Don’t cry because the headphone jack is over, smile because it happened

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Let’s get this straight: Tim Cook doesn’t read your tweets. He doesn’t care about your thoughts on iPhone vs. Samsung and he definitely doesn’t care about your headphones. Apple is an apex predator and it acts like one, shedding fat for muscle and eating entire swathes of the CE industry as it goes. Like the 1,000-pound gorilla or the the proverbial elephant, it sits wherever it wants.

It did take courage to remove the headphone jack. It’s not the kind of courage we talk about when people rush into burning buildings or save kittens from tall trees. It’s the kind of courage that accepts that your actions will change the status quo and will be, in the end, insanely unpopular. And, after the digital dust settles, the technology will move into the mainstream and we’ll forget this ever happened.

Apple does mean things to electronics. They destroyed the DVD drive. They cut out serial ports and Ethernet jacks. They made switch manufacturers cry when they added haptics to their MacBooks. In the end do you really miss any of this stuff? And if you do, you’re probably not using MacOS anyway. Your point-of-sale system probably runs a receipt printer from 2002, so Windows it is.

I am here to bury the headphone jack, not praise Apple. That jack needed to go. It was a point of failure, it was prone to wear, and except in a few rare occasions I’ve gotten better sound via Bluetooth than via a direct plug-in. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if more wireless gear doesn’t appear on the horizon including – this is going to be hard – the death of the XLR audio standard for music gear. Where Apple goes, manufacturers follow.

There’s another reason you’re going to like wireless earbuds. As Mike Isaac notes, the point of wireless earbuds is to get you used to having something inconspicuous in your ear at all times that can talk to you. In other words services like Siri will be a little Jiminy Cricket, constantly offering advice, directions, and updates. I guess you’d call it AAR – augmented aural reality – and it will be the step before actual implantation of electronics into our heads. Wild, right? But you can’t get there without getting rid of wires.

So let it out. Let out the anger, the grief, the rage. Lie on the floor and do breathing exercises. And wait until CES when you’ll see enough wireless headphones to choke a blue whale and then watch as that other apex predator, Samsung, slowly but surely begins to remove its own headphone jacks because Apple, mean old Apple, finally said it was OK.

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