Apple Inc. has gotten the bashing of its life in the last couple of days after it axed the ancient 3.5mm headphone jack in the iPhone 7. The firm has replaced the 3.5mm jack with a lightning port that transmits audio data through a powered digital interface. Interestingly, critics have opined that Apple has displayed arrogance and not “Courage” in introducing the $159 AirPods that seeks to send the 3.5mm jack headphones the way of the floppy disk.
It is hard to understand why Apple ditched the 3.5mm jack; after all, the 3.5mm jack has been dependable for more than 50 years. The fact that the AirPods retails for $159 also fuels the angst against the firm and its management. However, in playing the devil’s advocate, Airpods might not be a bad idea after all. Apple got the same barrage of cynicism, skepticism, and criticism when Steve Jobs introduced the iPod in 2001. This piece seeks to examine how the AirPods raise the bar on personal computing.
The intelligent headphones are here
The tech industry has catered extensively to the needs of music lovers and audiophiles and there’s no shortage of headphones in the market. However, irrespective of the brand, make, model, or price of your headphone – they are all dumb headphones with a limited range of playback functions. Of course, Apple’s first earbuds were also dumb even though they were unique and iconic in their white color.
The Airpod is Apple ‘s second wearable device and it is a miniature computer in its own right. You are not paying $159 for just another earphone. AirPods is a wearable device that seeks to augment the auditory experience and interaction with mobile devices. For instance, AirPods allow a more personal interaction with Siri by allowing you to speak to Siri though an embedded beamforming microphone instead of speaking into your iPhone.
AirPods also allow you to get feedback from Siri in a more personal and direct way into your ear. The AirPod is also equipped to filter out external noise when Siri is speaking to you or when you are listening to audio. More so, the beamforming microphones also help Siri to identify your voice amidst a cacophony of sounds. The AirPod still qualifies as new tech but it won’t be surprising to see a new ecosystem of apps designed solely for AirPods and Siri.
Did Apple just disrupt personal computing?
The angst against Apple is unjustified. Tim Cook has been under fire in the last couple of years for Apple’s inability to introduce another insanely great product. Under Tim Cook, the iPhone has grown fatter, thinner, and back to being small; yet, user were complaining that the firm wasn’t innovative enough. He introduced the Apple Watch and Apple TV but users have been largely indifferent because they were only marginally better than rival products.
Now, Apple has unleashed an innovative product in a different class beyond rival products. It is sad that consumers are rallying in support of an ancient technology instead of praising the futurist ideals of the AirPod. However, not many people have interacted with the AirPod and people are forming opinions blindly based on what tech bloggers are saying. You can reasonably expect the narrative to change when the AirPod finally makes its way to the stores next month.