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"
grat
Member since:
2006-02-02

Yes, because DRM worked so well for iTunes.

And DIVX.

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).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: DRM is the future
by kurkosdr on Fri 6th Oct 2017 21:31 in reply to "RE: DRM is the future"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

Yes, because DRM worked so well for iTunes.


It did. iTunes was the first successful online music store. Although I personally didn't understand the point behind iTunes DRM, since the files could be burnt to CD and then ripped to some other DRM-free format (lossless or not), it apparently was enough for the record label execs to be sold to the idea of the digital music store. Also, iTunes compat was a big unique selling point (read: vendor lock-in) for the iPod line of devices, making the iPod a very profitable cash cow for Apple which financed their Mac advertising campaign and their iPhone endeavor.

And DIVX.


That was a solution for a problem that never existed: Special DVD rental discs requiring special expensive and connected players for minor added functionality compared to ordinary DVD-Video discs.

The DVD-Video format though was successful partly because of DRM, since studio execs had made it clear there would be no digital releases in full standard definition resolution without DRM.

And Sony.


Developers abandoned the Dreamcast and went to the PS2, despite the fact the PS2 was harder to program for, because a great deal of Dreamcast consoles allowed users to just run games from CD-Rs, no mod chips needed. Blu-ray won over HDDVD party because it had BD+, which was marketed to studio execs as unbreakable.

Edited 2017-10-06 21:34 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: DRM is the future
by grat on Sat 7th Oct 2017 02:56 in reply to "RE[2]: DRM is the future"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

... and Apple was the first to drop DRM from it's store.

As far as Sony goes, I was thinking their CD copy-protection effort that resulted in massive lawsuits.

I do agree DIVX was a solution in search of a problem.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: DRM is the future
by tylerdurden on Sat 7th Oct 2017 01:09 in reply to "RE: DRM is the future"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

The two things we're talking about are orthogonal, and one does not necessarily negate the other.

Removing the headphone jack is a great cost cutting measure. Yes, it does simply the design. And in the case of Apple it opens a new revenue stream of accessories.

It also eliminates the last major analog unsigned output. In case you haven't noticed, apple is no longer just a vendor of HW, but is also a media ecosystem especially as iOS is concerned. There's nothing "conspiratorial" in what I wrote. Revenues from media are highly depend on the ability to control it's distribution, if they aren't going to be subsidized by advertisement.

Edited 2017-10-07 01:16 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: DRM is the future
by grat on Sat 7th Oct 2017 21:04 in reply to "RE[2]: DRM is the future"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

Revenues also depend on sales.

Remember the furor when Apple gave everybody a copy of the new U2 single? That was a reaction to Apple giving something away for *free*.

Can you imagine the uproar if Apple stops letting you play your choice of audio on their phone?

It would be fiscal suicide.

My whole point about DRM and iTunes was that Apple had it (along with the few other stores at the time). They removed DRM, and saw huge benefits.

And while HDMI has DRM built in, to my knowledge, there is not a single HDMI component that refuses to pass an HDCP-free signal, which is the equivalent to what you're suggesting.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: DRM is the future
by zima on Sat 7th Oct 2017 17:25 in reply to "RE: DRM is the future"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

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.

And in fact TPM is used to probably greatest lengths by Linux PCs - Chromebooks.

Reply Parent Score: 2