Headphone jacks, MacBook Pros, and the legacy of Steve Jobs

“A lot’s been written about Apple’s recent product choices,” Jim Gaynor writes for Medium. “This summer the iPhone 7 dropped the 3.5mm headphone jack, a standard that’s ubiquitous in audio, with Phil Schiller famously saying Apple did it because of ‘courage.’ More recently, new MacBook Pros dropped much-beloved ports and made weight/power/battery tradeoffs that have frustrated power users.”

“‘This wouldn’t have happened if Steve Jobs was still around,’ has been the classic response of unhappy Apple observers,” Gaynor writes. “Well, this is probably exactly what Steve Jobs would have done — and he told us himself in 2010. He even said it took courage.

Gaynor writes,”In 2010, Steve Jobs appeared at Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher’s ‘All Things Digital’ conference.”

…Different pieces of technology kind of go in cycles. They have their springs and summers, and autumns, and then they, you know, go to the graveyard of technology. And, so we try to pick the things that are in their springs. And, if you choose wisely, you can save yourself an enormous amount of work versus trying to do everything. And you can really put energy into making those new emerging technologies be great on your platform… And sometimes when we get rid of things […] people call us crazy… We’re trying to make great products for people, and so, 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 gonna leave it out.” – Steve Jobs

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve seen this type of reaction to the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar more times than we can count. It’s called “change” and, by the way: The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

Apple places a big bet with the new Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro – November 4, 2016
How Apple’s stock apps will use the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro – November 4, 2016
Hands on with Apple new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar: Huge trackpad offers great palm rejection – November 2, 2016
Phil Schiller explains why Apple dropped the SD card slot but kept the 3.5mm headphone jack in new MacBook Pros – November 2, 2016
Phil Schiller: Apple has more orders for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar than for any other professional Mac notebook ever – November 2, 2016
The debate is over: IBM confirms that Apple Macs are $535 less expensive than Windows PCs – October 20, 2016
The key mission of Apple’s new MacBook Pros – October 28, 2016
TIME Magazine: Apple’s new MacBook Pro Touch Bar is an inventive new way to get work done more quickly – October 28, 2016
Apple does touch right and, as usual, Microsoft does it wrong – October 28, 2016
IBT: Apple’s MacBook Pro Touch Bar is the coolest thing ever; will change the way we use laptops – October 28, 2016
Wired hands on with Apple’s New MacBook Pro: It’s a whole new kind of laptop – October 27, 2016
CNET on the new MacBook Pro: Apple’s amazing strip show reinvents the notebook – October 27, 2016
Hands on with Apple’s new MacBook Pro: Looks and feels so good it’s unreal – October 27, 2016
Apple debuts three new TV ads for all-new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar – October 27, 2016
Apple unveils groundbreaking new MacBook Pro with revolutionary Touch Bar and huge Force Touch trackpad – October 27, 2016


    1. Change isn’t the problem. The problem is poorly planned change. Apple could have smoothly added USB-C & TB3 while removing TB2 and half the USB-A ports. Just retain a couple old features that literally cost pennies so that users can manage the transition smoothly.

      A company that cares about its users does thoughtful things like this. Apple is no longer that company. It pushes forced change at irregular times and in unpredictable ways, at premium prices, as if it wants to piss off people who rely on computers to get stuff done.

      There is no excuse for the price gouging that an adapter represents. Apologists, come up with a better defense for Apple’s latest profiteering move.

      1. In fact, Apple did just what you described by including a 3.5 mm jack to lighting adapter with the iPhone to ease the transition to the new world. The MacBook Pro approach did no such thing. The new MBP is going to look like a gangly octopus of adapters for a long time.

        How elegant is that?

  1. Does anyone beside me think that if that had just left 1 USB-A port on the MacBook Pro, that a lot of this bitching about dongles would be a non-issue? I mean, that would allow time for people to get their cables changed to USB-C. Hell, even throw in a USB-C to lightning cable so the iPhone users could just swap to that cable. No dongles needed for any basic usage and you get the USB-C out there like Apple wants. Face it, if USB-C was as common as USB-A is, no one would be complaining because they would already have the cables. Thumb drives could use the 1 USB-A port until USB-C thumb drives are ubiquitous.

    1. When I look at my MBPro, I realize that carrying another dongle or two means nothing compared to carrying an AC charger and all the other crap I need anyway.

      A few dongles is ‘ho-hum.’

    2. One USB-A and the SD card slot would have been nice. No, MDN I don’t want to pay $50 for a measly 16 GB wifi SD card.

      The SD card wouldn’t have to stick out of the MacBook Pro if their engineers could design a spring loaded SD slot like the rest of the world.

    1. No, he didn’t leave the headphone jack alone – it no longer doubles as a digital output. So much for Phil’s idiotic statement that they left in in for “pro” users.

  2. Apple has become so big and wealthy, they don’t have to care what we think. They could eliminate ALL the external connections, go entirely wifi, and we would all have to comply.

    Lily Tomlin did a funny comedy routine decades ago in which she played a telephone operator. Back then, AT&T was the only phone company.

    When somebody did not like the service she provided, Lily would snort, “We’re the phone company, we don’t have to care!”

    Apple doesn’t have to care anymore. They can be as “courageous” as they like, because they know they’ll sell millions whatever they do.

    1. @MaxBay

      Apple is soon going to find out the hard way that no company in history has ever survived by continuously taking their customers for granted, overcharging them just because they can, an essentially treating them like sh*t.

      The next breakout company or technology is just around the corner and we all know Tim Cook is too lazy and incompetent to find it.

      The future is unknown… you just never know what’s next until it’s here, then goodbye rotten Apple.

        1. I think of it this way: certain pests are not easily eradicated. If Steve Jobs were still alive, he’d still be taking the shots instead of Tim Cook. The homophobic component of the smear job would not be there, but the attack would be just as brutal and unfair. How do I know? By looking at how joy-riding haters actually treated Steve Jobs in life, and how they defiled his dead body and legacy in print. They are shameless, ugly human beings, spoilt children out for sport or profit, who flunked Sunday School and appear to be proud of it.

  3. You know, it would be easier to take the way they are fucking up the laptops if we had a decent desktop option. The problem is they castrated the Mac Pro, turned the iMac into an overpriced laptop you cannot upgrade and sealed the Mac mini.

    This is exactly the kind of shit that makes IT people distrust using Apple stuff. Buffy may not need ports to do Facebook, but plenty of us do.

  4. What I’m really curious about is that Schiller said keeping the headphone jack on the laptop was because pros have “studio monitors, amps and other pro audio gear that do not have wireless solutions”. Yet Apple has apparently gotten rid of the optical audio connection support. I guess pros don’t use optical audio anymore?

    As others have stated, one of Schiller’s reason for getting rid of the SD slot is because “that thing sticking halfway out”. Apparently Apple’s millions (billions?) of dollars of research spending couldn’t figure out how to make a flush fitting SD card slot. Like HP has. Years ago.

    And then there’s the lack of a way, out of the box, to plug an iPhone or iPad into the new MacBook Pro. Yes, data can be synced wirelessly. Too bad they can’t be charged that way. Hell, Apple through in an adaptor with the iPhone to allow connecting standard 3.5mm headphones to the phone. You’d think they could throw in a single Lightning-to-USB-C adaptor so that people who have bought recent iPhones or iPads could plug them into the new laptops. With the price increase, for which all you’re really getting is the TouchBar, it’s not like that would have broken the bank for them.

  5. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. AppleTalk, SCSI, 3.5″ disks introduced and discarded in favor of CD-ROM, then CD-R/W, then DVD, then DVD-R/W, then hard media discarded entirely, FireWire introduced and discarded. Apple has been introducing new and discarding unnecessary technology since Day 1.

    1. Sure enough, they have been screwing up folks and their livelihoods all along. Insensitive bullies, shoving us around, roughing us up, forcing changes when everything was already working just so! I recall when they brought out the Apple II. That was a black day, it was. It led to a parade of companies offering “personal computers.” Land Sakes, it ain’t been the same around here since then, what with every other company copying them. Don’t get me started on all the lost jobs, the cost of retraining, the shuttered factories. Please, just make it stop!

  6. I’m still waiting for my thunderbolt 2 accessories for my 2014 rMBP. HILARIOUS!!!

    The word “Pro” has no mearning to Apple, except that you charge more for little more.

    A “Pro” model needs at last One old USB port, a SD card slot, and the MagSafe port since all MacBooks are even lighter than they were before.

    The 20 dongles Apple currently sells is an insult to the customer. Especially the Pro model owners.

    And finally, defend Apple whatever way you want – you CANNOT defend the lightning port on iPhones and iPads and the USB-C only ports on macs.

    P.S. The headphone jack is NOT just another “old” outdated data port. There’s a reason it’s used everywhere. From basic Joe to the most picky audiophile. It’s small, tough, can transport the best of audio, and works wonderfully and simply. It is NOT a CD player or FireWire, or cassette drive.

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