iPhone's recessed rationale

iPhone's recessed rationale

Summary: In a previous post I vented about iPhone's recessed headphone jack in the iPhone and mentioned that "I haven’t heard a single rational explanation as to why Apple would do this."A source with contacts at Apple sent me this explanation:Apple found, prior to the iPhone, that a lot of service repairs for iPods were for busted headphone jacks caused by headphone plugs being constrained, pulled, or bent in pockets or other tight areas.

TOPICS: iPhone, Apple, Mobility

In a previous post I vented about iPhone's recessed headphone jack in the iPhone and mentioned that "I haven’t heard a single rational explanation as to why Apple would do this."

A source with contacts at Apple sent me this explanation:

Apple found, prior to the iPhone, that a lot of service repairs for iPods were for busted headphone jacks caused by headphone plugs being constrained, pulled, or bent in pockets or other tight areas. This is why they recessed the iPhone's headphone jack into the casing. Phones go through even more abuse than iPods, I'm willing to bet, so getting this right was important.

The downside, of course, is that normal headphones don't fit into the iPhone's recessed jack. Apple should've shipped a wire extension--that is, something that isn't rigid except at the plug itself--with the iPhone.

All that matters is that the lever point is recessed into the casing. A good example of the design that would've been nice and not caused problems can be seen in the iPod Shuffle sport case that Apple used to sell during the first generation of the Shuffle.

And there you have it. Debate the decision if you must, but there is reasoning behind it. Anyone buying it?

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Mobility

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  • From my experience, this is a reasonable explanation.

    And I think Apple is being honest.
    • Now there is a shocker. <nt>

  • RE: iPhone's recessed rationale

    Yep - headphone jacks, firewire connectors, power supply connectors, they are invariably the failure points on this sort of stuff.

    I've been using Apple laptops since the Powerbook 100, and the only things that have ever broken on them have been the power connectors. My first gen iPod broke when the firewire port got separated from the logic board.

    As the Apple contact said, their big mistake was not supplying a small extender/adapter cable.
  • Yeah, that makes sense...except

    It still doesn't explain two things that bother me about the headphones.

    1) BLUETOOTH BLUETOOTH BLUETOOTH. A little common sense. If these people are so "at the pulse" of culture and technology, you'd think that they'd know that cords are so over. Give stereo bluetooth a try guys. You'll find that people will gladly hand over an extra $100 or better for the headphones. Plus, it would no longer be on the list of "Stupid things that aren't included on iPhone, the supposed 'greatest phone of all time' that other free and uber-cheap phones always include."

    2) If they're all about the style, then what's with the white earbuds?? I understand it's iconic. The original and all that mumbo jumbo. However, iconic or not, it's a tired look. No on buys white anything anymore. Mostly because you guys offer everything in color. The iPhone doesn't have white anywhere on it, so what's with the horribly mismatched accessories? So much for sleek and elegant. Only when it's in your pocket, apparently, and not when it's hooked to your dome.

    That's my rant on this topic. I'm done now. I hope Jobs is reading. These would be really nice 'finishing touches' to the product.
    • Bluetooth

      sucks for audio. This isn't just a phone, it's also a serious music player.
      • I think laura.b was referring to

        Bluetooth Stereo headsets... for music.

        [i]it's also a serious music player[/i]

        Oh... wait... you weren't kidding? Oh my. :(
        • It is, seriously, a music player

          however, a serious music player it is not, it is middle of the pack in all respects. It doesn't sound the worst, but far from the best, it isn't the most expensive in terms of total cost, but is very expensive in terms of features/$.

          Does it matter, not when you can get a toilet paper roll docking station for an iPod, it is ubiquitous.

          What, you thought I was kidding!?

          • Oh sweet mother of god....

            I don't think I've ever seen anything that tacky in my life. I just forwarded the URL to my fiance, and warned him that if something to this effect EVER walked into my house, he was walking out...LOL

            Great link, seriously. Where do you find crap like that???
          • The Office

            There is a co-worker who is i* anything. Lives and breaths iPods, etc, and someone found this as a joke gift, thing is, he loved it! Reported that it was installed the next day and thanked us immensely, so it semi-backfired.

            I am with you, any iPod used in the bathroom becomes hazardous waste forever in my opinion. :D

            The search probably started here.
            "outrageous ipod accessories" on google returned this link.


            Does anyone spend so much time in the rain they need iPod controls in the handle of their umbrella?

          • Good question....Seattle residents, maybe?

            But even that's probably a bit of a stretch.

            I see that Apple doesn't make these "accessories."

            I wonder if they're okay with it...lol

            Thanks for the laugh anyway. I needed it. Stressful Monday, as usual.

            Have a nice day! :)
          • Gee, and I am sure once your fiance finds out how SERIOUSLY shallow you are

            you are GONE girl! High time you worked on improving your life and remove that jealous bone from your body.
          • Since you don't understand

            fa?ce?tious [fuh-see-shuhs] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
            &#8211;adjective 1. not meant to be taken seriously or literally: a facetious remark.
            2. amusing; humorous.
            3. lacking serious intent; concerned with something nonessential, amusing, or frivolous: a facetious person.

            Now, grow up.

            And, what jealous are you talking about? There was nothing of an even remotely jealous tone.

            You are such an idiot. It's sad really.
        • 10 million iPod owners disagree with the Zealot!

          Not surprising, really. Most intelligent people with taste disagree with him/her/it.
      • I'm pretty sure I included the word "stereo"

        But I may not have. If I didn't, allow this to be the correction.

        I am aware that "bluetooth" sucks for audio. Stereo bluetooth, however, is quite good over short distances...and I would imagine that unless you are quite tall your pocket is close enough to get just as good a sound out of it as the crappy white earbuds.

        If you are really serious about it as a music player, you're going to want your own decent headphones anyway, which brings us back to the bad idea to recess the jack. Totally circular argument.
  • Yeah, this has been a problem for 30 years

    Ever since the Walkman came out, 1/8" headphone jacks have been popping off every single portable music player ever built. Oh no, wait, they haven't! They've only been popping off Apple portable music players. So instead of engineering it properly, what does Apple do? They recess the jack and the license the right to create headphones that will work with the iPod/iPhone. Hmm, something smells awfully fishy here!

    The interesting thing is that many companies are good at gouging their customers but only Apple is able to get the gouged to apologize for the multi-billionaire doing the gouging!! GENIUS!!
    • You Serious?

      You are comparing the large brick of a walkman, small for it's time but strong enough to stand on (ah the good old days of ugly quality :D) vs todays ultra thin offerings.

      I agree it is a pain, people probably had to buy one of these, but c'mon dude, when you are paying $599 (originally) for a phone, probably $49.99 for the overpriced belt clips we all buy with our phones, is the $10 or $5 as linked representing the gouge of the century?


      Also, unless you can provide a source on Apple's RMA or repair rates, or even rate of failures on other mini-mp3 headphone jacks (surface mount = sucks in terms of strength, but it is here to stay for everyone), I don't think this is the time to try to rally the troops.

    • genuis?

      You can't put a cd player or cassette walkman in your pocket. The stresses on the end of the cord as the sole protruding point on something like an ipod or iphone can be very strong when in a pocket. You say "instead of engineering it properly," but I think it's clear that it has been engineered properly in the iphone--FINALLY! it's a simple and elegant solution.
  • One word comes to mind (BS)!

    That's very nice for Apple to protect us from ourselves (sarcastic...).

    I assume that they used the same rationale for the battery design. Users will break the battery or battery cover so, do not give them the option to change their own battery and charge them lots of money to change it for them! Isn't that better (for Apple)?

    How about application development for the iPhone? Apple wants to avoid crashes and support problems. Right?

    How about charging too much for the iPhone? Apple wants to sell it to devoted Apple users. Right?

    The bottom line is that Apple wants to control everything everyone buys or does because it is more profitable for Apple.

    I am glad that there more options out there.
    • See how stupid the above post is?

      BS is not ONE word - it's an abbreviation for TWO words. What a dope. And he thinks people will listen to his advise to ditch the most popular music player in the world for the sake of some other (perhaps everyone should get a Zune and squirt everyone?).

      Duffus, is he!