Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Oct 2017 22:33 UTC
Multimedia, AV

Nilay Patel on the further disappearance of the headphone jack, and its replacement, Bluetooth:

To improve Bluetooth, platform vendors like Apple and Google are riffing on top of it, and that means they’re building custom solutions. And building custom solutions means they’re taking the opportunity to prioritize their own products, because that is a fair and rational thing for platform vendors to do.

Unfortunately, what is fair and rational for platform vendors isn’t always great for markets, competition, or consumers. And at the end of this road, we will have taken a simple, universal thing that enabled a vibrant market with tons of options for every consumer, and turned it into yet another limited market defined by ecosystem lock-in.

This is exactly what's happening, and it is turning something simple and straightforward - get headphones, plug it in literally every single piece of headphones-enabled audio equipment made in the last 100 years, and have it work - into an incompatibility nightmare. And this incompatibility nightmare is growing and getting worse, moving beyond just non-standard Bluetooth; you can't use Apple Music with speakers from Google or Amazon, and Spotify doesn't work on the Apple Watch.

Removing the headphone jack was a user-hostile move when Apple did it, and it's still a user-hostile move when Google does it.

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Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Fri 6th Oct 2017 17:56 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

So far, what has already being removed is:

1) MicroSD slots (replaced with expensive internal storage which also takes your photos with it, if the phone bricks itself)

2) Removable batteries (replaced with expensive deep surgery at some shop)

3) Headphone jacks (replaced with USB interface, necessitating an expensive DAC in every pair of headphones or a dongle)

What is on the way to removal:

- SIM slots (oh yeah, Manufacturers are already experimenting with e-SIMs)

The only consolation is that the only components which are not a spec list item and haven't been removed yet are the loudspeaker, the power button and the volume rocker buttons, hence it cannot possibly get why worse, on the virtue of not being much more stuff to remove.

PS: And what is annoying is that it IS possible to do analog audio over USB, my old Nikon camera does it. But then apple would have to ditch the myth of "it's digital so it's better" and offer a more bland explanation for the removal of the headphone jack (aka "we run out of millimetres and had to remove something").

Edited 2017-10-06 18:11 UTC

Reply Score: 5