“This isn’t 2009,” reads the Apple Plug site. “Your phone doesn't have a floppy drive, and it shouldn't have a headphone connector.” Following the announcement of the iPhone 7 – which is conspicuously missing a headphone jack – Apple Plug highlights the cynicism many are feeling over Apple potentially making another hardware staple redundant.
The site is a parody of Apple’s own – from the optimistic copy to the hyper-slick design, it could easily be mistaken for the official Apple page. The product it’s pitching is an aluminium plug that fits perfectly into the 3.5mm port. “Once in place, Apple Plug cannot be removed,” it reads. “But why would you want to? Would you want to downgrade?” Created by US design studio Nicer, it draws attention to the way Apple nudges customers towards buying its products exclusively beneath a veil of futurism and innovation. And it works; of the world’s 25 biggest brands, Apple is the most likely to excite people. Research suggests some even subconsciously break their current devices to make way for an upgrade. “Just trust us,” the Apple Plug site continues. “It’s better."
mytherapistsays | Instagram (2016) ©
The iPhone 7 isn’t actually the first smartphone to launched sans-headphone jack – numerous Android devices (like the Moto Z) have already kissed goodbye to the the 3.5mm port. And with good reason. According to Intel, sound quality via a USB-C port – which is what the iPhone 7 will have instead – is far higher than the standard 3.5mm ports, and it’s also supposed to drain less battery power. Ideal for the 92% of Brits that are stressed out by the prospect of their phone dying, then. And while some are complaining about the prospect of Bluetooth headphones, let’s not forget – nobody likes wires, anyway.
Apple is famously responsible for the redundancy of the floppy disk and the almost-redundancy of the CD drive, all the while positioning itself as a pioneer. But since 41% of Americans still use headphones with a standard 3.5mm jack, it remains to be seen whether the iPhone 7 will be seen as another example of Apple innovation at its finest, or a thinly veiled attempt to force people to shop with them, and no one else. While research from 2012 shows that 10% of all consumers (and 43% of Apple users) would bank at a hypothetical ‘iBank’ – suggesting Apple is a brand people trust – overall trust in brands is on the decline. Could the removal of the headphone jack create a crisis in confidence at a time when trust is already in deficit?
Discover more insights like this by signing up to the Canvas8 Library.
Lore Oxford is Canvas8's deputy editor. She previously ran her own science and technology publication and was a columnist for Dazed and Confused. When she’s not busy analysing human behaviour, she can be found defending anything from selfie culture to the Kardashians from contemporary culture snobs.
14 Sep 16