In 2016 Apple shocked the world when they announced that the latest iPhone 7 would be released with a Lightning connector in place of the 3.5 mm headphone jack that we had all become so accustomed to. But why did Apple remove the headphone jack? At first, the announcement sparked outrage from loyal customers who were confused and upset by the sudden change. But, as the years have passed and the dust has settled, Apple users have adjusted to the wireless life with rapid speed, and the singular Lightning connector port has become the new standard for iPhones and iPads.
The Real Reason
At the launch event for the iPhone 7, Apple stated their “courage” in their decision to move forward without the headphone jack, and when questioned about their decision, they gave a vague answer about innovation and revolutionizing the smartphone market. While Apple never gave a direct answer about their choice, we can infer based on the new designs for the most recent iPhones what their reasoning may have been. Just over a year after the headphone jack was done away with, Apple launched the iPhone X which featured the slimmest design of any iPhone yet, and introduced their new all-screen design. In order to get the screen as close to the edge of the phone as possible while also making the phone as thin as possible, the bulky headphone jack had to go. It took up so much space that there was no way to include the headphone jack. Simply put, the new design Apple set its sights on just didn’t have room for wired headphones.
With the headphone jack finally gone, Apple was able to offer new waterproof devices, starting with the iPhone 7. The iPhone 7 had a rating of IP67, which meant that it could survive in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. The new phones have only become more water-resistant; the most recent iPhone 12 has a rating of IP68, which means it can now survive 6 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. The technology required to waterproof phones takes up a lot of space, and getting rid of the headphone jack helped make room. Because of the changes, the latest iPhones are water and splash resistant, which means users no longer have to worry about an accidental drink spill ruining their phone. Additionally, reducing the number of ports on the phone reduces the number of potential entryways for liquids to get into the device.
There’s nothing worse than your phone dying when you’re out and about, and now the improved battery life reduces the chances of your phone dying when you need it most. With the extra space they gained from losing the headphone jack, Apple was also able to extend the battery life of their phones. As the new iPhones continued to get slimmer and slimmer, Apple lost more room internally for hardware. The headphone jack prevented the use of a larger battery, but with the headphone jack gone, Apple was able to up the battery life, therefore improving the experience for users.
The Future is Wireless
The design of the new iPhone with only one port facilitated the popularity of true wireless headphones. Apple introduced wired headphones that connected to the phone using the Lightning port, but that didn’t allow users to charge and use headphones at the same time. Apple introduced AirPods at the same time they removed the headphone jack, and since then consumers have widely switched to using wireless Bluetooth headphones. After Apple set the tone by removing the headphone jack, other brands were quick to follow suit and also began introducing their own wireless headphones. Nowadays, the market is so full of wireless headphones that it’s easy to find a good pair of in-ear headphones for iPhone. Not only that, but people can take their pick of wireless headphones whether they’re looking for headphones for sleeping, headphones for running, or headphones for gaming.
Why did Apple Remove the Headphone Jack?
So why did remove the headphone jack? Back in 2016, the decision to lose the headphone jack seemed like a risky one, and many people had their doubts. However, the loss of wired headphones has allowed Apple to revolutionize its iPhone technology and set in place a new strategy that would completely change the market. Ultimately, Apple got rid of the headphone jack in order to make room for newer, better features and they haven’t looked back since.
Written by Emily Corso