By Muen Chen
For those of you who do not know what the heck an iPod Shuffle is, it is a chip-size MP3 player that mainly supports MP3, AAC, ALAC and WAV formatted files. The iconic fourth generation iPod Shuffle has a couple of major design defects — mainly that the music file quality is limited due to Shuffle’s two-gigabyte flash storage and the inability to freely choose which song to play next. Consequently, compared to its cousin, the iPod Nano, the iPod Shuffle seems a bit lacking in what we commonly refer to as “usefulness.”
Similarly, the iPhone 7 is not a well-qualified smartphone in 2016. Yes, it has a better processor. Yes, it can record 4K videos in 30fps. Yes, there is playback zoom and there is even autofocus during video recording. Yes, the maximum flash storage doubles. Despite all of these great new features, Apple decided to remove the audio jack, making iPhone 7 incompatible with the majority of earphones or headphones commonly used today. Most people who exercise use their smartphone as a music player, and those who take public transportation listen to their smartphone music to ease their tiring commute.
As illustrated by these examples, smartphones are frequently used for listening to music and have practically driven MP3 players out of the picture completely. However, on Sept. 7, Apple ditched the useful headphone jack without a care. This new design has forced consumers to choose between two options: either purchase and use a clunky and impractical adapter through the lighting port or use Bluetooth headphones, specifically “AirPods.”
Personally, even if an iPhone 7 costs slightly more than an iPhone 6S, I would still spend my money on the older model with zero hesitation as a replacement for my three-year-old veteran iPhone 5. A couple of students from Jogues share a similar opinion. When I asked them whether they would buy an iPhone 7 if their current phone was lost, four out of six of them said that they probably would not. One said that he was not sure and the last person did not want a “post-Steve-Jobs” iPhone at all. The majority of those who answered “no” expressed concerns over the new phone’s price and some of them complained about the missing audio jack. “The audio jacking is a total minus,” said Jacques Guillot, FCRH ’2020.
Such nonchalant attitudes toward the new iPhone are likely magnified by social media. Nonetheless, Apple lowered the price for its iPhone 6s as listed on the website from over $600 to $549 – a fairly significant price drop, which is good news for consumers who are looking to upgrade their phones at a lower price. This can be viewed as a lack of confidence in the iPhone 7; however, Apple has routinely dropped the price of older models when the new ones are released.
To sum it up, Apple’s move to remove the audio jack from their newest product crippled its functionality. We have seen such decisions in the company’s previous products such as its fourth generation iPod Shuffle and more recently its 12-inch 2304×1440 MacBook. What does the above decision tell us? Well, it is hard to say, but one observation we can make is that Apple does not place the consumer experience ahead of its design philosophy.