The continued success of Apple’s iPhone is an anomaly wrapped in an enigma to me. How else could I explain why I found myself excited rather than scoff at the latest rumor that this year’s iPhone might just be the first iPhone to offer wireless charging capabilities? Rumors for the new iPhone are already running hot for a number of reasons, and yet here I find myself most giddy over the addition of a feature that has long been implemented in other phones.
I suppose it has to do with Apple’s exclusivity to their own platform. If you’re a fan of iOS, you take what Apple gives you. There is no alternative manufacturer for iOS. I’m lucky enough that I enjoy both iOS and Android, and a big reason I decided to leave iOS was because, for a long time, the iPhone wasn’t resistant to elements and it didn’t offer wireless charging. I’m far too clumsy to want to spend money on something that wouldn’t last more than a few seconds in a sink full of water or an unfortunately placed puddle, and I’ve accidentally ripped enough charging cords from their respective devices to know that the integrity of any charging port is just a few aggressive rips away from being rendered useless; wireless charging is a godsend, if for nothing else than a back-up method of charging the most important device in many people’s lives.
I’d like to think I know better by now than to be angry that it took Apple this long to implement such an important feature in the iPhone, assuming the rumors are even true. “Better late than never,” is a phrase that comes to mind, and the iPhone 7 did introduce water resistance with an IP67 rating, but there was still no sign of wireless charging. I feel that I voted with my wallet by going with the Galaxy S7 when I upgraded from my iPhone 6 last May, which includes the aforementioned and more.
But while wireless charging and waterproofing are two steps in the right direction, I’m still not happy about Apple’s decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack. It’s not the end of the world, but I’m quite happy with my current set-up of having 3.5mm headphones just about anywhere I would need them: my car, my purse, and at least one pair in almost every room in the house. All of them were either free or dirt cheap, and although Apple provides you with one free pair of Lightning connected headphones, I know that I wouldn’t remember to tote them with me wherever I needed them, just like I wouldn’t remember to take a dongle with me to connect my 3.5mm headphones. It is an inconvenience for me, and it’s also an issue of principles. I still don’t see the need to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack. I’m not an audiophile, so although I’ve tested Lightning-connected headphones, I can’t make out a difference between it or 3.5mm connected headphones. Neither seems better than the other; it’s a non-issue that was made into an issue.
There was also the greivance of not being able to charge the iPhone at the same time as using headphones. This issue would sort of be remedied by implementing wireless charging, but I would argue that it’s still not a good compromise as wireless charging requires the phone to remain situated on a charging pad; charging through a cord allows for some movement, at least.
I don’t expect to see the 3.5mm headphone jack come back to Apple’s iPhone, ever. If it does, it would be a pleasant surprise, but I just don’t see it happening. They’re committed to this change, just as they were to the omission of the microSD card. But when I start to miss iOS, I ask myself, “Do I miss it enough to get rid of these other features I consider to be more useful?” The only thing I really miss is iMessage, and even that has become a non-issue at the end of the day, although I still wouldn’t mind an iMessage port to Android.
In the end, while the alleged addition of wireless charging would be a welcome one for the iPhone, I’m not sure it would overcome the disdain I have for the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack. It’s still an important feature to me – more important than using iOS is – so I’ll probably continue to buy phones that feature one until I don’t see it as a necessity anymore.