This week Apple announced their newest pair of flagship smartphones: the iPhone 7 and 7+. Consistent with many controversial rumors, Apple removed their headphone jack and released a wireless version of their EarPod headphones hoping to compensate for the change. Here are my thoughts!
I will begin by playing devil’s advocate and siding with Apple. I am personally a huge fan of Bluetooth accessories, especially headphones. I have reviewed several pairs of Bluetooth headphones and most of my audio consumption is done wirelessly. Many companies are now offering “truly wireless” earphones that literally contain no visible wires. Wired audio is definitely decreasing in popularity. By removing the headphone jack, Apple could make their iPhone 7 thinner and implement stereo speakers.
Despite my previous personal examples, there are many times when I use wired audio accessories. Sometimes, I don’t want to go through the trouble of turning on, pairing and charging a pair of wireless headphones. Sometimes, I fear that my headphones will be stolen, so I take a cheap pair of wired buds with me. The point is, many consumers have opted into Bluetooth technology, but very few are using it exclusively. Sure, Apple now makes “Lightning EarPods” that plug into the device’s charging port. The problem: you can’t listen to audio while your device is plugged in. Don’t want to use Apple EarPods? Apple provides a lightning to 3.5mm adapter so you can use any pair of headphones through the charging port. Here you have the same problem of not being able to charge the device plus the annoyance of having a dongle hanging from your phone.
Along with their iPhone 7, Apple announced the ‘AirPods’; their take on “truly wireless” earbuds.
These $159 earphones look exactly like the EarPods that come with the iPhone, sans wires. I must quickly disclaim that I have not personally tried the AirPods, so everything I say from here on is based on what I have gathered from the testing done by others. The AirPods not only look identical to the EarPods, but also seem to feel and sound identical. The EarPods are one size fits all. In my ears, EarPods awkwardly sit on the outside of my ears providing muffled sound and no outside noise cancellation whatsoever. I have used generic pairs of Bluetooth headphones that are under $20 that fit, sound and cancel noise better than Apple’s EarPods. No, said generic pairs are not “truly wireless”, but they are Bluetooth, meaning there is no wire running from the headphones to your phone. For every usage situation of mine, including working out, this is sufficient.
To summarize, the removal of the headphone jack from the newly announced iPhone 7 strongly limits usage regarding audio consumption. For some consumers, maybe the benefits outweigh the detriments. For me? I’m not seeing it. Apple’s new AirPods are an overpriced pair of low quality, truly wireless headphones that I would only recommend to consumers looking to use exclusively Apple products and accessories.
Disclaimer: This article consists of my opinions. Everyone is entitled to their own. I am more than happy to discuss this and hear alternative opinions respectfully.
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