Almost as many people hate Apple earbuds as they do Beats headphones. That’s a fact. What’s not yet a fact, but may soon be very relevant to all of those people, is the latest rumor surrounding the Apple-Beats deal: that the former is planning to do away with its iPhone headphone jack. As reported by Forbes, 9to5mac learned that Apple submitted a new specification to its Made-for-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) program that would replace the usual 3.5mm headphone jack with a Lightning cable, such as the ones currently used to charge, back up, or sync iPhone 5 models.
The news follows Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats, both the company’s electronics division and its streaming service, Beats Music. The deal, which confused many, now makes more sense. By updating to a Lightning jack capable of supporting only headphones with lossless stereo that double as controls for other iPhone features (such as apps, skipping tracks, and ending calls), Apple ensures that users may have a superior listening experience — while making them pay for it. And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which expensive, high-quality headphones Apple would make compatible with its devices, receiving the profits from Beats hardware purchases while also saving on licensing fees by having access to beats Music’s library.
Feel like the corporate monopolies are closing in? Don’t panic yet. During the changeover to the updated jack, Apple would in theory provide an adapter like the Lightning to 30-pin sort, for users unwilling to switch right away. But it’d likely be pricey enough that some customers might feel better updating at a higher cost but with a longer-term return. Of course, it’s a slippery slope, as the development would probably extend to older versions Macs and MacBooks, requiring even more upgrades.
But we live in a world where Gwyneth Paltrow sells $950 shot glasses, so maybe we can afford it.