I caught an interesting feature on the new iPhones yesterday, on BuzzFeed, of all places. It’s all about the 3.5mm audio plug—or rather, the lack thereof, on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
Apple isn’t the first phone-maker to nix the headphone jack, but as the world’s most valuable brand it stands to face the most blowback from its customers. So it only makes sense that the first official explanation from the company got published in something other than your typical tech blog.
Here’s the relevant snippet straight from the source—Apple’s senior VP of hardware engineering Dan Riccio:
At the top of both devices is something called the “driver ledge”—a small printed circuit board that drives the iPhone’s display and its backlight. Historically, Apple placed it there to accommodate improvements in battery capacity, where it was out of the way. But according to Riccio, the driver ledge interfered with the iPhone 7 line’s new larger camera systems, so Apple moved the ledge lower in both devices. But there, it interfered with other components, particularly the audio jack.
So the company’s engineers tried removing the jack.
This design decision opened up some intriguing possibilities, like a bigger battery, IP7 water resistance and a “Taptic Engine” right behind the home button. All of these features are now standard on the 7 and 7 Plus.
So what’s the second reason? Well, buried in the middle of the piece is this:
The future of audio is wireless. And while the company might be giving every iPhone 7 owner a pair of Lightning EarPods (and an adapter!), what it really wants is for them to buy a pair of wireless AirPods.
Yet another intriguing development made possible by killing the headphone jack. Intriguing for Apple and its stockholders, anyway. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯