Apple officially kills the 3.5mm jack and replaces it with a pair of Rs 15,000 AirPods

Alas! It’s official. Apple has killed the venerable 3.5mm headphone jack. In a move that can only be seen as audacious, Phil Schiller gleefully sounded the death knell of the 3.5mm jack (mini-phono jack, as he called it), saying that moving on requires “courage.”


Alas! It’s official. Apple has killed the venerable 3.5mm headphone jack. In a move that can only be seen as audacious, Phil Schiller gleefully sounded the death knell of the 3.5mm jack (mini-phono jack, as he called it), saying that moving on requires “courage.”

“Courage.” It’s that very “courage” that led Apple to create the downright ridiculous charging mechanism for the Apple Pencil and it’s the same “courage” that now forces MacBook users to rely on a single Type-C port for all their charging needs.

 

 

 

This is also the “courage” that takes the world from the freedom of an analogue jack to the mess of an expensive, proprietary digital standard. No, Apple, this is not “courage,” this is impetuousness.

Regardless, the headphone jack is now dead and Apple is sure to stubbornly keep it that way. The replacement, for now, is a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter that will come bundled with the iPhone 7. Apple will also bundle a set of EarPods with a Lightning adapter with every iPhone 7.

 Apple officially kills the 3.5mm jack and replaces it with a pair of Rs 15,000 AirPods

The third option, for those with money to burn, and lots of it, are the Apple AirPods. These wireless ear buds will set you back a cool Rs 15,000. We kid you not, those are the official Indian prices.

To be fair, the hardware is really cool, but I can’t say the same for the lazy design. Externally, the AirPods look exactly like someone chopped the cables off a set of EarPods. The actual engineering that went into the design is rather elegant, however.

technical tour de force

The AirPods communicate with each other and with iDevices via a proprietary W1 chip that is supposedly a kind of ultra-low power Bluetooth standard. Infra-red sensors on the AirPods will detect when they’ve been inserted into your ear. Taking an AirPod out of your ear will mute playback and reinserting it will resume playback.

A sensor on the side detects double-taps which can be used to access Siri. The sad part here is that you’ll have to use Siri for everything, including adjusting volume and controlling the music. What was wrong with the good ol’ remote?

lightning adapter

The coolest part of the AirPods is the microphone system. Apple uses directional mics to capture your voice. Background noise can also actively be muted.

It’s a really nice idea, but it’s not unique. The Bragi Dash uses a similar system and has used it for a while. The Dash is twice as expensive as the AirPod, however, which might mean that Apple has actually priced the AirPods rather reasonably.

That said, my own experience with current EarPods tells me that the AirPods are going to fall out of your ears and it’s going to happen frequently. And I’m not alone in feeling this way.

 

 

Apple claims that the AirPods will offer 5 hours of battery life, and to those worried about charging the devices, they come in a wireless charging pod of their own that can extend AirPod usage to about 24 hours.

lightning earpods

Schiller claims that replacing the 3.5mm jack had to be dropped because space was at a “premium” on the new iPhones.

Apple’s AirPods will ship this October at Rs 15,000 in India and $159 (around Rs 10,600) everywhere else.

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