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 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.
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.
BITS AND BYTES
Most U.S. tech firms are quiet about the ‘Brexit’ vote, but watching closely. If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union—its citizens are voting on the matter today—it will affect everything from consumer privacy regulation to strategies for recruiting talent across the continent. Microsoft was one of the few tech companies to make its position on the vote public: It wants the U.K. to stay in the EU. (Wall Street Journal)
Why the tech gender gap is a really bad thing for artificial intelligence. Teaching computers to think for themselves requires massive data sets representing diverse points of view—when some aren’t represented, the results are flawed. That makes the dearth of women holding AI research and development positions particularly alarming, reports Bloomberg. Men and women often ask very different questions, so the potential for bias is very real. (Bloomberg)
Twilio scores $150 million in highly anticipated initial public offering. The cloud communications software company set its IPO price at $15 per share, more than expected. That will give it an initial market capitalization of around $1.2 billion, more than Twilio was worth after its latest private funding round. (Fortune)
Should we go public or sell ourselves, asks software firm Okta. The identity management company hired Goldman Sachs to weigh its options, reports Reuters. During its life as a private company, Okta has raised approximately $230 million in backing, giving it a valuation of around $1.2 billion after its latest round. One of its rivals, Ping Identity, was acquired last month for a reported $600 million. (Reuters)
Amazon doubles share of streaming Internet traffic. Its video services claimed a 4.3% share during the first half of 2016, which made it third behind Netflix (35.2%) and YouTube (17.5%). (Fortune)
Foxconn sharpens ax at Sharp. Foxconn founder and chairman Terry Gou told Sharp shareholders that his team is scrutinizing inefficient divisions and joint ventures closely, and will close some of them quickly after its $3.5 billion takeover is complete. The contract manufacturer will also prioritize commercializing some Sharps many patents. (Wall Street Journal)
How restaurants use Instagram and OpenTable to gather data on diners. Restaurateurs are turning to nontraditional sources to understand more about what guests are eating and when they might want to have more waitstaff on duty. One of the most valuable sources of that data: online reservation systems and food-porn photos shared by guests. The next big dilemma is how to request feedback from customers. Emerging options—text message, reservation follow-ups, and social media interactions. (Fortune)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Why Tesla and SolarCity have an Elon Musk problem by Jen Wieczner
How IBM is improving medical imaging to fight cancer by Laura Lorenzetti
Everyone’s waiting for the next cybersecurity IPO by Robert Hackett
BMW is turning its electric vehicle batteries into a new business
by Kirsten Korosec
Microsoft’s latest tool keeps corporate data on lockdown
by Jonathan Vanian
Hackers prey on smaller firms as big banks harden security
by Jeff John Roberts
ONE MORE THING
Contrary to popular belief, millennials long to be unplugged. Almost half of them would be open to ditching their smartphone while on vacation, according to a survey by Intel. Only 37% of their elders between the age of 40 and 50 were willing to do the same. (Fortune)
This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.