Early this year, rumour mills began circulating the story that Apple was ditching the 3.5 mm headphone jack in the iPhone. As September drew closer, speculation became feverish until reports confirmed the demise of the headphone jack. Yesterday, at the iPhone 7 launch event, Apple confirmed that the famed 3.5 jack was gone from the iPhone.
Apple's immediate wired replacement is a headphone pair that works on the lightening adapter in the iPhone that is meant for charging. The Cupertino, California-based company will also be supplying an adapter with iPhone 7 for old headphones.
The company's VP, Phil Schiller, said that Apple removed the headphone jack because it takes "courage" to do something new, and that there is indeed a huge amount of engineering work that has gone into the new headphones.
"The audio connector is more than a 100 years old. It had its last big innovation about 50 years ago. You know what that was? They made it smaller. It hasn't been touched since then. It's a dinosaur. It's time to move on," Apple VP Greg Joswaik told Buzzfeed News.
"It was holding us back from a number of things we wanted to put into the iPhone. It was fighting for space with camera technologies and processors and battery life. And frankly, when there's a better, modern solution available, it's crazy to keep it around," Dan Ricco, VP of hardware engineering, said.
Along with killing the headphone jack, Apple introduced a pair of new wireless headphones called Airpods. While the Internet was busy making "I lost one of the pods already" memes, Apple has tried to shake up the stagnant wireless headphone market.
Airpods will come with a charging case and will work with iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple Watch. The company has integrated machine learning by including Siri support. The user can double tap the airpods and activate Siri.
Apple has included a lot of sensors in the Airpods for gesture support. For instance, the music will only play when both the pods are in your ears. If you remove one of them you can have a conversation, and if you remove both, the music will stop playing. The dual optical sensors and dual accelerometers help the cause as well.
The company has integrated the use of Airpods with iCloud. Once you activate them, Airpods can connect to any device with your iCloud account seamlessly. So, when you are listening to music on your Watch and receive a call on the iPhone there is no need to switch the devices.
The Airpods have built-in mics that let you give commands or have a conversation with noise cancellation technology. The new offering from Apple runs on a low-power W1 chip along with Bluetooth standards. The company claims that the Airpods will last for 5 hours and, along with the charging case, can give the users 24 hours of listening time.
"AirPods are the first headphones to deliver a breakthrough wireless audio experience, and with the new Apple W1 chip they deliver innovative features including high-quality sound, great battery life, and automatic setup," Schiller said.
"AirPods are simple and magical to use, with no switches or buttons, automatically connecting to all your Apple devices simply and seamlessly, and letting you access Siri with just a double tap. We can't wait for users to try them with iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2," he added.
However, these wireless earbuds cost a whopping ₹15,400 in India and will be available for purchase from late October. Apple has made sure that they are compatible only with the latest devices. You need to have a device running iOS 10, Mac OS Sierra or WatchOS 3.
Even with all these features, customers' fear of losing a pod is probably valid. And the smooth surface design need not necessarily fit all ears. The coming months will tell us whether we are really on the path to a wireless revolution or whether we will need our headphone jack back.