Why Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 – as explained by Steve Jobs

“When Phil Schiller used the term ‘courage’ to describe Apple’s decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone socket from the iPhone 7, his choice of that particular word was probably not accidental,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “It’s likely a reference to a comment by Steve Jobs when he was asked to explain another controversial omission of an established standard: the lack of support for Flash in the iPhone and iPad.”

We’re trying to make great products for people, and we have at least the courage of our convictions to say we don’t think this is part of what makes a great product, we’re going to leave it out. Some people are going to not like that, they’re going to call us names […] but we’re going to take the heat [and] instead focus our energy on these technologies which we think are in their ascendancy and we think are going to be the right technologies for customers. And you know what? They’re paying us to make those choices […] If we succeed, they’ll buy them, and if we don’t, they won’t, and it’ll all work itself out. — Steve Jobs

Lovejoy writes, “He could honestly have been talking about the headphone socket there, and the same points would apply, word for word.”

Read more and watch the short video of Steve Jobs here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s interesting and speaks well of Apple’s attention to detail that the iPhone 7 promotional wallpaper bubble colors match the colors of the iMac G3 (see full article) – which killed the floppy drive.

Steve Jobs posts rare open letter: Thoughts on Flash – April 29, 2010

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


  1. Exactly. And it could have been said about removing the floppy disc drive, the CD Drive, SCSI ports, all of which I remember were controversial, but Apple did it anyway. Apple drags us into the future once again.

    1. I have to agree here. If they had held onto the 30-pin connector for just a little longer, USB C would have been the perfect replacement choice. I understand the need to remove the 30-pin connector because of the space it took up, but you have to wonder if Apple is wishes they had waited.

    2. The proprietary connection seems to be the point. Apple hopes to have enough leverage to force headphone makers to pony up fees for the privilege of working on Apple devices.

      The analogy with floppy/SCSI just doesn’t hold up. SCSI never had much impact outside of Apple and Apple was moving toward industry standards. People were already actively moving away from floppies in search of more capacity, so Apple was simply following an existing trend.

      In the case of the lightning earbud connector, Apple has moved in the other direction. They’re replacing an industry standard with something proprietary. It’s a cynical play for dollars. They could have made their Bluetooth phones no matter WHAT type of connector they had. This feels more like Apple before Jobs learned lessons about standards.

      1. Well, given that iOS has over a billion sold, it’s hard not to say that it is a standard. It may not be an open industry standard, but it clearly is a standard. Is USB C as good as lightening? It may be an open standard but that doesn’t speak to its quality. The 30 pin connector was a dinosaur and needed to go, it was bulky, clunky and fragile. I do not miss it. Lightening is small, elegant, double sided and works well along with being sturdy.

        What does USB C offer? Besides being an industry standard, why would we want one?

      2. Except at that time, no manufacturers wanted to use USB. Apple had to implement it to cries about the ADB, serial and SCSI ports going away. And within a couple of years, USB was everywhere. If it weren’t for Apple, some new PCs would probably still have a parallel port on them.

      3. I, too would like to see an open standard connection for devices. Lightning would be okay, it has a lot of advantages, but it’s not open. Furthermore, it lacks that one extra feature that we all would enjoy, which is to have the same connector on each end of the cable. By putting USB-C on the MacBook as a female port, Apple pointed the way. All devices should have the same female ports, and all cables and connectors should have the same male connector on each end, a la Thunderbolt and Firewire. This was part of the promise of Firewire, but they couldn’t shrink it fast enough to keep it relevant in the face of USB.

        That’s the vision of the future of wired connectivity, for those situations when wireless isn’t adequate (for charging purposes, if nothing else, since wireless charging pads will probably never be as cheap or ubiquitous as wall sockets).

  2. Steve Jobs, even when sick, was still a genius and can’t be confused with an ordinary person. He does not think in an ordinary way which made him so creative he changed the world.

  3. And just think of the new ecosystem now with 3rd party folks scrambling to make knockoff AirPods…that’s why Apple put the price at premium level, knowing that will happen. Soon, we should be able to get a good pair for $75.

    1. Indeed Apple decided to replace the fully capable and reasonable, if clunky, 30-pin connector with the Lighning design because Mini and Micro USB (5 conductors) were never capable of the number of channels nor current draw that the 8-conductor Lightning connector offers.

      But now USB-C is here, and it is more capable than Lightning by any measure. Apple itself is embracing it for Macs at least. So like it or not, the next few years will see another wave of adapters and docks that allow users to connect the headphones they own and the USB-A/B connectors on almost all current Macs to the next generation of products, which will be USB-C or Lightning or Thunderbolt. I have vocally opposed removing the analog port, but Apple will soon find out how many people prefer to have it integrated in the iPhone instead of relying on adapters. You can bet that iPhone 6S sales will remain strong since it’s more cost effective and convenient for anyone who has lots of legacy connectors in their lives already.

      No, you won’t get a good pair of wireless headphones at a relatively better price versus wires, ever. Bluetooth headphones (which Apple’s new Airpods are) all sound inferior to corded headphones and cost significantly more. The wireless chip alone adds >$30 over the cost of a good wire. Apple’s Lightning connector licensing fee that ultimately costs the buyer another $10 over USB or any analog connector.

      1. Yes, it costs more because it’s not over 50 years old. Ethernet cable at gigabit moves data faster than wireless does, but no one wants to drag an ethernet cable behind them all day.

  4. I hear Samsung is putting two audio jacks in their next smartphone, bringing back Flash, and including a port for an external floppy reader.
    You can also use it to start your BBQ.

  5. The problems we’re talking about can meaningfully affect about 2% of future iPhone buyers. As for the rest, majority will simply use the bundled wired EarPods (many likely oblivious that the connector is different), and a few will continue to use the Bluetooth headphones they already have, some will buy new Bluetooth, and some will use the included adapter.

    The decision whether to upgrade to iPhone 7 (either from Android, or from an older iPhone) will likely be affected by this 3.5mm connector disappearance for less than 1% of people. And for those, a good number (perhaps even more than half) will still decide to live with the compromise and go ahead and upgrade the phone, in order to get the better performance, better camera, waterproof device, more storage and more beautiful appearance.

  6. “He could honestly have been talking about the headphone socket there, and the same points would apply, word for word.”

    NO. That’s stretching the quote from Jobs enormously. Flash is a detriment to the entire computer community. It should have been killed by Adobe a decade ago. It says an enormous amount about Adobe that the horror still lives on.

    The 3.5mm jack hurts no one ever. How could anyone imagine whether Jobs would care or not? Switching to the Lightening connector certainly was originally beneficial to everyone because of its great small size along with its terrific functionality. All Apple did was save a small amount of space in the iPhone 7 and shove it outside the phone into the headphones hardware. That’s not hurting anyone either, unless somehow the extra bit of dangling Lightening to 3.5mm jack adapter triggers some odd phobia. I personally don’t care.

    Kindly, Apple provides both the dangling adapter AND some nice Lightening EarPods, removing any motivation for complaint, IMHO. So I laugh at the BS being foisted in the news about how something untoward is happening. It’s not. This is no BFD at all.

    But pretending a Jobs quote about dumping demon Flash is somehow related to dumping 3.5mm jack hardware inside the iPhone7 is ridiculous. I almost want to nominate it as Laugh of the Day. But I’ll forget it instead…

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.