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 grat on Fri 6th Oct 2017 19:44 UTC in reply to "DRM is the future"
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Yes, because DRM worked so well for iTunes.


And Sony.

This isn't a conspiracy about what you can and can't play, it's the engineers whining about that audio amplifier circuit that requires isolation and discrete amplifier chips for left/right, and that massive 3.5" jack which has to be anchored to the circuit board in such a way that the average gorilla (ie, user) can't rip it loose-- especially when the phone already has the circuitry for broadcasting a digital stereo signal over short range, that's easily able to handle your 128 kb/s MP3 file.

Analog audio, especially in the digital age, isn't as easy as you think-- multi-gigahertz quad- and hex-core CPU's generate a lot of interference-- not to mention the cellular radio.

And as for Thom's assertion that analog headphones have "just worked" for the past 100 years, when I was a kid, they tended to have 1/4" stereo plugs-- 1/8" didn't show up until the walkman era (which I slightly predate)-- not to mention XLR and RCA connectors, and don't even get me started on "impedance", something that serious headphone users care a great deal about.

Yeah, the beats and buds headsets are overpriced marketing blunders-- but I've been reliably using bluetooth audio since the A2DP profile came out with stereo support.

When TPM came out, it was "proof" that Microsoft would block Linux from ever running on PC.

When UEFI / SecureBoot came out, it was a "fact" that this would prevent anyone besides Microsoft from installing an OS on your PC.

Neither came to pass. I have linux booting from UEFI, and by choice, have secureboot disabled, and TPM has uses, but not enough that most people bother purchasing the module.

While apparently, I can't tell Alexa to queue up songs on Spotify, that's an infrastructure issue that I avoid by not inviting Alexa, Google, Siri, or Cortana to spy on me in my own home. If you have one of these devices, you have already elected to wall yourself up in their ecosystem.

Now, tell me I can't use the bluetooth headset of my choice to listen to an iPhone or a Pixel phone, and there may be something to this talk of conspiracy-- but the Verge article reads to me as FUD trying to draw parallels where none exist (yet).

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