More than 200,000 people petitioning Apple not to ditch the headphone jack

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iPhone 6 headphone jack
We'll miss you, headphone jack.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

You can try arguing that Apple’s doing what it’s always done by allegedly eliminating the (quite literally) century-old 3.5mm jack from the upcoming iPhone 7 — but 204,305 people are going to disagree with you.

“Apple is about to rip off every one of its customers,” reads a petition on the site Sum of Us, whose tagline says that it’s, “Fighting for people over profits.”

While I can’t stress enough how annoyed I get by online petitions and other “slacktivism” forms of public protest, at least in this case the creators of the petition have a valid concern: namely that getting users to replace their existing headphones with Lightning or Bluetooth headphones is certain to, “singlehandedly create mountains of electronic waste — that likely won’t get recycled.”

With that said, picking on Apple — and asking it to stop innovating — seems short-sighted. Not only has the company focused heavily on investing in renewable energy, upping its green credentials, and far more during Tim Cook’s reign as CEO, but creating less waste (in this case, making less gadgets) is a far less realistic solution than raising awareness of the need to recycle.

On top of this, I’m unsure about how much Apple (whose founder Steve Jobs famously said that you’ve got to show customers what they want next, rather than ask them) is going to listen to an online petition. Particularly when 200,000 people is a mere fraction of the roughly 13 million people who bought the company’s latest iPhone during its launch weekend.

Source: Sum of Us

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  • http://blog.walkingsmarts.com/ Eimantas

    All of those people seem to be missing the floppy disc drives, cd/dvd drives or firewire ports in their laptops/imacs.

    • Grits n Gravy

      And the optical port on the ATV4

      • Richard Ludwig

        I actually would love to be able to connect an external optical drive to an Apple TV.

      • frank

        Genuinely curious – why?

      • Rick Ludwig

        Because I have a ton of DVDs and Netflix has been dumping a lot of movies of late. I don’t have cable or a gaming system. I may yet get a DVD player for my TV, but I’d rather just connect my Macbook’s USB optical drive to the Apple TV.

        Short answer: it would be continent for my particular situation. Yeah, there’s ways around it, but none that I’ve liked enough to move on.

      • Kyle Baity

        He’s talking about optical audio, not a USB port.

  • laser132217

    I for one hope they do get rid of it… as long as they include a set of wireless earbuds why not? If it means never having to spend 15 minutes untangling a set of headphones again, I say do it.

    • Donna

      That port is used for more than headphones. In my case, i connect to my car radio (Cadillac 2008 CTS) using the headphone jack. My car came with that capability, along with the connector for charging, which of course doesn’t work any longer since they switched to the lightning ports. I listen to audio books in my car, pretty much exclusively. I guess this means I won’t be buying another iphone once this one kicks the bucket. Or I guess I could just put the books on my old iPod 160GB! Progress is good, yes, but for the sake of making it thinner? Personally, I liked the size and heft of my old iphone 4.

      • jonathanober

        Couldnt you just listen to it through the phone speaker while driving down the road? I have an old van, not carplay enabled or anything like that and music/audiobooks work just fine while driving.

      • http://www.feastofbeast.com DJBabyBuster

        blasphemy

      • jonathanober

        I don’t think you know what blasphemy means… :P

      • http://www.feastofbeast.com DJBabyBuster

        false

      • Donna

        Of course I ‘could’ do that, but it doesn’t sound nearly as good as it does through the car’s speakers, as you can imagine.

      • frank

        an 08 Cadillac doesn’t have bluetooth??

      • Donna

        Nope. Wish it did.

      • puggsly

        Is the charging dock only for charging? or could you get a dock to lightning connector and kill two birds with one stone?

        Also, I picked up a tiny AirPlay capable dongle that connects to the car’s headphone jack and can not stream via AirPlay to my car. I’m sure Bluetooth devices exist as well.

        Bottom line that port has to die someday. If not with iPhone 7 then maybe iPhone 8. But someday people have to just let it go.

      • Lance Corvette

        People use the port for credit card readers as well.

      • harrydevlin

        Don’t worry, you can buy an Apple car to go with the iPhone 7.

    • http://www.feastofbeast.com DJBabyBuster

      Yeah instead you’ll get the far more annoying discovery that your bluetooth batteries are dead again.

      • laser132217

        Fair point… although I’ve got a pretty good charging routine going

  • Garrett Fahey

    Away with it!

  • Joe Madzelan

    I think I’ll start and online petition to silence those people who started this foolish online petition. Who actually uses wired headphones anymore anyway? It’s not like apple won’t continue to include headphones with the new devices anyway. At least that has always been there trend. If the switch to using the lightning or USB-C Port for their headphones, they most likely will include that style of headphones with it. Besides, the headphones don’t last that long anyway and most people are more than likely throwing them away now anyhow.

    • RyanTV

      Most people still use wired headphones. I live in NYC and looking around on the subway, I’d say better than 80% of people that are using headphones use wired headphones.

      I personally use very high quality in ear monitors and I’d never want them to be wireless. I spent a ton of money on them because I wanted the best sound quality (and then ripped a ton of music in ALAC because mp3s sounded so bad).

      Beyond that, I really couldn’t care less if they make the iPhone any thinner. The 6s+ that I carry is ridiculously thin already. I’d just like to have more storage space – lossless files take up quite a bit.

      • Hildebrand

        You can probably afford a $19 converter.

      • Andrew

        Another unnecessary waste of $19 and another thing to keep track of when the headphone jack is perfectly fine. No, thank you.

    • Andrew

      I use wired headphones and I don’t use the crappy ones that Apple includes with their products.

      • Richard Ludwig

        They’re not crappy headphones, they’re actually pretty good. They’re not the best, and they’re not for people who demand the absolute highest sound quality, but for the vast majority they’re very good headphones.

    • http://howieit.com Howie Isaacks

      I use the wired headphones sometimes, mainly for phone calls. If audio quality is improved by using the lightning port, then wired headphones would be good. For working out, I use my Powerbeats 2 bluetooth headphones.

  • Oliviu Gagiu

    same discussion as with the CD/DVD drives in Macs.

  • AAPL.To.Break.$130.Soon>:-)

    Since when has Apple become a democracy where consumers determine Apple’s internal plans for product design? I’d have to think this petition is a rather unusual thing. I’m surprised more people don’t do this for all sorts of common devices to stop change from occurring. If that’s the case, they probably should have petitioned Apple when it came to designing the trashcan Mac Pro. Now that was a really huge design departure for a computer made for professionals needing specific compatibility standards.

    • Andrew

      Did anyone know the trashcan was coming? Maybe I missed the memo but it was a complete shock to me. I for one hate how Apple is making their machines less and less serviceable by end users. Can’t even upgrade the RAM in a laptop anymore? The Pro was the last holdout and now it’s one of the worst as far as aftermarket upgrades if I remember correctly.

      As someone else has said, I guess it’s irrelevant because Apple tells people what they want rather than asking them. If I had my way I’d be able to buy a tower (not a dual-CPU server monster that the Pro is/was) that I could upgrade easily, swap failed components, et cetera. Like I did countless times running Windows, only not being stuck running Windows.

      • Lance Corvette

        It’s all about the iPhone these days Andrew, and the new watch thingy that seems pointless overall.

        Real people who use computers for real stuff like us are no longer Apple’s target clientele.

  • PTVMan

    A petition based on pure speculation is a waste of time and energy. IF Apple does away with the 3.5mm jack they will almost certainly provide a solution like also including a pair of wireless ear buds.

    • Lance Corvette

      What about for credit card dongles like for Paypal?

      • PTVMan

        That’s a great question. That is a pretty large usage area.

  • Gabriel

    It is not about ditch the jack 3.5, it is about usability. If Apple ditch lightning and focus on USB c, nice.
    But think about it, you will not be able to use your current headphones while charging it and using!

    How would I be able to watch, let’s say, Netflix with my headphones while charging my iphone?

    Even if I use a wireless headphone, this just means another thing that I should remember to charge. Oh you’re going to a trip and forgot to charge your headphones? Well too bad!

  • JVB

    Wah wah wah. They’re taking away our headphone jack in the iPhone. Let’s just take all of our 90’s tech and go sit in the corner and hold our breath until they are forced not to get rid of it.

  • Chad

    And all you insanely intelligent people here mocking everyone that doesn’t want to get rid of the port all so far have one argument, use wireless headphones because the port is 100 years old. Wow, Good argument, and your going to buy me these wireless headphones to replace all the different pairs I already have, and buy me three new home stereos that have built in Bluetooth, and buy me new receivers for my vehicles that don’t have blue tooth, and your going to buy us all new mini stereo systems we use in the garage, backyard, and at the cottage that has blue tooth, and your going to buy all the retailers that have bought the card readers for iPhone a new card reader that has Bluetooth? Didn’t think so, just talking out of your asses as usual, if your so damn smart and know it all, why are you a poor idiot who only has an audience to listen to you in the comments section of this one article on this site, why aren’t you the ceo of a billion dollar company….because you don’t know best, that’s why. Now I’ll take my thousands of dollars in brand new blue tooth enabled devices from you loud mouth, right now, pay up. And I’m just one of the millions of people who’s multiple upon multiple devices you can go ahead and replace now.

    • Whatthewha

      You’ll be able to buy a cheap adapter. Chill out!

      • Lance Corvette

        I think his point was that *you* can buy him the adapter because everything else he owns on which he uses the iPhone’s 3.5mm port aren’t bluetooth compatible, so he won’t be able to use his iPhone for one of the core reasons people use it.

    • puggsly

      No! We aren’t!

      What we are saying is we don’t care about the people who will be inconvenienced by this because we see the benefits as being worthwhile. There is someone out there who is still angry that their new laptop doesn’t have a parallel port or a SCSI port, but you probably don’t care about him ether because you were willing to move beyond your 1990’s printer or HardDrive.

      Apple moves early when it comes to killing off old tech, maybe too early at times. But it moves the industry forward and if they kill off this jack this year, by the end of 2018 you will start to find it hard to find a phone that includes it. As a result wireless headphones will get better, and cheaper and nobody will care.

      I think it is nice of Apple to release the rumors so that people know not to buy into wired headphones going forward.

  • jay

    since the iPhone 7 is already in use there is not a going back. i have no problem if they take off the headphone jack because i am not using it at all. maybe sometimes but than i use the apple once anyways. however apple does it because saving money and thats a lot.

  • BruceW

    Do people not understand that even if the headphone jack is gone, Apple will have a solution for you to continue to use your current wired headphones? There will be an adapter…geez.

    • Lance Corvette

      So … they’re going to get rid of the headphone jack for wired headphones but provide a jack for people to use their wired headphones to make up for removing the wired headphone jack?

      I miss Steve Jobs.

  • Matthew Gill

    I use it when I plug in headphones for the gym. As long as I can use an adapter for the lightning jack I don’t mind it being gone for a sleeker, more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

  • Ruben Medrano

    Who cares if they ditch the headphone jack, as long as they offer a Lightning Port-to-Headphone Jack Adapter, which shouldn’t be too hard to make.

  • Hildebrand

    What exactly is the problem? The first iPhone without a headphone port will come with a special lightning headphone, so you will not need the headphone jack anymore.

    Many larger headphones connect via Bluetooth, while you will probably be able to buy a converter if you have a larger wired headphone.

    Elimination of old techniques is the only road to the future of tech products.

    • Lance Corvette

      How do I plug it into my car stereo, or use my PayPal dongle to take payments?

  • bdkennedy11

    If they offer a free adapter, then I’m fine with it. But I’m not going to pay for it. I’m tired of Apple removing features and expecting the consumer to pay to get it back.

  • gareth edwards

    Part of me thinks “Yes! ditch it and let’s take headphones truly wireless” but then I stop in my tracks and suddenly I’m filled with dread. So now I will have a pair of UE Superfi Pro 5’s and Sony XBA H1’s and some Sennheisers which all sounds really fucking awesome that will either have to go in the bin OR I will have to buy an intermediary dongle of some sort to attach them to the phones lightening port?

    I’d be fine if they provide a lightening to 3.5mm adapter for free in the box, if not this kind of thing would actually make me reconsider my next phone. Last thing I want to have to do it plonk down £30 for a cable I shouldn’t need or work all new headphones.

    • Paul Inskip

      I think the main issue (for me at least) is not being able to use wired headphones while charging, one main use case is in the car. Using sat nav on the phone it has to be charging otherwise it kills the battery. This would mean I would have to use Bluetooth headphones, on a long journey I’d have to take 2 or 3 pairs which is silly.
      I think doing away with the port is fine but only when Bluetooth headphones work better and have 10+ hours battery life and wireless charging

      • puggsly

        or when the adapter has a port that can be plugged into both a charger and a pair of head phones.

  • HowardBrazee

    No, they aren’t disagreeing with me. They are just disagreeing whether Apple *should* be doing what it has always done. That said, I bought a USB disk drive when I replaced my old iMac.

  • Cool Nick

    DEAR APPLE! PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE HEADPHONE JACK FROM YOUR IPHONES!
    Apple should not remove the jack for wired headphones. The jack won’t do any harm. If you ain’t gunna use it, fine. It’s a tiny hole there for the headphones. Taking no space. But if you need it, using adaptor is just ridiculous. Making themuser pay for something dat was there before an been removed is also terrible. Just leave it the way it is. Wireless headphones are cool. But theres a price tag attached. It may not be terribly expensive, but everything adds up.
    Also: Apple gotta work on security issues. After all, do we wanna some one to tune in to our wireless headphones? Yeah, they prolly worked it out. But it;s another gateway to breach for hackers. No, I’m not saying dis should stop the progress, but you should not cut off the previous technology dat takes no external space and will be used for a while.
    Not just wired headphones on the street.. Or with navigator in the car, as described
    by Paul Inskip below. How about a plane? I wanna watch vids or listen to songs on my iPhone. The mode on the iPhone is Airplane, for obvious reasons. When on a plane, you may want to share those vids/songs etc wid your gf. Or wife. Or child. You will put a double adaptor into the jack and each of you puts wired headphones on. I love iPhones! I’m Apple’s loyal customer. And I want to remain the same. Thank you! Nick.

    • puggsly

      Dear Nick! NO!

      That little hole that takes up no space is the largest diameter hole in an iPhone. It is today the limiting factor on the thickness of the phone and although you see it as taking up “no space” you would be entirely wrong. The post extends 8-10mm into the phone and the housing is probably 6mm wide. Now I dont know what 50-60 square mm of space buys you in a phone today but it is far from nothing. Also that hole is difficult to fully waterproof.

      But that is not even really the point. The point is we shouldn’t need wires for headphones anymore and if Apple moves away from them it will force the industry to move along with them and 3 years from now people will think you are silly to want wires.

      Today maybe too soon! but it feels like about the right time.

  • bonro001

    I read the petition and disagree. I get they want the jack to be left intact, but I also head that Apple will sell an adapter, so you don’t have to throw out your old headset. This alone invalidates the main tent pole of the petition. Which is my point, the petition makes it sounds like not removing the port will solve world hunger. I thought most folks were smarter than that, looks like 200K or so are not.

    • Cool Nick

      Dear smart man,
      How much space does the jack take? So, if I wanna use wired headphones, I gotta buy adapter and carry it with me? I don;t find dat idea very smart. Or, let’s say, very appealing.
      A smart technology provides for new things, at the same time allowing for traditional things (if they are currently widely spread) to be used alongside new, especially if traditional things take absolutely no extra space as oppose to something dat would otherwise make new iPhone bulkier (in the latter case, you could justify the adaptor).
      And one more thing. It is not very nice to call a huge number of people “not smart” when they do not just bluntly oppose removal of jack because of reluctance for change, but present plausible arguments in respect of usage, space, appearance and technical issues for both case scenarios. Even in the worst case scenario, when someone does not explain much, I would refrain from calling people “not smart” etc, because it is a well-known axiom that people who consider themselves smarter than others, are themselves most likely quite the opposite. Another famous saying is: how smart you are, is defined by calculation: by putting opinion of other people about you as a dividend, and your own opinion about yourself as a divisor.
      And lastly, I meant no insult or disrespect by my comments. Just wanted to step in and defend the case for over 200K people, including myself. Peace! nick.

      • bonro001

        You make a good point, edited that part out.

      • puggsly

        Calling names is a poor excuse for an argument, I will agree. But disagreeing with value proposition of points of an argument is also quite reasonable. So to understand my stance you must understand my points (understand but not necessarily agree).

        Pros to removing
        1) Inexpensive high quality wireless headphones are superior to wired headphones in many ways.
        2) Current headphone jack limits potential designs and features of future iPhones. (sets a minimum thickness and hampers water proofing).
        3) Uses up valuable space (I calculate about 50 square mm).

        Now I understand that point 1 is not yet 100% true, but by pushing a move to wireless, it will drive down prices and drive up quality.

        Cons to removing
        1) Compatibility with legacy headphones and speakers.

        This one negative can be solved with an adapter that only imposes a minor negative. But that is not the only solution. There are adapters that connect via bluetooth or even Wifi (airplay) that actually enhance the user experience in the long run.

        Finally! I’d argue that we all understand that moving away from this interface is inevitable because there are simply better solutions. So although it may have some minor negative impact, it will ultimately move us forward to a better place…….ie progress.

        I look forward to seeing where we disagree on these points.

  • Bass Head

    look at that big ass hole in the iPhone people really want to keep that? gtfoh people are just cheap and don’t want to buy wireless earphones

  • MWinNYC

    Goodbye 3.5 mm jack!!! I couldn’t be happier. Getting rid of the almost 10-year-old home button would make me even happier. Let’s move on!

  • ChrisC

    Big whinge over nothing, you’ll get a set of lightning or BT headphones.

  • https://twitter.com/AuranSoul AuranSoul

    So… we want the headphone jack removed so we can have thinner, more “advanced” iPhones, but we aren’t worried about how cumbersome the alternatives (an adapter or Lightning/USB headphones) would be? Doesn’t that kinda defeat the whole purpose of making the sleeker device in the first place?

    • frank

      Do you not think that the team at Apple is smart enough to thing of problematic issues, above and beyond what the public are able to consider? Cmon now…

      • https://twitter.com/AuranSoul AuranSoul

        Well, I did think that, but then the MacBook 2015 happened. So I’m a little wary of trusting Apple’s hardware design team at the moment.

      • harrydevlin

        That was indeed a clusterf%&k.

  • http://howieit.com Howie Isaacks

    These people can just keep their iPhones with the headphone jack. Problem solved.

  • Tom

    I’m fine with this when it becomes the universal standard. (Apple) Adapters are expensive and a hassle to keep track of. Until this is the universal standard it’ll just be another expensive hassle and a reason to buy away from Apple.

  • Lance Corvette

    I’ve yet to get any Bluetooth enabled feature to function properly. That includes getting my iPhone to talk to my Macbook, something you think would be possible after all these years.

    There’s a reason the 3.5 mm jack has lasted a century – it works.

  • alavin

    How am I going to listen to music and charge my phone (if their solution is Lightning headphones)? I really don’t want wireless headphones, I already have too much stuff I need to charge every single day.

  • alavin

    How am I going to charge my phone while listening to music? (If their solution is Lightning headphones) I really don’t want wireless headphones, I already have enough stuff I have to charge every single day.

    If this is to make the iPhone thinner, I really doubt that’s what the majority of the users want. The majority of iPhone users want more battery life, not phones that are even easier to bend.

    • harrydevlin

      There will be Lightning headphones with a pass-through so you can charge at the same time.

      The big negative for consumers is that the cost of headphones will be much higher. Right now you can buy a good pair of earbuds for less than $10, and a poor pair for $2. That ends if the 3.5mm headphone jack disappears.

      The big positive for Apple is the royalties they get on Lightning devices (versus zero royalties on 3.5mm devlces, and not just headphones).