Apple screws its acolytes … yet again

Apple is about to rip off over every one of its customers. Yet again.

high end headphones 3.5mm gold-plated jack

high end headphones 3.5mm gold-plated jack

Apple likes to project a lovely cuddly trendy image.

The reality is different.

Their products are of shoddy construction.

Phones and tablets now lag behind Android devices.

Products are sourced from Chinese sweatshops, where the conditions are so bad, every worker has to sign a contract they will not commit suicide, the top of buildings are surrounded by fencing to stop the workers throwing themselves off the roof.

Android devices, be they phones or tablets, have a standard usb port. This means cables and chargers are interchangeable between devices. Indeed it is not even necessary to supply a charger, assume the customer has a charger, or will buy one. This reduces waste, reduces cost, reduces shipping costs.

Not though Apple. Apple has its own proprietary non-standard connector for tablets and phones, not only that, there is no commonality between earlier and later devices.  And if rumours are to be believed, Apple are to move away from the industry standard 3.5mm headphone socket.

headphone jacks 3.5mm and 6.35mm

headphone jacks 3.5mm and 6.35mm

telephone operators

telephone operators

1/4 inch gold-plated stereo headphone jack

1/4 inch gold-plated stereo headphone jack

The 1/4 inch jack (6.35mm) has a long history. It was used by Bell, Post Office to connect calls.  Look at old films, where you will see the operator connecting calls.

It has a long history. Maybe as far back as 1878.

With the advent of stereo, an extra ring was added.

For the transistor radio, the 1/4 jack was too big, the 3.5mm jack was introduced.  It was then used in the Sony Walkman, CD players, phones and tablets.

High end audio still uses the 1/4 inch jack for amplifiers,  CD decks, tape decks. Guitars use the 1/4 inch jack to plug into amplifiers and sound decks.

High end headphones, for example  open Sennheiser headphones,  use a gold-plated  3.5mm jack, which fits into a 1/4 inch jack.

Standardisation leads to interoperatability, reduces waste. But not if you are Apple.

Apple is showing its usual contempt for it acolytes by doing away with the 3.5mm jack, forcing to either buy an expensive inferior Apple product, or waste money on an expensive adapter to use existing kit.

If Apple acolytes are stupid enough to be ripped off yet again by Apple, forcing them to ditch their existing headphones, or now have two pairs for different devices, it will lead to a growing mountain of electronic waste.

According to the United Nations, up to 90% of the world’s electronic waste is illegally traded or dumped each year. We need to bring more care and attention to this growing issue — not aggravate it through reckless, profit-driven decisions that will deliver countless perfectly usable items straight to the landfill.

But what does Apple care about the environment? It does not care about the toxic materials used in the manufacture of its devices, harming people and planet.

This has not surprisingly caused growing outrage.

But it does not stop there. Apple makes it nigh impossible to repair their phones even going so far to use non-standard screws.

And if all this was not bad enough, they dodge tax.

So why do Apple do this? It is not technological innovation. It is greed, pure and simple, yet another opportunity to screw the consumer.

The approach taken by FairPhone is the opposite end of the spectrum to Apple. Better working conditions, conflict free materials, phone of modular construction enabling easy repair. And they do not supply either cable or charger, assuming you already have. The main criticism of their latest phone, FairPhone II, delivery of which has been delayed until at least February, is that it is somewhat dated for the high price.

In terms of performance and price, it would be hard pushed to beat OnePlus Two and OnePlus X.

Please sign the petition calling upon Apple not to jack in the 3.5mm headphone jack.

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13 Responses to “Apple screws its acolytes … yet again”

  1. Peter Coulson Says:

    The DAC in computers and phones is always sub-standard. If you want to listen to decent quality music, you will use a decent DAC. Many already use an external DAC, many are doing this via a lightning connector. Those wanting sub-standard quality audio will use Bluetooth. Connectors are a source of unreliability.

    3.5mm jacks also define the width of a device and take up a lot of space. USB is non-reversible (although USB-C is, but large) If you were to have ONE connector, this would be the one. They also are difficult to waterproof.

    2.5mm jacks would be another option, but they are still huge for the connectivity provided.

    Full, uncompressed, uncompromised audio data is available via the data connector, this is what most cars, audio DACs etc. use now after all. Far superior to Bluetooth.

  2. Peter Coulson Says:

    …besides, the design for iPhone 7 will already have been signed off, a petition will make no difference.

  3. Peter Coulson Says:

    People complained when Apple dropped the serial port, when they dropped optical drives, when laptops adopted internal batteries,
    when they adopted display port over VGA/DVI, when they ditched plug-in power connectors, but they all make sense now.

  4. keithpp Says:

    You merely say with a lot of words what I said with a few, Apple is screwing its acolytes, has been doing for years, but sadly fools and their money are easily parted.

    What we are seeing, is not technological innovation, but planned obsolescence.

    Do we really need a thinner iPhone? It is the battery that is the determining factor.

    The problem lies not with digital to analogue converters. Phillips designed excellent digital to analogue converters decades ago. The problem lies with the analogue design.

  5. keithpp Says:

  6. Peter Coulson Says:

    Philips don’t have the leading DACs any more and have not for a long time. DSD and other formats demand a lot more. All phones have built in obsolescence. Technology moves on.

  7. Peter Coulson Says:

    Few phones support 24/192, most are just 16/44.1, hence the benefits of an external DAC.

  8. keithpp Says:

    My reference to Phillips was to DAC for 16 bit CD.

    The problem has never been the DAC. If iPhone choose to build with inferior chips, that is their choice.

    Once designed, the marginal cost would be zero.

    When you buy an iPhone, you are paying for marketing hype, in other words bullshit, not the quality of the materials.

    Which is why I made reference to Fairphone II, One Plus Two and OnePlus X, where you pay for an unlocked quality phone, not marketing hype. Demand exceeds supply, and spread by word of mouth. Then insert a free third party sim from The Phone Co-op. Do not touch Lycamobile with a bargepole, run by a money laundering, tax dodging Tory Party donor.

    Marxist Theory of Value: labour plus materials plus capital gives rise to cost. Sell above cost and you have profit. Now add in a fourth factor, information. Information flows freely. It is only draconian and repressive intellectual property rights and the Copyright Mafia that prevents the free flow of information, which is its natural state.

    Because information is now the dominant factor, the marginal cost of stuff is tending to zero. Examples being e-books and digital downloads of music.

    If you are paying more than a quid for an e-book you are being ripped off, as the marginal cost is zero.

    The only reason a download from iTunes is 99p (99 cents in the States), is because Apple rig the market. It has nothing to do with supply and demand.

    Try leanpub for books, bandcamp for music.

    The problem has always been the analogue side, principally the inability to handle the high slew rate.

    With iPhones, and what is peddled to people as audio systems, is consumer junk.

    It is not what I have, what I have designed, high end audio equipment.

    If we look at the crap most people listen to, badly produced and engineered, noise not music, on headphones that probably cost less than a dollar factory gate price, then quality would sadly be completely lost on them.

  9. keithpp Says:

    Hundreds of newspapers and tech news websites are reporting on our iPhone 7 petition this week. They would have covered this month’s Apple rumours anyway — but together we’re changing the story to one about protesting corporate greed and defending the environment. — SumofUs

  10. Peter Coulson Says:

    That Philips DAC will never support DSD, of course. So no SACD support either. The cost difference between the DACs is about 4x for a higher performing one, hence they are not used in phones. In high volumes, a 24/192 DAC will cost around £4, the CD quality ones around a pound. So, that would add something like £20 to the high street price of a phone.

    If you have high end audio systems, you will have the higher quality DACs in that. Like this one I have –

  11. Peter Coulson Says:

    …all analogue interconnects are differential XLR in my system, too. Always best to avoid single-ended, eh? 😉

  12. Peter Coulson Says:

    And the really crazy thing is, lots of idiot people download high-res FLAC files, then play them out of phones and PCs that only have 16 bit /44.1 DACs!

  13. Peter Coulson Says:

    This looks quite neat.

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