Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak recently stated that removing the earphone jack in the following version of the iPhone is going to “tick off a lot of people.” It’s been rumored for some time that Apple would be scrapping the 3.5 mm earphone jack in the iPhone 7 it’s expected to reveal one week from now.
Such a move, Wozniak said in an interview, could upset users who have invested in the listening technology that uses the headphone jack. Dumping the earphone jack could be the prelude to another rumored new product: Bluetooth earbuds based on a very low-powered radio chip developed exclusively by Apple.
Wozniak prefers listening to music over wired headphones, he told The Australian Financial Review, because of sound through Bluetooth wireless technology, which is utilized by most wireless headsets, sounds flat. However, if Bluetooth could be enhanced to produce better sound, he’d use wireless earphones, he said. “There is the ability in Bluetooth to deliver a very high-quality audio experience,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It depends on how much a company is willing to invest in it to deliver something an audiophile would appreciate.”
Although Apple has made striking moves to mothball legacy technology previously, losing the headphone jack is not quite the same as going from a 30-pin to Lightning Connector. “The headphone jack is not just a port used by smartphones. It’s used on many devices.”
Will removing the headphone hack anger customers, as Wozniak predicted? “There is certainly the risk that Apple will alienate some part of its audience if it removes the audio port from the iPhone.” However, if the past is any indicator of the future, Apple ought to have the capacity to keep its fans in line. “Apple’s customer base has never abandoned it when it’s made major infrastructure transitions in the past,” observes Tirias’ Krewell. “There’s always grumbling initially, but people eventually fall in line.”