Unless you live under a rock, you’ll have heard about Apple’s latest controversial decision – removing the headphone jack from iPhones.
Some may liken this to the removal of the floppy drive from the iMac – which was a great decision at the time, because floppy drives are slow and unreliable, but there’s nothing wrong with the 3.5mm jack that we all know and love.
It’s reliable, compact and compatible. The prevailing belief seems to be that the headphone jack has been removed to make the iPhone thinner; the iPhone 7 is the same thickness as the iPhone 6S, at 7.1mm. What’s more, the BLU Vivo Air LTE is only 5.1mm thick and still has a 3.5mm jack.
This leads us to the unsurprising conclusion that Apple have removed the headphone jack to make more money.
The default headphones that come with the iPhone 7 are lightning EarPods, which is all very well and good, and also a rather inconvenient lightning to 3.5mm adapter. Apple are intending to take advantage of this artificially created inconvenience with their new wireless AirPods.
Why are they so bad?
First of all, the design looks like somebody has pulled the wires out of a pair of regular EarPods, then applied a lick of chrome to the bottom to draw attention from this.
What’s the point in having the stems if they don’t have to connect to any wires? Couldn’t they have made the body of the headphones a little fatter to contain the electronics?
Secondly, the stupid charging case means that when your headphones have run out you just can’t listen to any more music. You have to put them in the case, and wait for them to charge.
The case is bulky and perhaps unnecessary – what about a cable to charge the headphones from the phone and use them in a wired mode whilst they charge?
The sound quality is equal to or worse than that of the regular EarPods. Admittedly, consumers who use Apple headphones are unlikely to be interested in sound quality – but £159 is an absolute rip-off for headphones providing an utterly mediocre listening experience.
Given that truly studio-quality headphones like the Audio Technica ATH-M50X can be purchased for around £130, Apple’s £159 price tag seems like a joke. Yes – I am fully aware that the sort of magical iPhone integration that the AirPods promise is not offered by any other headphones – but again, this is an artificial limitation imposed by Apple, to make their competitor’s lives more difficult.
Another irritation of note is that British consumers face paying the full £159 whereas American consumers will pay only $159 – around £123.
Given that Apple pay so little tax in the EU, this sort of pricing is hardly fair.
Finally, they’re so tiny that you could just drop one without noticing if you were in a rush. If you drop one on public transport – a very common place to lose your headphones – it’ll get crushed and that will be the end of that.
You haven’t a hope of ever finding them again, even if Apple introduced ‘Find my AirPods’.
But, the worst thing of all? Everyone will buy them anyway.