Elimination of Headphone Jack From iPhone 7 Irks Potential Buyers - Page 2

As you might imagine, the resulting poll results displayed an equally limited understanding of what Apple actually was offering.

What's surprising is that none of those news outlets picked up on the real issues relating to Apple's elimination of the headphone jack—the fact that it creates a revenue bonus for Apple. The reason Apple stands to make some bucks with the new design is because the company owns the rights to the Lightning connector.

This means every time a company sells a set of headphones with a Lightning connector, Apple gets a cut. The only way around giving Apple a piece of your headphone purchase is to either use Bluetooth or hope you don't lose the adapter.

Apple, meanwhile, has announced its own set of wireless headphones, the AirPods, which were unveiled at the iPhone event and will cost $159 when they're released in late October.

Apple's Beats brand also will be releasing a new series of wireless headphones that will work with the iPhone 7. The problem is that both the AirPods and the new Beats headphones use what apparently is a proprietary wireless technology.

It has some advantages in that users only have to set it up once and the settings propagate to other Apple devices. But there's so little information available that it's not clear whether the new wireless technology can be used with other products from other companies. If so, you can assume there will be a licensing fee involved.

The change to Lightning headphones extends beyond just Apple. For example, Apple's current EarPods can be plugged into other devices, such as laptop computers. But with the new design, you can't do this; laptop computers with Lightning connectors currently don't exist. And so far, there's no adapter that would allow users to plug those Lightning headphones into a 3.5mm headphone jack.

This is not to suggest that the change to eliminate the headphone jack is devoid of any owner benefit, because there are good points. Chief among them is the ability to make the phone water resistant.

But I think it's disingenuous of Apple to pretend that the change is solely for the benefit of customers, because it's pretty clear that the biggest benefits are to Apple.

Remember that the next time you try to connect your expensive noise-cancelling headphones to your iPhone, only to discover you don’t have that analog-to-lightning adapter. Maybe you can listen to the cool new speakers built into the iPhone 7 instead.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...