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Ridiculous outrage over rumour Apple will ditch headphone jack

Macworld Australia Staff | Jan. 12, 2016
There's nothing in any Apple documentation that states the need to buy a new iPhone every time a new model is released.

Here's how things work in today's world. There's a rumour or some newly announced feature in a piece of technology. That potential new feature or function has the potential to make your existing piece of technology seem dated or, worse still, obsolete.

So, in your hastily generated anger, you create an online petition, share it with a bunch of your friends and hope they share it with their friends. Hopefully, within a day or two, it will reach the inboxes of thousands of people who, in a moment of "me too outrage" sign the petition.

It sounds silly but this is what has happened over the last week or so as rumours that Apple will be dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack on the next iPhone are heating up.

Here's the situation. As Macworld Australia reported back in November, there's a rumour doing the rounds that Apple is planning to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack that has been the way we've connected our headphones to portable audio devices since the days of the portable transistor radio.

The "plan" - remember, this is all rumour and conjecture at this point - is to replace the 3.5mm socket with Lightning-connected or wireless headphones.

In some ways, this makes a lot of sense. It's one less port on the device so, in theory, on less thing that can go wrong. It's also one less port to waterproof if Apple adds some water resistance to the iPhone. Lightning is a digital connection so, in theory, we should be able to get much better audio quality as the 3.5mm port is analogue only.

But the downside - that drawer filled with old headphones suddenly gets a little less useful. I have a few sets of cheap headphones in case my kids or their friends forget to bring headphones. If I recall, they were freely given away at a hotel I stayed in so patrons could use them with gym equipment, such as treadmills and exercise bikes, that was equipped with TV screens.

And this is where the "Internet outrage" starts. A petition at Sum of Us submits that "Apple is about to rip off every one of its customers. Again".

As far as I can tell, there's nothing in any Apple documentation that states the need to buy a new iPhone every time a new model is released. Sure, it's nice to have the latest and greatest Cupertino has to offer but it's not mandatory.

The petitioner says Apple will "singlehandedly create mountains of electronic waste - that likely won't get recycled" and cites the example of Apple replacing the old 30-pin iPod connector as an example of Apple's irresponsible behaviour.


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