Apple's senior VP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said that it took "courage" on the part of the Cupertino giant to drop the "ancient" single-use headphone jack from the iPhone and roll that functionality into the Lightning port.
Whether that comment made you roll your eyes, facepalm, or laugh outright at such a blatant act of self-aggrandizement and grandiosity (or all three), I do have to admit that Apple is one of the very few companies that would be willing to do something so disruptive and take a short-term hit in order to move technology forward.
It doesn't matter whether you think that this is a good idea, a " user-hostile and stupid" move, or that Apple killed the headphone jack in order to get tighter control (and a license fee) over the devices that can connect to the iPhone, it's done.
But it's hardly the first technology that Apple has consigned to the tech graveyard over the years. Let's list just a few.
- Dropping the floppy drive
- Not supporting Blu-ray
- Dropping the optical drive
- Sticking with FireWire when the rest of the world went with USB
- Dropping the smartphone's physical keyboard for an on-screen keyboard
- Adopting a proprietary 30-pin connector for the iPod
- Coming out with a tablet that didn't have a USB port
- Dropping the 30-pin connector in favor of another proprietary connector rather than going with USB like everyone else
- Using Thunderbolt for high-speed connectivity rather than USB
- Making a MacBook with a single USB-C port that's used for charging and connecting peripherals
And the list goes on.
Now, you may personally not have called some (or any) of the above "stupid," but plenty of people did. And maybe some were stupid, but here's the important thing to realize:
No one cares anymore.
Ultimately, Apple is driven by one thing -- money. Its decisions revolve around reducing production costs, pulling in more revenue, or capturing and then locking users into its ecosystem, and whether you like Apple or not, you have to admit that it's darn good at achieving these goals.
Another thing to realize is that Apple is in a position where it can pull off moves that might sink another firm. Why? Because it's had years and years of people hailing everything the company did as amazing and wonderful and revolutionary. The stalwart fanboys were the first to get infected by the Apple fever, and have been chanting "Apple is good, Apple is great" for decades. They then passed the fever on to the tech media, which has made out Apple to be more a religion than a consumer electronics brand.
Since then Apple has enjoyed a decade of people throwing money at it faster than banks could print it. You might look at what the company does as "user-hostile and stupid," but Apple's bank balance implies that this isn't a widely held belief.
Consumers still think that Apple is amazing, revolutionary, and that the sun shines out of every Lightning, Thunderbolt, and USB-C port.
And no one believes that Apple is amazing more than Apple itself does. And that has now culminated with Schiller's latest quote:
"The reason to move on: courage. The courage to move on and do something new that betters all of us."
Technology moves on, and sometimes shedding old legacies -- especially something as old as the headphone jack -- is going to be a little painful.
And remember, it isn't as if Apple is removing the headphone jack from the iPhone you have in your pocket.