Outrage as Apple kills the headphone jack

Outrage as Apple kills the headphone jack

Since Apple revealed the highly anticipated iPhone 7 on Thursday, a storm of controversy has broken across Twitter and among tech fans by the removal of the headphone jacks and the high cost of the new wireless 'Airpods' ($269).

Apple claims the future of headphone connectivity is wireless and the space occupied by the 3.5mm jack could be used for more modern features.

"We have a vision for how the audio experience can be and we want to get there as fast as we can," Apple's vice president of marketing Phil Schiller said.

But industry commentators have been quick to criticise the new design, slamming the propriety wireless technology that requires headphone companies to pay licensing fees to Apple when producing products for the new iPhone.

Some also say it locks iPhone users further into Apple's digital rights management and the iTunes ecosystem, a claim which Mr Schiller was quick to refute.

"The idea that there's some ulterior motive behind this move, or that it will usher in some new form of content management, it simply isn't true," he said.

"We are removing the audio jack because we have developed a better way to deliver audio. It has nothing to do with content management or DRM - that's pure, paranoid conspiracy theory."

Apple stands to benefit further from the change by owning one of the largest manufacturers of wireless headphones in the world: Beats.

The brand was founded by rapper Dr Dre and promoted by celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj and tennis legend Serena Williams. 

Beats wireless headphones were heavily promoted during the iPhone 7 launch event.

Apple is including a Lightning to 3.5mm aux adaptor with every new iPhone, however owners will not be able to charge their phone and listen through a wired headphone simultaneously without third party adaptors.

Adaptors are also unpopular with consumers, who claim they are prone to being broken or lost.

The internet is already waxing nostalgic for the lost audio technology.

This isn't the first time Apple has seemingly jumped the gun by removing industry-standard connections from their devices:

2008: MacBook Air released with no optical drive.  Followed by the Mac Mini, iMac and Mac Pro in later years.

2012: iPhone 5 released without the common Apple 30-point connector and replaced with the propriety Lightning port, obsoleting thousands of 3rd party peripherals in the process.

2012: New MacBook Pro announced without an Ethernet port, relying solely on wireless for internet connectivity.

2016: 3.5mm aux audio jack removed from iPhone 7