Will Apple’s iPhone 7 Say Goodbye to the Headphone Jack?

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Lately, the Internet has been abuzz about the potential removal of the 3.5 mm jack, but what does this actually mean for consumers?

Apple has had a history of removing legacy technologies. In 1998, despite the popularity of floppy disks, Apple replaced the floppy drive on the original iMac with an optical drive. The public was initially outraged but eventually accepted the change.

In 2008, Apple went a step further with their ultra-thin MacBook Air, removing the optical drive entirely. Once again, the public saw this as an inconvenience, but after a few years, computers without optical drives became fairly mainstream.

However, this year, Apple’s strategy is different. Unlike the headphone jack, the legacy technologies Apple replaced in the past were nearly obsolete. CDs were much faster to read and had much higher capacities than the floppies they replaced. Even more recently, the CD was on the way out, replaced with even higher quality lossless audio files and digital downloads.

In the upcoming iPhone 7, Apple is replacing a technology that still works extremely well. There is no inherent advantage for Apple to use their Lightning port for headphones besides for additional profits. The market for Lightning-to-3.5 mm jack adapters will take off with the launch of the new phone. An adapter for your old headphones might set you back $40-50.

Unfortunately, the loss of the headphone jack is something we’ll just have to get used to. In a few years, we might even look back and question why it was such a big issue. But for now, all we can do is wait and see.