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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RE: DRM is the future
by kurkosdr on Fri 6th Oct 2017 18:05 UTC in reply to "DRM is the future"
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

The removal of the last analog output from the iPhone/Pixel opens the gates for (future) DRM strategies.

At some point only "compliant" music will be allowed to play through the "sanctioned" USB headphones.


Apple could already impose such restriction even on iPhones with a headphone jackck, because they control the filesystem, the OS and the apps the OS runs, they don't need to ditch the headphone jack for this.

What they could do however is use some kind of DRM in the USB interface in order to provide a "protected path" that will help them secure exclusivities from music labels. Think of the Blu-ray player - HDMI interface - HDMI monitor chain to understand what I am talking about.

And of course some kid will figure a way to capture the content directly from the device making the whole chain an exercise in futility. But the labels will have already been sold on the idea anyway (think Blu-ray and HDDVD, in fact Blu-ray won the format war party because it was supposed to have more "unbreakable" DRM than HDDVD).

Edited 2017-10-06 18:14 UTC

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