Floppy disks. CD drives. FireWire. 30-pin connector. The list of technologies and connections that Apple drew up at a time when they were relatively successful goes a long way. Today, after months of speculation, it has won another member: the ubiquitous 3.5mm audio output (aka P2 or, for the most intimate, “banana plug”).
The reactions, as expected, were mostly contrary. Some say that there is still no wireless technology satisfactory enough to replace the extremely reliable 3.5mm connection. Some say it will be unbearable not to be able to listen to music and charge the phone at the same time. There are those who are very upset about having to use an adapter to use their current favorite headphones.
The fact is that the transition will be traumatic, but Apple executives shared their views in a long article from BuzzFeed detailing the decision, its motivations and short and long term consequences. The piece as a whole is very interesting and worth a read if you know English; still, we highlight below the most relevant passages.
The practical reasons for removing the output were more than explained by Phil Schiller in the keynote, but still, the executive reiterated the engineering justifications in the interview: according to him, the idea was brought up during the iPhone 7 development phase because the protrusion of the screen drivers at the top was causing problems with the device’s camera. When they suggested moving these drivers to the bottom of the device, it was discovered that there the interference would be in the old 3.5mm connector – and that was when they began to consider its defenestration.
Thereafter, freeing up space (the senior vice president of hardware engineering even referred to the outlet as “a hole full of air”) allowed for even more news: an increase in battery, a new Taptic Engine to simulate clicks on the new Home button (Home) capacitive and the achievement of the IP67 water resistance certificate – although it is good to make it clear that it is possible to be resistant, or even waterproof, even with the famous connector, as Samsung has proven to us for years.
In addition, executives say the old connector was already a “dinosaur” and that new audio transmission technologies are more efficient, faithful and modern, encouraging Apple to initiate the change. As Apple’s head of marketing, Greg Joswiak, stated:
The audio connector is over 100 years old. Its last major innovation was more than 50 years ago. Do you know what? They slowed him down. After that, he was never touched again. It’s a dinosaur. It’s time to move on.
Perhaps Joswiak is conveniently ignoring the fact that no one in the past 100 years has complained about any type of deficiency or failure in the audio connectors, but the fact is that Apple wants to improve audio transmission technology to the point where it is now. that they are forgotten and replaced by a totally future Hi-Fi and wireless.
Schiller reiterates this point and takes the opportunity to remember that the change has nothing to do with Apple’s evil intentions related to DRM or regional restrictions:
The idea that there is some hidden reason behind this change, or that it will bring about some new type of content limitation, is simply not true. We are removing the audio connector because we have developed a better way to transmit audio. It has nothing to do with content restriction or DRM – this is a pure and simple paranoid conspiracy theory.
The report makes it very clear a number of times that, although Apple is shipping a 3.5mm Lightning adapter with each new iPhone, the company’s idea really is to move into a completely wireless future. One thing is certain: with the separate adapter costing US $ 10 (R $ 80 in Brazil) it is not enough to buy one for each headphone used by the user, connect it to the tip of the accessory and simply forget about its existence. The Lightning EarPods included with the iPhones should also not do badly. In other words, Apple itself must be aware that this future is still a utopia that will take time to materialize.
Anyway, we already know the scenes of the next chapters. Gradually, other companies will begin to introduce devices also lacking the connector – Lenovo has even stepped forward – and its presence will gradually be diminished. Until then, however, we will have a long and boring road ahead. But, as Schiller says:
Remember, we’ve been through this many times before. We got rid of the parallel interface, FireWire, floppy disks, physical keyboards on phones – do you miss the physical keyboards on your phone? At some point – some point soon, I think – we’re all going to look back at the fury over the audio jack and ask us what was so great about it.
If you’re saying, Phil …