/ Shopping, Technology

iPhone 7: are you miffed that Apple’s scrapped the headphone socket?

Apple has removed the headphone socket from the iPhone 7. Will you want to buy into this new listening experience?

Yesterday Apple announced its newest release, the iPhone 7. It highlighted some impressive tech specs, along with the removal of a feature that could cause some controversy. The iPhone 7 has no headphone socket, instead relying on its Lightning connector and new AirPods.

No more socket

The missing headphone socket means customers won’t be able to plug their old headphones directly into the phone. If they don’t wish to use the AirPods, there are other options. They can either use other Lightning-based headphones, wireless Bluetooth headphones, or the headphone socket adaptor that’s included with the iPhone 7 to connect their old headphones.

So customers won’t be required to exclusively use Apple technology if they buy an iPhone. But many will still feel inconvenienced by the change, or most likely have to end up spending more money on compatible headphones.

Apple’s wireless headphones

The AirPods seem to be almost as big an announcement as the iPhone. Apple details how customers will be able to simultaneously connect them to other Apple devices, like a Mac, and how the AirPods can accept voice commands so you can operate your phone hands-free.

Apple says the lack of a headphone socket gives ‘a new sense of freedom’, and even goes as far as saying the AirPods are ‘magical’. The hype is definitely there. But for some the change might not feel liberating.

Using headphones with the adapter means another item to keep track of, and possibly more headphone tangles. The AirPods themselves, yes, are small and wireless. But there have been times I’ve been thankful my headphones have wires. For instance, during busy commutes when one earbud pops out of my ear and is saved from falling under a train due to its connection with my phone.

Here’s what Rory from our Tech team said about the missing headphone socket:

‘Apple says it took ‘courage’ to remove the headphone socket from the iPhone 7. I agree. It takes courage to eradicate the best audio standard in the world because you’re keen to cash in on your own proprietary system.

‘Sure, you can plug your own headphones in through the lightning adaptor that Apple will ship with the iPhone 7, but you won’t want to. Leave the adaptor connected and it will stick out and make it uncomfortable to have the phone in your pocket, or unplug it and lose it down the back of the sofa.

‘No, Apple wants you to splash out on its £159 AirPods. These require battery charging every few hours and have no cord, making them easy to lose. It’s not hard to see the point of Apple killing the headphone socket. In my opinion, the point is to make more money.’

Will more mobiles make this change?

Though there’s a lot of discussion about Apple’s decision, it’s not the first a mobile phone company to get rid of the headphone socket. The Moto Z, released earlier this year, is also missing this feature. So perhaps we’re starting to see a change in the mobile market, much like the phasing out of disc drives in laptops. Regardless, it marks a significant change for the iPhone market and the consumers who eagerly awaited this new release.

Do you think this marks a shift in phone audio? Does this change excite you, or will it discourage you from purchasing an iPhone 7? Tell us what you think in the comments and vote in our poll.


Comments
Member

As Terfar has said above you cant listen to music and charge your phone at the same time . The whole point of the new iphone is the “innovation ” of pioneering design -no wired headphone socket to allow stereo reception using twin speakers where the socket used to be and “guide” /direct you to buy their Airpods at a “measly ” $160/£123 . Who wants an adapter in a now very thin smartphone where any leverage can cause breakage due to mechanical forces acting against the lightning socket ? , at least the plug for the old wired headphones didnt apply the same mechanical stress .

Member

I don’t own an Apple Phone, and this gives me one more reason not to. A year or so ago, I bought myself a nice set of headphones(*) that I use with my mobile, which are wired (I also use them with my stereo). What concerns me is that Apple’s example will encourage other manufacturers to create phones without a head-phone jack.

I expect that the vaunted waterproofing would still work if a head-phone jack were coupled to the audio output using some sort of inductive coupling (like some rechargeable electric toothbrushes). Providing a head-phone jack would add to the bill of materials for the phone. In my view Apple are not being “courageous” – more “economical”.

(*) Which? recommended, of course!

Member

Simple precautions to prevent the movement of liquids through simple round holes, like headphone sockets, must be much easier to design and produce that sealing arrangements for rectangular ones like USB and (wallet) Lightening connectors.

The two cheap digital cameras lying here by my PC both have soft rubber covers over all of their external ports.

Member

Thanks for sharing your take on this @crepuscular, we’ve made your comment the featured comment on the Which? Conversation homepage 🙂

Member

Which of all organisations needs to wake up to just how disreputable Apple are when it comes to their highly questionable after sales care.

I’ve had iPods, iPhones & iPads for years and have needed to refer back to Apple support over failure of their products on many occasions over this time.

But when it comes to Apple Store ‘Genius Bar’ support my experience has always been that when a software or hardware issue cannot be resolved in store, Apples only policy is to swap the device for a refurbished identical model.

To reinforce this, Apple also has a rigid policy of not allowing upgrades or downgrades to other models that may not have the fault you are complaining about. So they offer no escape route this way either.

The major problem with this policy is that often, in my experience, the exchanged item will still have the same software or hardware fault, so of course the issue does not get resolved. And if you take the device back again to Apple, all they will do is swap it for the same model again which will be just as likely to have the same fault.

This has been the case with my iPhone 6 Plus. I paid for the 128GB model only to find that when more than about 1/2 it’s storage was used the phone kept continuously crashing. There were a huge number of complaints about this on Apples support forum and in the media but again Apple offered no solution other than to swap the product. I did this and the replacement had exactly the same problem. I swapped it again through the same Apple Store and it again had the same fault. So in the end I’d paid for a 128GB model but could only keep it working if I used less than 1/2 this.

And now this latest issue with what’s infamously become known as ‘Touch disease’, affecting ‘just’ the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as far as I know. Where the screen intermittently but frequently becomes completely unresponsive to touch so not even the phone can be used. Again widely reported in the media and a large number of complaints on Apples forum. But again complete silence from Apple other than through the only option it seems to understand – swap the unit.

There are however numerous reports in the media that the refurbished units also commonly have the same problem. So much so apparently, that Apple employees often have to go through several refurbished units to find one that does not immediately demonstrate the fault.

For me this latest example of Apple indifference is the last straw and I intend to dispose of all my Apple products and move over to Android.

But to describe this as just Apple’s indifference is also misleading. The class action lawsuit in the States that claims Apple’s denial of responsibility is criminal is much closer to the truth in my view.

Interestingly, Apple is now promoting in the UK its option of buying a new phone through them every year. This should certainly help its policy of refusing to repair older phones but is also deeply cynical I think. It’s a long way from being properly responsible to its customers or environmentally friendly despite the iPhones supposed recyclability.

Member

Norman I have the real cause of the iphone 6 touch screen unresponsive it took me three different browsers (no chrome/Google /Opera etc ) , small less well known and LInux related .In doing so I found Apple dont like Tor browser- blocked it. Anyway using a small specialised one I got a US tech engineer who repairs iphones (for a price ) and to save a mile of tech info -it boils down to= iphone 6 was made “bendy ” as people were putting it in their hip pocket ,all well and good but it bends the board containing the touch IC chips and eventually a small crack appears over time it deepens into a full separation before that it becomes unresponsive but bending the phone sometimes restores it .If you open the phone and put your finger on the chip it gets it working again (while your thumb is on it ) . The tech gentleman concerned -hooray for him ! has repaired 100,s of the same boards , so there you are Apple not willing to admit something I used to repair years ago on larger PCB,s in TV,s /radios /you name it. Dont go to a “re-flow ” (solder ) specialist , wont last ,both touch chips should be replaced at same time. (cumulus chip and meson chip ) . Hope this answers your question ?

Member

You can’t be looking in the right places, as the Register reported this on 24th August:

“Apple’s swanky iPhones can suffer chip failures that can render the touchscreen unusable.

This according to a report from DIY repair site iFixit, which says two controller chips on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus logic board can lose their electrical contacts, and when they go, the handset’s touchscreen no longer works.

The issue commonly begins with gray bars appearing on the screen or touch features not working occasionally. Because of this, iFixit says, the problem can incorrectly be attributed to a faulty touchscreen.

In reality, however, the issue is caused by failures in the U2402 “Meson” and U2401 “Cumulus” chips, both of which are soldered onto the main board and act as controllers to handle the touch features on Apple’s smartphone.”

Member

Ian- the website In was on was a digital tech engineer who makes a living out of repairing digital equipment and who stated that he has repaired more than 100 of this type of fault and that his colleagues were told to keep their mouths shut as they might lose business (from Apple ) if they spoke out . If the choice is between a web report and an actual digital engineer with letters after his name who actually repairs the fault , in my book its no contest- engineer wins out every time.