December 1, 2015 Last Updated 4:58 pm

No headphone jack? Some tech writers can’t imagine it

As technology progresses, there is always the instinct to insist that things are good just as they are, and that no new technology is of value unless increased sales can be guaranteed

Mwashable yesterday relayed the rumor from a Japanese Apple blog that the next version of the iPhone would appear without a headphone jack. Madness ensued, of course.

I have no idea if Apple would go in this direction, especially now that they own Beats, but few thought it a good idea to get rid of the floppy drive, or later the CD drive either. But it is amazing the power of conservative thinking.

I was reminded of this, but the way, on the day my new Bluetooth headphones arrived from Amazon, my one Cyber Monday purchase. Who needs to have a cord dangling from my iPhone, I thought as I bought the headphones. Maybe Apple thought that way, too.


I was also reminded how conservative people in our industry can be when I read some of the reaction to my Morning Brief from today which talked about eBooks. I didn’t think it would gather much attention because the subject is so familiar to the digital publishers I talk to all the time. How do you create a great eBook on, say travel or science, that works on all platforms and so can reach the greatest number of readers? The answer today is to compromise your vision of the book and eventually produce a version for the Kindle that you are not proud of, but still sells.

But so many who write about books only consider the fiction category and total book sales. So, if it doesn’t make the bestseller list then who cares?

But how many books make the bestseller list? and does the fact that a book on philosophy, poetry or science doesn’t sell millions mean that there is no value in making the best possible eBook possible? I suppose there are a number of traditional print publishers who think so. That those who write about the industry fall into this trap is what is so disappointing.

Those of us around during the beginning of the web publishing era remember the fights we got into trying to convince print publishers to publishing on the web, how conservative the establishing thinking was concerning digital publishing. So if many print publishers were resistant to advances in digital why should it surprise us that so many now involved in digital today find the idea of an evolving digital publishing industry equally repugnant?

So, I try and resist my first opinion of the rumor that Apple might kill off the headphone jack. Hell, maybe they will do it. My first thought was that there will be a lot of negative feedback from customers. Also, maybe Tim Cook has calculated how much more profitable an iPhone sale will be if they don’t have to include those headphones? Maybe it’s a cynical move by a megacorporation? An attempt to add a couple dollars of profit to an already massively profitable product line?

Or maybe we’ll all laugh when we remember what a hassle those headphone cords were when we went running? Leaders lead. They dare to say “no Flash” five and a half years before the company behind Flash finally comes around, for instance.

Note: the original post of Mashable guesses that Apple would use a multi-purpose USB-C port as a headphone jack. That’s possible, I suppose, though I think they are not thinking this way and would be pushing Bluetooth. But who knows, it’s a rumor, right?

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