Jon Daiello Designer + Front-End Engineer

Journal

Apple’s Lighting Decision

After a few months with my Apple iPhone 7 featuring the new lighting-only connection port. I’ve had the opportunity to collect a few thoughts and (more importantly) settle on them. So, here’s the ABC’s on my thoughts:

1. Annoying

Let’s just say it, yeah…it’s annoying. It’s VERY annoying. I have a set of headphones that works with my iPhone 7* only my iPhone 7. I unplug from my iPhone and try to use them on my MacBook. Oh, wait…there’s no port on the MacBook for that. Ironically, I find myself using the 1/8″ headphones from Apple with the 1/8″ to lightning adaptor.

Wait, you want to listen on your headphones and charge at the same time? Sorry, you can’t do that either. Your ONLY port can be used one thing at a time.**

So, yeah, it’s annoying.

2. Business

Apple is no slouch though. This is clearly a business decision. It’s no coincidence that Apple makes the decision to ditch the 1/8″ headphone jack and at the same time launches AirPods. It’s clearly a business decision. They need to sell AirPods and it won’t happen if there’s an 1/8″ audio jack on the phone. So, I completely understand the decision.

3. Contagion

Apple’s previous track record of setting trends and precedents is pretty amazing. One Apple does something, it usually catches on. My suspicion is that we’ll keep the 1/8″ audio jack on non-Apple devices for some time, but the future of Bluetooth audio will catch on like wild fire. Yeah, Bluetooth audio hasn’t been the best audio quality***, but that doesn’t mean it won’t get better over time with Bluetooth 4.x and beyond.

TL;DR

From a user’s perspective it’s annoying, but in the end this is one of the jobs of a User Experience professional: To balance the user’s needs with the business goals. Apple has a knack of spotting the future and jumping on board before others do. I guess time will tell.

Footnotes:
* for all intensive purposes
** without the use of inconvenient and expensive dongles
*** actually it’s deplorable in my opinion