The Tyranny of Apple’s New Headphone Scheme

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 11:03am
Andrew Berg

Apple will reportedly soon allow third-party headphone manufacturers to use its proprietary Lightning Connector as a headphone jack. It's a devious plan that some say explains completely Apple's purchase of Beats Electronics. It's also a plan that will once again strong-arm consumers into buying more stuff that will only work with other Apple products. 

In a recent post on Re/Code, Walt Mossberg pointed out that this year's WWDC was all about touting the simplicity (nay, the necessity!) of Apple products working in tandem. Apple's "Continuity" is more about bolstering Apple's walled garden in an effort to keep consumers in than it is about keeping the bad gunky out. 

This new Lightning Connector headphone scheme/scam is more of the same.

Admittedly, this was probably in the cards for a while. In fact, Apple has probably been eyeing Beats Electronics since it launched the hideous, wasteful, non-standard Lightning Connector. 

If the leak about the Lightning Connector headphones, initially reported by 9to5Mac, is true, and you're an iPhone user, get ready to eventually buy more expensive adaptors along with the additional Lightning Connector cords you've bought since the spec was switched from the 30-pin we'd all come to know and...well, know. 

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. This has been Apple's game all along. Apple depends on premium devices bringing in huge profit margins. Most of the time there are premium features that come with that premium price. In this case, headphones connected through the Lightning Connector would provide near lossless audio, as well as additional functionality, like the ability to launch or control apps.

To be fair, it's unlikely that Apple will do away with the legacy headphone jack in the iPhone 6 but that familiar port's days may indeed be numbered, and you know exactly how Apple's magical powers will work on you. 

First you'll buy the adaptor (they say it provides much better sound) and use your Bose headphones with that smelly old 3.5-mm headphone jack (Gasp!). Eventually you'll see all those people on the street, happy with the knowledge that their new $400 Beats headphones are securely attached directly to their iPhone's Lightning Connector (sans adaptor). It's so much easier than plugging into that bulky appendage to which your suddenly shabby looking $400 Bose headphones are dependent. 

And on it goes, until at last you've spent some ungodly amount of money on a new pair of headphones that will only work with your cache of luxury Apple products. Sheesh, sometimes being an Apple customer is worse than being a Star-Bellied Sneetch!



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