iPhone 7 design challenges familiar technology norms

Apple is facing heated resistance from the public due to the company’s recent decision to remove the headphone jack from the upcoming iPhone 7. According to Apple’s Senior Vice President of World Wide Marketing Phil Schiller, the removal of the headphone jack “really comes down to one word: courage. The courage to move on, do something new that betters all of us. And our team has tremendous courage.” While the words may be inspiring, much of the public has scorned Apple’s “courageous” decision, as its technological leap abruptly disturbs the public’s comfort with the familiarity of their smartphones and the use of the headphone jack.

In one review on the iPhone 7 announcement, online technology magazine The Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel wrote, “The traditional headphone jack is a standard for a reason—it works. It works so well that an entire ecosystem of other kinds of devices has built up around it, and millions of people have access to compatible devices at every conceivable price point.” With the removal of the headphone jack, many consumers will be torn between buying the pricey AirPods—which cost $159—or keeping their old headphones and using an adapter that plugs into the charger of the iPhone 7.

While some have accepted the fate of the new iPhone 7, an online petition was created in January––when the removal of the headphone jack was still tentative––and has received over 300,000 signatures. The petition criticizes the removal of the headphone jack, arguing that it will create “mountains of electronic waste” as people throw out their old headphones.

I would encourage anyone disappointed in the iPhone update to sign this petition. The sudden entrance of this new feature on the iPhone will lead to the disposal of a tremendous amount of electronics—such as old smartphones and headphones—before their prime. While I do promote the expansion of technological boundaries, I recognize the importance of a slow progression rather than a drastic change.

Apple and its new wireless headphones might be threatened because of how suddenly the company scrapped the headphone jack. If the change in technology were introduced gradually, consumers might have been less against the idea. Rather than taking out the headphone jack altogether so soon, Apple should allow users the option of choosing a new phone with or without this feature. This way, consumers could decide if the benefits of not having a headphone jack in the phone outweigh the cons.

While there might be no escape from a future headphone jack-free world, consumers can try to focus on the positives that come with this change. According to TechRadar, the loss of the headphone jack will supposedly lead to a “boosting [of] the quality of audio in a way that offers users a much better listening experience.”

Without the ancient headphone jack in the way, perhaps Apple will be able to improve their products with future innovations.