I have been evangelising for Apple since the second iPad hit the shelves in Spring 2011. (A camera! Reading! Doodling! Watching stuff!! Big screen!! Photo-notes!!!)
Today, this ends. It’s not my fault that I will no longer be praising the advantages of Apple hardware. It’s Apple’s. One small choice they made is a direct insult to my disciplines: User eXperience Architecture and Engineering. And I cannot condone that.
Yesterday, Apple announced their new iPhone, the iPhone 7. Part of the hardware update is the REMOVAL of the audio jack. Yes, you heard that right. No more audio!! (shh… sort of) And I take issue with that.
music is something to love
Firstly, I look around me. Every time I am on a train, bus or tube, I see people listening to music or watching videos on their phones, with their headphones plugged in. I see people taking calls on the go using their headphones / headsets. Now they won’t be able to do so as easily, and that’s a bad user experience.
And sometimes, I hear all of that crap leaking out onto me because someone is using Apple headphones.
Did you know Apple headphones are LEAKY AF?!? (Huffington Post even claims they “are the actual worst”) And now anyone with an apple device will be forced to use them. Now that’s bad user experience!
In fact, most people who know or care about music (or sound insulation) buy their own headphones. It’s a lucrative industry, with some website recommendations for “top 10 iPhone headphones” costing £350. Yes, Apple provide an ADAPTOR, but that’s another piece of crap to carry around. To forget. To break. To accidentally disconnect. To distort your sound? That’s bad engineering.
music costs energy
And… AND!!! Listening to music drains your battery. It’s why I’ve been advocating single-purpose devices for a long time, and until 2014 was using an iPod alongside my iPhone. (I’ve had portable music players since 1986, always separate from any other device). And now it’s even HARDER to charge a phone where I play music? That’s bad UX.
Because my iPhone is currently – reluctantly; I blame spotify and focusatwill– my mobile music player, it is what I use to isolate myself from any noisy environment, such as an open plan office. That’s EIGHT HOURS of music that I need. WITH internet access.
And Apple’s adaptor decided to NOT include the ability to concurrently charge??! That’s bad user experience AND bad engineering!! Two birds with one stone Apple, well done!
music has industry standards
And I know, this tech is old. The audio jack was invented in the days of telephone operators, added (in its “miniature” 3.5mm version) to some of the first portable radios in 1964 and was made popular in 1979 when it was added to the Sony Walkman.
This jack has been the popular choice and industry standard for as long as I have been alive. That is GOOD engineering. In this high-tech era, where we pride ourselves on outdoing cinema’s imagination of what was science fiction twenty years ago, the humble audio jack has not been significantly improved upon or replaced.
Until yesterday, and for no good reason.
Apple always does things for no good reason.
Did you know? Until MARCH 2009, you couldn’t copy-paste on an iPhone.
As late as 2010, when the 4s was released, the camera spec was lagging behind those of cheaper Nokias.
If I want to email photos to someone, I can only choose up to FIVE (Or is it six?)
And now, if I want to listen to music I have to:
– use an adaptor, eroding the quality of my expensively-purchased headphones
– use wireless headphones that require charging (yet another thing to charge. yay.)
– NOT BE ABLE TO LISTEN TO MUSIC AND CHARGE MY PHONE AT THE SAME TIME, exposing me to noise pollution
You know what, Apple? You’ve got to stop fucking around with some things.
I may be alone, but I will never buy your iPhone 7. I may not even buy the 7s, not unless you fix this headphone issue.
Or maybe the industry will catch up and make thousands of lightning-port headphones…
but WILL THEY ALSO FIT INTO MY GODDAMN LAPTOP so I can listen to music there too?
Well that’s BAD ENGINEERING and BAD UX.
So we’re back where we started.
Stop it, Apple.
You got this one wrong.
Admit it, fix it, and let’s all move on.
Obnoxiously, my laptop just “rang”, as part of seamlessly handing over a call from my iPhone…
And I answered and had the conversation right here, on the laptop. Apple do actually get some things right, damn them…
Though luckily I was at home, and could do this over the speakers, or (in Apple’s vision of the future) I’d have been scrambling for compatible headphones!!