Apple May Test iPhone Users' Loyalty If It Dumps The Headphone Jack : All Tech Considered The next iPhone, expected to be unveiled Wednesday, may be missing something familiar: the ubiquitous headphone jack. Usability experts say the change could really sit badly with Apple customers.
NPR logo

Apple May Test iPhone Users' Loyalty If It Dumps The Headphone Jack

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/492876197/492926693" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Apple May Test iPhone Users' Loyalty If It Dumps The Headphone Jack

Apple May Test iPhone Users' Loyalty If It Dumps The Headphone Jack

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/492876197/492926693" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And Apple is about to release an update of its popular iPhone. As NPR's Laura Sydell reports, one expected change to the phone has a lot of Apple users on edge.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: If you're like me, somewhere in your house you imagine there must be a pile of lost white iPhone earbuds. The pile is probably right next to the stack of single socks. It's one of several reasons I never liked wireless Bluetooth headphones. They're smaller and even easier to lose. But if the rumors are true - and most likely they are - Apple is about to get rid of the headphone jack on its latest iPhone 7 and tip the scales toward Bluetooth headphones.

JOSHUA PORTER: Getting rid of the iPhone jack is panic-worthy.

SYDELL: Joshua Porter is a usability expert with the software design firm Rocket Insights.

PORTER: Many people I know, including myself, have a lot of headphones and all rely on the old headphone connector. So those will immediately become obsolete, unless there's some way to connect them.

SYDELL: Chances are there will be. When Apple nixed its old connector for charging the phone for the smaller lightning connector, the company made an adapter, but it cost extra. Having to pay for the adapter could discourage new users from upgrading to an iPhone 7, unless...

PORTER: What I wonder is might Apple include that with the new iPhone as well because there's probably billions of head phones out there. That would be a really amazing gesture, I think, and would do a lot in terms of goodwill.

SYDELL: Still, when Apple has phased out popular technology in the past, it's turned out to be visionary. Julie Ask, an analyst at Forrester Research, notes Apple was among the first to get rid of the CD drive, Ethernet connections and floppy disks.

JULIE ASK: What we've seen in the past is consumers grumble a little bit, and they grumble about having spent another $40 to get the new, you know, adapter to the phone. And then, you know, three to six months later, they've forgotten all about it and they forgot what life was like before.

SYDELL: And once again, Apple could be visionary. According to the NPD Group, in June, Bluetooth headset sales topped non-Bluetooth for the first time. Laura Sydell, NPR News.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.