APPLE ALIENATED MANY by switching from the legacy dock connector to the lightning port. Now, it looks like history is about to repeat.
The rumour mill is ablaze after Apple recently mulled over moves to kill off the 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of a new lightning port at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference.
Having already spent up big on Apple accessories, many were dismayed that their new iPhone 5 was incompatible.
The logic behind Apple’s decision to kill the 3.5mm jack is pretty compelling, however. Lightning connectors will enable Apple to add a pile of functionality to iPhone/iPod headphones.
The Lightning connector can supply power, allowing for features such as noise cancellation. Third party D/A converters could also deliver high end audio. The lightning connector will also free up room for bigger displays and batteries.
For Apple shareholders the story is somewhat simpler. Apple also gain a whole new revenue channel from license fees from headphone makers.
The move also follows Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats By Dr Dre. Based on this, the iPhone 6 will no doubt come with Apple branded cans by Dr Dre sporting a Lightning connector. Shame they’ll pretty much be useless for anything else that needs headphones.
Microsoft copped flack by changing the file format for MS-Office files. Many speculated that the move was more about wringing extra cash out of MS-Office upgrades than improving MS-Office.
Could it be that Apple are about to be getting away with pretty much the same thing?
Having been burnt once by the change from legacy dock connectors to lightning ports, already irate iPhone 5 customers who buy the iPhone 6 may find the headphones they’ve spent a pile of cash on need a clunky adaptor to work.
This is a risky move for Apple. Locking customers into proprietary headphones after rendering the previous generation of Apple accessories useless is likely to leave many scratching their heads, wondering why they’ve been so loyal to the brand.
Here’s hoping the benefits of this move outweigh its issues, or that the Apple rumour mill is wrong. PAT PILCHER