by newer faster drives. The days of the floppy were numbered and everyone knew it. Apple was simply the first to move on by omitting it. Conversely, Apple’s Lightning connector does not improve, augment, or change the way audio is transferred or processed. It is simply a different jack format, that’s all. I see no reason general industry will seek to adopt this odd jack, and if they don’t, Apple may be forced to replace it someday if consumers balk too much. Time will tell if this becomes their latest puck mouse.

  7. Flash, Floppy Disk, Disc Drive, Java, CRT, SCSI, Serial Ports, Parallel Port, Thunderbolt, on and on. Now Audio port.

    Live and learn – move on and adapt

    While it was a rumor I was willing to defend keeping the audio jack. But now it’s reality I am willing to adapt. Arguments are over.

  8. In general, I’ve long been an Apple fan. Was looking forward to upgrading my iPhone to the 7 this year. Now I can’t decide.

    I’m not necessarily against losing the headphone jack, but would have preferred to see it happen with the advent of wireless charging in the iPhone (I recently bought a vehicle with a wireless charge pad – would have been nice to have a use for it). Perhaps that’s coming in the iPhone 8, but it seems like the decision to drop the jack in the iPhone 7 was premature, since it’s only real advantage is waterproofing (which is important, I’ll admit).

    Plus, we’ve added yet another device that requires charging to our lives (wireless headphones, whether their Apple’s or someone else’s). That’s getting a little tedious, like subscription services.

    1. The disappearance of the 3.5mm jack didn’t change the way people charge their wireless headphones. Neither will it require anyone to go out and buy new wireless headphones. The phone comes with bundled wired EarPods, as well as an adapter for those who use old-school wired headphones with 3.5mm plug. If you had a 6S (or prior) and some third-party headphones, you can safely buy the new iPhone 7, sell the old 6S (or prior) and keep your headphones. You can use them with the 7 right out of the box. Obviously, if you had bluetooth headphones, that will work as well.

      There really is no meaningful change for anyone. Theoretically (and this is purely academic discussion, as hardly anyone actually does this), you cannot charge your phone and connect wired headphones to it at the same time. Obviously, this is extremely hypothetical, as you would then be tethered to the wall.

      1. It is obvious that internet chatter of all sorts is dominated by certain memes, that is, bite-sized ideas that capture the popular imagination and are excitedly retweeted (preferably with reputation-enhancing snark) and crafted into sludge-pot stories and blog posts. Apple seems unique in owning a whole bunch of these cherry-pit spitting matches. If they wow Wall Street or the milling crowd, that’s bulletin news. If they bore Wall Street and the milling crowd, doom is right around the corner. Any kind of publicity, as Donald Trump correctly noted, is good. Apple cannot lose with such relentless media exposure—that is, as long as they manufacture devices that don’t explode in your face.

  9. How about ‘courage’ to tell us in advance so we can plan on the added expense of new headphones/adapters? Not everyone has extra disposable income to drop on extras to provide the same functionality as the previous phone.

  10. I have an iPhone 6s. I have never used my 3.5 mm headphone jack.

    When I work out at the gym, I listen to music using a pair of Sony Bluetooth over-the-ear headphones. Tiny earbuds fall out of my ears and after a while, give me an earache similar to swimmer’s ear. These same headphones also work with my MacBook Pro.

    My $115 Pioneer car stereo also has Bluetooth and a USB port. My iPhone works just fine in the car either with Bluetooth or with a 12-inch long USB to Lightening cable that I bought at Amazon for $8.

    Interestingly, I did buy one of those external DVD burners for my Mac. I saved a few bucks and bought it “refurbished”. I share it with all of the other occupants in my household for one of those RARE occasions that anybody needs it.

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