The lack of a 3.5mm audio jack on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is going to evoke strong reactions from quite a few people out there. Audiophiles are especially going to be frustrated about the lack of the port on the latest iPhones.
The audio jack’s existence dates back to even before Apple was born, and most importantly, it’s ubiquitous. Its present and used everywhere and has no interoperability issues. So, why did Apple decide to ditch it? Well in a detailed interview with some senior most Apple executives like Greg Joswiak, Dan Riccio and Phil Schiller, BuzzFeed editor John Paczkowski has the answer for us.
Joswiak, Apple’s VP, makes some compelling arguments about the audio port. He says that the jack is more than 100 years old, and the last major innovation it had was about 50 years ago.
“It’s a dinosaur. It’s time to move on” — Greg Joswiak speaking to BuzzFeed about the removal of 3.5mm audio jack from the iPhone
Apple’s SVP of hardware engineering Dan Riccio says that the 3.5mm jack was holding back Apple from a lot of innovations. The jack was taking up precious space inside the iPhones that could have been utilised for a better camera system, processor, and battery life.
“It was holding us back from a number of things we wanted to put into the iPhone,” Riccio says. “It was fighting for space with camera technologies and processors and battery life. And frankly, when there’s a better, modern solution available, it’s crazy to keep it around.”
Riccio explains that by removing the 3.5mm jack from the iPhone 7, Apple was able to improve the camera system on the phone dramatically. It allowed the company to add OIS to the iPhone 7, which was only available on the Plus model until now. It also allowed the company to fit in a secondary telephoto lens on the iPhone 7 Plus allowing the handset to offer 2x optical zoom. Riccio says that Apple engineers were not able to fit a “driver ledge” above the display on the new iPhones because of the larger camera sensor. Apple tried moving it to other areas of the phone but it interfered with other components. So the company ultimately removed the audio jack, which also made it easier to install the Taptic Engine and increase the battery capacity. After all, who does not want better battery life from their iPhones?
The removal of the jack also helped Apple in achieving the IP67 certification for the new iPhones since it removed a major point of ingress from the phone.
While Apple has replaced the 3.5mm jack with its Lightning port for now, it does not see them as a proper replacement. Instead, the company believes in wireless audio being the true replacement for the 3.5mm audio jack but that shift will take a longer time.
So, 3.5mm audio jack vs better battery life and improved camera performance — which one is more important to you?