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Apple was leaving the 3.5mm analog audio jack behind. “It comes down to one word: Courage”

Phil Schiller today caused the largest collective eyeroll in the history of the world with his explanation of why Apple was leaving the 3.5mm analog audio jack behind. “It comes down to one word: Courage.”

Apple is taking the first step to make sure that never happens. They’re able to do this because no one can do anything about it. They’re in a position of immense power and they’re using that power to eliminate something good and replace it with something that makes them money.

Second, if it’s courageous to remove the headphone port, what is it when you include the ability to restore it in the box? I mean, judged by their own standards, that must be abject cowardice, right?

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But it isn’t courage. And Apple has behaved courageously before, at least within the limitations of how courageous a global corporation can be: I think it was courage (and self-interest) that made it fight the FBI the way it has. It was courageous to come out in favor of marriage equality and other civil rights issues.

Removing the headphone jack from the iPhone is not an act of courage, it’s an act of leverage.

The avalanche of gobbledygook Schiller unloaded onto the audience while attempting to justify replacing a 50-year-old standard port with a proprietary interface was meaningless. The Lightning port is totally unsuited to sending and receiving audio.

Audio is so simple to transmit in high fidelity that it can be done with a wire hanger. Using a powered, high-bandwidth data interface adds nothing but cost and complexity, and the space you save is minimal.

There’s some interesting functionality on-board, as well. There’s a certain benefit to the Apple synergy here — in this case, they pair pretty instantly with your iPhone the moment you open the charging case (which, incidentally looks almost exactly like Glide dental floss, because good design is timeless, etc.). They feature touch functionality, as well, so you can, say, double tap to activate Siri, who will take commands via the built-in mics.

Digital-to-analog conversion has to be done eventually, because speakers don’t produce sound waves with 1s and 0s. Whether you do it a millimeter from the speaker or three feet away in the phone itself is not important. It won’t affect the sound quality.

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