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There are plenty of serious issues the world is concerned about, and in some cases even terrified of—Donald Trump as president, war in the Middle East, and so on. It’s a long list. But for the Apple faithful and formerly faithful, there is only one question: Is removing the headphone jack from the iPhone (and possibly also the MacBook Pro) the right thing to do, or is Apple (AAPL) making a colossal mistake?
There have been rumors about Apple ditching the old-fashioned headphone jack for some time now. But the debate really heated up recently with a number of credible reports that the next iPhone will replace it with a Lightning connector, in keeping with the rest of Apple’s hardware. And that has set off a firestorm of almost religious intensity.
Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel wrote a screed about how wrong this move would be, calling it “user-hostile and stupid.” Getting rid of the jack would make the iPhone worse, “in extremely obvious ways,” he said, including the fact that it would make it easier for music companies to enforce digital rights management, or DRM.
Wireless headphones are also much worse than wired ones, Patel argued, and losing the jack would destroy an entire ecosystem of useful peripherals that has grown up around it.
In the other corner is legendary Apple blogger John Gruber of Daring Fireball. Gruber’s argument—and that of other supporters of the move, such as venture-capitalist M.G. Siegler—boils down to “we have to lose it sometime, so why not now?” In other words, we should trust Apple.
The analog jack simply isn’t adaptable enough to be a useful part of the smartphone future, this theory goes. And since Apple has consistently been ahead of the pack when it comes to ditching vestigial connectors and features such as CD drives, it might as well make the move now.
Apple iPhone sales are way down this year:
In the end, of course, it doesn’t really matter what we think of Apple’s decision-making ability. The company will do whatever it thinks it needs to do to suit its own purposes—which occasionally align with what users want—and Apple fans will put up with it, the way they always do. And the world will continue to spin around the sun, the way it always has.