Saturday, September 10, 2016

Apple Unveils the iPhone 7

Following-up, "PLAY X STORE Wireless Bluetooth Earhook Earbuds."

Wireless really is the wave!

At LAT, "Farewell, headphone jack. Apple is killing you, but we'll never forget the decades we shared":
Apple made the first move to retire the audio jack on Wednesday, announcing that it will eliminate the jack from its flagship iPhone 7 smartphones.

When the device ships Sept. 16, it will come with a pair of wired earphones that plug into Apple’s proprietary charging port and an adapter that works with 3.5-mm plugs. The company also announced a pair of wireless earbuds called AirPods, priced at $159. Beats, the headphone maker that Apple acquired in 2014 for $3 billion, will offer its own range of wireless headphones.

The jack won’t disappear from electronics overnight, according to tech experts, who said decades of being the standard consumer audio jack has made the 3.5-mm port and its earphones pervasive.

“[But] this is a very big deal,” said Vince Ponzo, senior director of the entrepreneurship program at Columbia Business School. “When the world’s largest phone distributor and seller eliminates that piece of technology from its phones, it’s a big step toward doing away with that technology entirely.”

And that’s not hyperbole, because when Apple moves, the industry typically follows. The company was one of the first to get rid of serial ports on computers and move to USB ports. It got rid of ethernet ports on laptops, forcing customers to use wireless Internet. It got rid of floppy disks and CD and DVD players. And it all but got rid of buttons from cellphones. These are now the norm. With the iPhone 7, a wireless music listening experience could become the new normal.

Apple executive Phil Schiller said the decision to ditch the port “comes down to courage” — a statement that drew snickers from the crowd gathered at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on Wednesday for the unveiling of the iPhone 7. He called the single-purpose technology “ancient,” taking up valuable real estate on an already compact device, and he spelled out hopes for a “wireless future.”

The new iPhone replaces the jack with another speaker, making the gadget twice as loud and allowing users to blast music for the first time in stereo.

The move will no doubt frustrate many customers who currently use wired headphones from third-party headset makers, or those whose junk drawers are filled with tangled earbuds for use when the current pair vanishes.

If Apple’s shift makes wireless earbuds commonplace, it will be a change mourned by those prone to losing things (imagine the frustration of digging through a purse to find only a single earbud). It will also irk anyone who doesn’t want to charge another device at the end of the day (Apple’s AirPods will run for five hours per charge.)

But the loss of the 3.5-mm jack won’t be felt for long, said Simon Hall, the head of music technology at the Birmingham Conservatoire, who said consumers will adapt.

“It’s going to be a change, but eventually it may be viewed as a storm in a teacup,” he said...
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