(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
analog, drm, headphone jack, iphone

Companies:
apple



Why Apple Removing The Audio Jack From The iPhone Would Be A Very, Very, Very, Bad Move

from the but-it'll-still-happen dept

It's been rumored for months now that the next iPhone will be removing the standard analog headphone jack -- the same jack that's existed on portable audio devices for ages. It would immediately make a whole bunch of headphone and microphone products obsolete overnight for those who use iPhones. And while some have compared it to when Apple surprised everyone nearly two decades ago in removing the floppy drive from the iMac, this is quite different. The floppy drive really was pushing the end of its necessary existence, and with the internet and (not too long after) the rise of USB, the internal floppy drive seemed less and less important. But that's not the case with the standard audio jack.

Back in June, Nilay Patel at the Verge had an excellent take on why this move would be user hostile in very dangerous ways, starting with the fact that forcing audio through the iPhone Lightning connection would mean DRM:
Oh look, I won this argument in one shot. For years the entertainment industry has decried what they call the "analog loophole" of headphone jacks, and now we’re making their dreams come true by closing it.

Restricting audio output to a purely digital connection means that music publishers and streaming companies can start to insist on digital copyright enforcement mechanisms. We moved our video systems to HDMI and got HDCP, remember? Copyright enforcement technology never stops piracy and always hurts the people who most rely on legal fair use, but you can bet the music industry is going to start cracking down on "unauthorized" playback and recording devices anyway. We deal with DRM when it comes to video because we generally don’t rewatch and take TV shows and movies with us, but you will rue the day Apple decided to make the iPhone another 1mm thinner the instant you get a "playback device not supported" message. Winter is coming.
With the latest rumors insisting that Apple is definitely doing this, Cory Doctorow has also weighed in to make the same point and go in much greater detail about how troubling this is:

Once all the audio coming out of an Iphone is digital -- once there's no analog output -- Apple gets a lot more options about how it can relate to its competitors, and they're all good for Apple and bad for Apple's customers. Just by wrapping that audio in DRM, Apple gets a veto over which of your devices can connect to your phone. They can arbitrarily withhold permission to headphone manufacturers, insist that mixers be designed with no analog outputs, or even demand that any company that makes an Apple-compatible device must not make that device compatible with Apple's competitors, so home theater components that receive Apple signals could be pressured to lock out Samsung's signals, or Amazon's.

What's more, once Apple gets the ability to add DRM, the record industry gets the ability to insist that Apple use it ("A phaser on the mantelpiece in Act One must go off by Act 3" - Pavel Chekov, Star Trek: TOS). In 2007, Steve Jobs published his Thoughts on Music, in which he said, basically, that the record industry had forced Apple to put DRM in its ecosystem and he didn't like it. The record industry is still made up of the same companies, and they still love DRM. Right now, an insistence on DRM would simply invite the people who wanted to bypass it for legal reasons to use that 3.5mm headphone jack to get at it. Once that jack is gone, there's no legal way to get around the DRM.

Perhaps worst of all is the impact on security research: because the DMCA has been used to attack researchers who disclosed defects in DRM-restricted technologies, they are often unable or unwilling to come forward when they discover serious vulnerabilities in technologies that we rely on. The Iphone audio interface is two-way: it supports both input and output. A bug in that interface turns the phone to carry with you at all times, to all places, into a covert listening device. A DRM system on that interface makes that bug all-but-unreportable, guaranteeing that it will last longer and hurt more people before it finally becomes public.

As Cory notes, these are not hypothetical stories and fear-mongering, they're all examples from what we've seen happen before, over and over again, when things are pushed into a DRM-based world. Cory is hoping that if Apple really does drop the audio jack -- as many now expect -- then it should simultaneously declare that the digital audio output is not "an effective means of access control," which would then mean it's not covered by the anti-circumvention laws of the DMCA. But, of course, does anyone actually expect Apple to do that? It has almost no incentive to unless the public rejects this situation in massive numbers, which seems unlikely.

Hopefully, those who make Android and other phones will not follow down this same path.

Reader Comments

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  • identicon
    Industrial Networking, 15 Aug 2016 @ 6:48am

    Surely with Google and Bing brining out their new personal assistants which is almost 100% driven through voice recognition people are going to start to use this feature more and more often? I can see a day where texting is no required and it will all be done through voice recognitions. So I agree, I think it would be foolish to get rid of this feature.

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    • identicon
      Michael, 15 Aug 2016 @ 6:58am

      Re:

      Imagine the day in which you can simply talk into your phone. At the other end, there could be some kind of text-to-speech that will translate the message back and you could just listen to it!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        trollificus (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 4:35pm

        Re: Re:

        Starry-eyed tech utopianism!

        I think it will be years before the all-important 19-25 demographic will accept a technology that can be used by parents and grandparents without routinely generating eye-rolling faux pas.

        OTOH, the conversion of text about a song into actual audio bits of the song itself, could generate a mini-licensing scheme. The RIAA would have to cut the NSA in on the deal for access to those multi-billions of communications on your text-o-voice-o-phone device. After all, those mega data centers don't build and maintain themselves!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 6:58am

    DMCA is a huge thing. But what bothers me more is the complete death of low end headphone market for new iPhone users. Possible all users.

    Now manufacturers have to have two complete production lines. One for standard analog jacks and one for Apple. That alone is a substantial cost addition. Add to that the near guarantee that Apple will require the same sort of approval (licencing fee) for anyone they let use the new combined jack. So goodbye cheap disposable headphones.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 7:46am

      Re: Dystopian prediction.

      The headphones for Iphones will need active digital electronics on board, that is they will be intelligent. They can also act a a sort of microphone. Next thing you know they will pair with the users ears, by taking a sonar mapping of the users ears. Pass them to someone else so that they can listen to a track, and they will refuse to play it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:38am

      Re:

      Currently, my favorite headphones for my Apple devices (noise isolating, built in mic) cost me $8. They're not audiophile quality, but they're something I can take with me anywhere and not worry about them getting destroyed (I just get another $8 pair).

      The on-board electronics and Apple Tax guarantee that this $8 set of headphones will suddenly become a $48 set of headphones. Not something I look forward to.

      HOWEVER, the arguments about "closing the analog hole" are a bit off. Speakers can't read "digital". At some point, there needs to be analog leads going to the diaphragm of the speakers, and these can just as easily be redirected to any type of analog jack. And there are plenty of companies around the world that would be more than happy to create such a thing; if Apple uses a USB-3-compatible connector and protocol, they can't do anything to prevent other manufacturers from going this route.

      And all that said: I actually connect my $8 headphones to a little Bluetooth dongle I keep in my pocket these days; I haven't used my headphone jack on my phone in quite some time. As long as Apple isn't killing Bluetooth audio, there's only so much they can do with DRM. And Bluetooth is never going to be restricted from having analog out.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:45am

        Re: Re:

        HOWEVER, the arguments about "closing the analog hole" are a bit off. Speakers can't read "digital". At some point, there needs to be analog leads going to the diaphragm of the speakers, and these can just as easily be redirected to any type of analog jack.
        If DRM were implemented, the speakers would stop working if they detected they had been opened, if their impedance was off, etc.—they'd be required to, much the same way video card manufacturers have to detect attacks if HDCP is enabled.
        And there are plenty of companies around the world that would be more than happy to create such a thing
        It would be made illegal of course.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Speakers can't read "digital".

          Crude digital speakers have been made, using multiple coils. However the real limit on outputs is the lack of digital inputs to the human brain. Audio and video will always be analogue between output devices and human ears and ey

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      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re:

        I wonder if they can DRM bluetooth...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 3:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          There's already crypto in the bluetooth spec, so there's no real reason to think they couldn't, given some "minor" mods moving away from the bluetooth spec. Wouldn't even (necessarily) require hardware mods - they could probably do it in software and retrofit it.

          Backwards compatibility would be an issue though. "I'm sorry, your 2016 Chevy SU-X doesn't have the Apple-Approved radio. That'll be $4000 to upgrade."

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 12:03pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm thinking double or triple pricing, but same idea.
        What I hate the most about this is it is a clear anti-competitive movement by them and so many of my friends and family will gladly pay the costs because it is Apple and they can do no wrong.

        I am not an Apple hater, I have an iPhone, an iPad and several other of their devices. They make amazing tech. But their movements in recent years have made switching to Android much more appealing.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 7:05am

    Apple is being evil, anti-competitive, and anti-user, in their latest iPhone version.

    In other news, water is wet, the Pope is Catholic, and traffic in DC is bad this morning.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      666 Beastie NWO Boy, 16 Aug 2016 @ 11:14am

      Re:

      Apple is being evil, anti-competitive, and anti-user, in their latest iPhone version.

      In other news, water is wet, the Pope is Catholic, and traffic in DC is bad this morning.


      Typical DC Tweeb response!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 17 Aug 2016 @ 6:56am

        Re: Re:

        What's a Tweeb?

        Just for the record, I don't live in DC (or even particularly close to it); I just know that horrendous traffic there is one of life's great constants.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 7:10am

    Apple always has and always will do exactly as it pleases! there has never, as far as i recall, been a single court action against it and the completely non-competitive way it does business. even Microsoft has been told what it can and cant do over the way it locked Windows down to using Internet explorer, yet Apple forces customers to only do what it wants as far as what can be installed, what can be downloaded, used to download, what music and movies can go on the devices etc etc. i would really like to know how it has gotten away with this at all let alone for so long!!

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 7:35am

      Re:

      "there has never, as far as i recall, been a single court action against it"

      Google exists, you might want to use it to find the many examples of litigation against the company.

      "even Microsoft has been told what it can and cant do over the way it locked Windows down to using Internet explorer"

      Untrue. They were told not to illegally leverage its desktop OS monopoly position to gain unfair advantages over competitors in other software markets. Windows was not locked down to IE, but MS was been told to give providers of other browsers a level playing field. So, neither assertion you just made is true.

      "what music and movies can go on the devices"

      That's an outright lie, of course. You're limited to a single store within the device, but there's nothing to stop you transferring content via a computer or via an app.

      There's plenty to criticise Apple for, let's not make shit up, OK?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      R.H. (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 7:48am

      Re:

      That's easy, Apple isn't a monopoly. The iPhone controls less than half of the smartphone market. As long as consumers have somewhere else to go, it's not a monopoly. Google (just over 50%) and Apple (just over 40%) have effectively split the smartphone market in half with Google coming out slightly ahead.

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    • identicon
      Apple Jacks, 16 Aug 2016 @ 11:16am

      Re:

      They'll lose half of their customers and will double the cost of their iphone and prove what kidnappers have known for so long.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      kwyd, 8 Oct 2016 @ 3:23am

      Re:

      The reason MS was hit with anti-monopoly lawsuits was because of it's overwhelming market share.

      Because Apple doesn't have 90% market penetration, they are allowed to do whatever, because you supposedly had options in not buying a Mac.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Oct 2016 @ 10:57am

        Market penetration

        What that doesn't take into consideration is the cost for switching to a different product.

        For many pieces of software, you only get the version for a single platform, and that's if that software exists for the other (though nowadays, there are is a lot more multi-platform software). I'm not sure if Mac developers still have to work around the one-button problem.

        But Android and iOS products are certainly sold separately. I don't know if you can even access media purchased on Google Play or The Windows Store on iOS.

        So yeah, once you've been on a platform for a while you have a lot of disincentive to migrate. And if that's not taken into consideration regarding antitrust, it damn well should be.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 7:40am

    A moral panic by Buzzfeed and the like might be helpful here. They seem awfully good at facilitating them in recent years. Would be nice if their network used their soapbox for user-empowerment for a change!

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  • icon
    crade (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:00am

    Isn't this the last standard interface left on the Iphones?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      crade (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:28am

      Re:

      physical interface anyway.. I guess they are still too chicken to switch to a proprietary wifi and bluetooth interface :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:20am

        Re: Re:

        Shhh! Don't give them ideas!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 12:07pm

        Re: Re:

        Oh I fully expect them to hit bluetooth next. That is a nut they could take hits at cracking. Imagine how much money they could make if they forced all of the bluetooth headset and accessory makers to pay a licensing fee per device. They would be crazy not to try it.

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        • identicon
          Groovy, 16 Aug 2016 @ 11:23am

          Re: Re: Re:

          At the whole world's expense, just how fucking GREEDY does a company have to be? I mean WTF? They are going to screw their own customers and their ability to use analog audio to hook up to analog equipment at the horror beset upon their customer's. THAT IS BAD FAITH and I will be the first to sign on to a multi-national class action lawsuit against Apple.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:09am

    May not be digital-only

    We have no details yet. The USB-C connector, at least, has a concept of "alternate modes" which might allow it to transport analog audio via a simple passive adapter. That wouldn't be so bad, especially if phone manufacturers included the adapter. It would give you an extra USB port when not using the headphones. (I don't particularly trust Apple here, given their history of auth chips, but Android phones might do it right.)

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:40am

      Re: May not be digital-only

      > It would give you an extra USB port when not using the headphones.

      Potentially multiple "headphone jacks" as well.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:50am

      Re: May not be digital-only

      The problem with this argument is, well, experience. DRM on digital devices inevitably come with the "optional" ability to disable analog output. And that "option" is inevitably selected.

      High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) - the copy protection on Blu-Ray discs - is required to downgrade not just the video but the audio when sent to analog devices. And that's when it'll output to them at all.

      Unlike your old stereo or VCR, your smartphone gets regular software updates. You may be able to use your old headphones with an adapter on day one, and everyone will be happy and the issue will go away. Until the DRM gets activated in a later update.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:09am

    ISO Standard Credibility Test

    The argument in favor of removing the audio jack doesn't sound any less credible if you imagine it being voiced by Donald Trump standing behind a podium.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2016 @ 11:37am

      Re: ISO Standard Credibility Test FTFY

      ISO Standard Credibility Test
      The argument in favor of removing the audio jack doesn't sound any less credible if you imagine it being voiced by Donald Trump standing behind a podium.

      ISO Standard Credibility Test
      The argument in favor of removing the audio jack doesn't sound any MORE credible ESPECIALLY if you imagine it being voiced by Donald Trump standing behind a podium

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:12am

    Don't a significant number of card swipers use the audio jack as well? All the square users on food trucks and craft fairs? Maybe they've moved on from using the audio jacks, I haven't been paying attention.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:21am

    Or consumers can simply not purchase it and watch it fly in the faces of Apple and the legacy labels.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:53am

      Re:

      Or consumers can simply not purchase it and watch it fly in the faces of Apple and the legacy labels.

      Good one! Best joke I've heard all month!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Skeeter, 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:33am

    Let's think this through, REALLY

    Seriously? You listen to music on your iPhone and you think that the music has a DMCA threat from going wireless at your ear? FYI, it's a PHONE, they can turn it on and listen ANY TIME THEY WANT TO without picking up a low wattage earpiece output, wireless though it may be. THE PHONE IS WIRELESS!

    As for the mechanics of it in general, it driven moreso by the majority of the public who would prefer wireless headsets or wireless connectivity to a larger speaker. You can buy full 'wireless amplifiers' online for $22, that output 50-watts per channel RMS. That's 100-watts (enough to deafen you in a small room).

    Why are you making a big deal out of this? You lost your privacy when you didn't stop DMCA, RIAA, and the myriad of other laws out there. You gave up your privacy when you didn't protest the NSA and FISA courts allowing warrantless searches.

    It's a phone people, and EVERYONE IS ALREADY LISTENING to every word you said (and the NSA has it on recording in Provo, Utah, just to prove it).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:37am

      Re: Let's think this through, REALLY

      In other words, "you've already made your choice, serf, so you must now tolerate all further abuse without complaint"?

      I disagree.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:07am

        Re: Re: Let's think this through, REALLY

        Worse actually, the 'didn't stop' lines read more like 'Someone else already made the choice for you and you didn't manage to stop it, so now sit down and shut up as more of it's dished out'.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 12:32pm

        Re: Re: Let's think this through, REALLY

        Don't feed the trolls. Just click Flag and move on.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 8:48am

    Other Devices

    I know that there are bluetooth adapters that can extend the life of your $300 Bose headphones, but that's inconvenient for many users.

    There are also a host of non-headphone devices that will be made obsolete. Many companies took advantage of the headphone jack as a de facto I/O port. Their solutions will need to be upgraded, and will be more expensive now, and will require bluetooth, and worse: batteries and charging.

    - Square or Paypal credit card readers
    - Microphones
    - Synchronized flash systems
    - Selfie Stick remote shutter buttons
    - Add-a-custom-buttons like Pressly

    The floppy had universally better options, and was bad at its only purpose. Not so for the headphone port. I have a number of bluetooth headsets that are my primary way of connecting to the phone for media, but I STILL have plug-in headphones for hands-free voice calls. I use them for the pure simplicity and reliability of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:42am

      Re: Other Devices

      The thing is that the reason these devices began to use the audio jack was Apple's move to the lightning connector.

      Perhaps that's a part of Apple's thinking here -- too many companies were working around the need to pay an Apple Tax, so they want to close that loophole.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Derek Kerton (profile), 16 Aug 2016 @ 4:40pm

        Re: Re: Other Devices

        Perhaps. It's also because it's the one port that's common among all phone manufacturers, so one payment dongle could work on any smartphone.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 15 Aug 2016 @ 9:16am

    So Splice an Audio Bypass.

    Back in the early 1980's, I bought the last television set I would ever buy. The first thing I did was to take off the back, drill a hole in the side-wall, and solder in a stereo headphone jack (with both channels connected in parallel). By the time the television set became un-serviceable, due to mechanical play in the electro-mechanical tuner, tuner cards for computer had come along.

    A pair of headphones ultimately has a couple of analog wire pairs leading to electromagnets, which push diaphragms back and forth to move air to make sound. You can splice in an audio jack without any particular difficulty.

    Alternatively, you can make what old-time celluloid film-makers called a "Barney," that is, a soundproofed box, in which you can put things which need to be sound-isolated., with the necessary access-holes, such as a noisy mechanical movie camera mechanism. Of course, you can also make a Barney to hold a headphone and a couple of microphones. In the old days, back in the early 1980's, we used to connect computer terminals and modems to mainframes over telephone lines, using a telephone cradle designed along these lines: 1) dial up the mainframe's modem number, using a rotary-dial telephone, 2) listen for the carrier tone, 3) on hearing the carrier tone, rapidly place the phone handset in the cradle, in the soundproofing rubber cups, and enter a couple of carriage-returns.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Thad, 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:40am

    Hard to predict

    While I don't think most potential customers will look at the missing headphone jack in terms of DRM and accessibility, it's clearly an issue in terms of compatibility with most people's existing headphones, and you don't need to know what the DMCA is to see that. iPhone sales are already in sharp decline, the next iPhone already has an uphill battle to convince customers they need to upgrade, and removing the headphone jack isn't a value-add, it's a value-subtract for the majority of customers.

    Of course, if the next iPhone *does* sell poorly, that's going to be down to a variety of factors, not just to a headphone jack. It may not be easy, or even possible, to gauge what impact the missing headphone jack has on sales.

    On the other hand, it's also possible that once the phone appears in stores, casual buyers *will* react strongly and clearly to the change. We won't know until it happens.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:45am

    Mike Masnick- editor of a blog about tech- apparently thought the analog loophole was going to last forever.
    Uh, okay...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Kaden (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:43am

      Re:

      Anonymous Coward, overconfidently condescending member of the Techdirt commentariate, thinks moving the DACs outside the shell of an iPhone closes the analog loophole.

      Uh, okay...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        John, 18 Aug 2016 @ 7:55am

        Re: Re:

        What's funny is, the phone will still need a DAC inside for the loudspeaker and phone speaker. There's no "moving" the DAC outside. Shows how stupid and ignorant people are. They're about to get raped and they're excited about it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:49am

    I used to work for apple.

    The end-game is to have specific apple-only headphones for each generation of iPhone. So the connection in the iPhone 7 will work with iPhone 7 headphones, but iPhone 8 will have a slightly more 'secure' connection, which surprise, surprise, requires NEW headphones all over again.

    Tim cook in multiple meetings discussed how to 'lock in' loyal customers and force them to buy Apple peripherals and this is the solution. Lock OUT third party bluetooth headphones / speakers etc. Charge a hefty licence to use their 'special' version of bluetooth and/or make people buy apple approved devices.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      E., 19 Aug 2016 @ 8:36pm

      Re: I used to work for apple.

      That's just taking it way too far. Guess I won't be getting an iphone. Headphones are already insanely priced already. -_-

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      History girl, 28 Sep 2016 @ 10:57am

      Re: Anonymous Coward and the lessons of History

      So Apple has always been big on protecting its innovation and locking in it's loyal customers. The idea of creating new peripherals that have to be purchased is frankly repeating the same exact issue that got it into trouble.

      Macs were all about the intellectual property until an insider licensed its software, tweaked it and sold it as windows. Microsoft didn't make hardware, they kept their plane in software -- allowing hardware companies to license their software and essentially crowd apple out of the market for proprietary overpriced stuff. I might have to cut my losses at the 7, bite the bullet and leave my iphone behind. After all the years I've been with my iphone i hate to do it, but i think its time before they get any more user hostile.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Theoden, 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:21am

    Forget the music issue...

    I am not looking forward to all of the phone calls being put on Speaker because the high dollar headphones are either too expensive or broken. Who wants to hear the Apple users on a call to their friends as ambient noise anywhere you go?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 2:37pm

      Re: Forget the music issue...

      In all fairness, this is already the case, at least in my part of the woods. People in public talk on speakerphone everywhere for no damned good reason.

      It's mostly, but not solely, iPhone users. I really don't understand why this has started happening.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 16 Aug 2016 @ 6:55am

        Re: Re: Forget the music issue...

        Because they're iDiots, as evidenced by their purchase of an iPhone. Why should we expect them not to do stupid things?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:31am

    Solution: don't buy Apple. Vote with wallets against this. If only we could put that in the heads of the zombie army of Apple fanbois out there...

    If we can kill this in the cradle maybe it can be averted. Too bad HDMI managed to screw everything up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 12:12pm

      Re:

      HDMI made it easy for the non-technical to hook up a device to their TV's. It's a one plug solution vs. either 5 plugs for Component+stereo audio or 3 plugs for DVI connector+stereo audio. I think that there was a DVI plug with audio. But, there again, what non-techie would know what type of DVI their TV had.

      Simplicity wins.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 12:11pm

    Goodbye Apple, hello Android

    I have several friends that dropped the iPhone when they changed their cables a couple years back. Their investment in cables and compatible devices were rendered obsolete overnight. Rather than dive back into iOS, they switched to Android and they have not looked back.

    I suspect if Apple does this, many more will head over to Android.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 12:14pm

    Will there be a Lightning to 2.5mm audio adapter?

    After sales tank, I suppose the new CEO will know which project to tackle first--the iPhone7J.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 12:57pm

    We did this with laptops and USB to eliminate the optical drive.

    Let me first disclose that I abhor the 3.5mm stereo audio jack. I have a mid-high-end Soundblaster audio card in my desktop system that I have to fight with every time I insert my headphones.*

    Similarly, I've been watching mp3 players and before that cassette tape players fail consistently due to that stupid audio jack. They just don't last. During the semi-user-serviceable 90s, I'd be able to open up the unit and repair it. But not so, now. Creative labs customer service has become rather irate with me for daring to suggest I might service my own devices rather than paying for their outrageous repair fees.

    But yes, right now it's the only standard we have.

    If Apple was really interested in minimizing phone thickness, they could feature multiple lightning ports and (as Anon Coward suggested) a lightning to 2.5 or 3.5 adapter.

    Someone, probably someone in China, will make one anyway, much like the lightning-to-USB ports.

    In my fantasy world this would push more people toward Android since Apple users look more and more like rich abused cultists. The higher and higher Apple builds its garden walls, the less nice they are to those trapped inside.

    * I tried adding a leave-in extension but it automatically cuts out the speakers when even the extension is in, and I don't know how to turn that feature off, and govern the volumes by soft mixer controls. Not for want of looking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Kaden (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 1:04pm

      Re: We did this with laptops and USB to eliminate the optical drive.

      " I have a mid-high-end Soundblaster audio card in my desktop system"

      Well there's your problem right there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 2:39pm

      Re: We did this with laptops and USB to eliminate the optical drive.

      I use the jack on my cellphone all the time, and it's worked very well for me over the years. I can't think of a single phone I've had that it failed on.

      So, I guess, YMMV.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 1:23pm

    Soundblaster woes

    I have a mid-high-end Soundblaster audio card

    Well there's your problem right there.


    It comes from growing up on the Audigy technology and being something of an audiophile.

    Right now I need to solve the problem so I can hold onto a Recon3D for a little bit longer.

    If you can recommend a worthwhile sound card for

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Kaden (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 4:03pm

      Re: Soundblaster woes

      Soundblasters were *never* considered remotely near audiophile quality. Get a proper USB interface and be done with it. A Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 is 150 bones,has great ADACs and pre's, and the ASIO drivers are rock solid.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 4:13pm

    It looks like if you want to play music through your car stereo, you will need to get an Android phone, as an analog aux input is needed in order to play it through the system.

    One time when I had a rental car, the stereo had no aux input, so I could not play music from my android throgh the stereo, without using a small FM modulator, which can have problems if a nearby radio station is using the same frequency.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 16 Aug 2016 @ 6:54am

      Re:

      What kind of car are you driving?

      Mine (Ford Focus) can play music from my phone two different ways. I can connect over USB and it recognizes the phone as a music player, or I can connect over Bluetooth and whatever audio is playing on my phone gets redirected to the car stereo.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Monday (profile), 16 Aug 2016 @ 7:17am

    Apple has been making some 'bad' bets lately.

    Apple has been making some bad bets lately. This will be another one.


    WHY? you ask.

    A "fan" will buy the White Album or Dark Side Of The Moon only so many times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 16 Aug 2016 @ 9:56am

    Why is anyone really surprised by this decision?

    Apple has a long history of changing their specs and making hardware obsolete. We're using floppy drives as an example, but a better one would be the change in the power connector from the iPhone 4 to iPhone 5. Suddenly, the port was smaller, which meant ALL of the existing peripherals no longer worked. But, surprise, all the hardware makers were on top of it and ready to sell everyone new products with the smaller connector.
    And what was the reason for this change? The size of the phone didn't get smaller- in fact, the iPhone 5, 6, and 6s are *bigger* than the 4.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I Don't Care Either Way, 16 Aug 2016 @ 11:53am

    One Bad Apple

    Hopefully, those who make Android and other phones will not follow down this same path.

    You don't think Google is wringing its hands over this, being hardly able to stop the drool and wetting themselves? This will give them at least a couple years to capitalize on the backlash against Apple when Apple forces DRM on their entire customer base.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Daniel, 25 Sep 2016 @ 10:44pm

    I agree

    Removing the 3.5mm jack does nothing but create inconvenience and increase the cost required to get a decent sounding pair of headphones. The idea that it’s for advancement is pure BS. This is about greed. Apple didn’t need to remove the traditional jack in order to provide its customers with Lightning headphone tech.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Apple Codename, 2 Oct 2016 @ 3:55pm

    Apple

    I think we should leave Apple to innovate and create products just like they have always been doing. If they think it is a good idea there must be a reason behind it. Apple does not do things for no reason.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 3 Oct 2016 @ 12:33am

      Re: Apple

      "If they think it is a good idea there must be a reason behind it. Apple does not do things for no reason."

      But, it might well be a good idea for *them* or a related 3rd party without being a good idea for everyone else. Apple don't do things for no reason at all, but they aren't opposed to doing something that negatively impacts the consumer in the long term.

      That's the focus of the article - what Apple are doing here might be very good for Apple, the RIAA and Beats. It may be very bad for the consumer. Maybe not, but that's worth investigating.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Labonno, 31 Oct 2016 @ 8:47am

    iphone

    nice.It is very nice phone .please visit my website to collect various phone visit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tutu helper, 6 Apr 2017 @ 11:33am

    paid apps for free

    Download tutu helper app to get customized apps on iPhone for free.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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