The Future: by Apple
For 30 years, Apple has been the leader in new tech, and this year is no exception. On September 7, Apple held their annual keynote address and debuted a line of new software and hardware. iOS 10 was announced (and is now available on iPhones later than generation 5), as well as the debut of the newest iteration of their flagship product, the iPhone 7. Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the show by hitching a ride with late night talk show host and carpool karaoke aficionado James Corden. So, this year, like every year since 2007, we have a new iPhone and a face-lift for all those older iPhones. So What?
As Apple continues to bring revolutionary products to the market, their influence swells. But sometimes Apple has to make unpopular decisions in the interest of advancement. This year it involves ditching yet another cord.
Apple is getting rid of the headphone jack. In the keynote address, Tim Cook claimed they dropped it in the interest of saving space but the reality is Bluetooth music is the industry standard, and it was only a matter of time before inferior technologies were ousted. Apple has always been on the cutting edge of advancement, but this time will prove to be bigger than all the rest.
The world is getting sick of cords. In an age when everything from your cellphone to your toaster oven are online, cords have become more numerous than the devices themselves.
Before the days of WiFi, there were cat-5 cables, other wise known as Ethernet. These pesky blue wires were necessary if one wanted to browse funny cat videos on the web. But we didn't like all those cables so someone decided to broadcast a wireless internet signal, and another someone gave it a catchy, meaningless nickname, and WiFi was born. And thus we eliminated the need for the corded internet.
A few years ago, Samsung revealed wireless charging as a feature in their Galaxy brand of phones and tablets. These new products simply needed to be placed on the appropriate surface, and they would charge right up. And thus we eliminated the need for power cords.
Within the last few years, Bluetooth has made a resurgence. Many companies are making wireless versions of their headphones, with Beats (which is owned by Apple) leading the charge. As more and more companies adopt this technology it is becoming smaller, cheaper, and more common. Apple does a fantastic job of creating problems and then selling us the solutions, and most of us are okay with that. In this newest case, Apple has introduced the AirPods. These new headphones differ from the old ones in a couple ways. Firstly, they are exactly the same design as the old ones except they don't have a cord. Secondly, you'll lose them in about ten minutes. And finally, they cost as much as an 8 foot on Amazon. And thus Apple eliminated the need for wired headphones.
The next step in the cord purge was Macbook. This was a rather quiet product that Apple released in 2015. The Macbook is the essence of what Apple is trying to do. The Macbook is tiny, weighing in at just 2 lbs. with a width of just over 13 mm., it is a beautiful product. However, in order to achieve this new slimmer figure, they scrapped everything. It doesn't have a single USB port, a SD card slot, or a HDMI port. They did, however, leave the headphone jack and a charging port. With the Macbook and the iPhone 7, Apple has shown us its goal: an Apple dominated world, where everyone's wrist, pocket, ears, and desk are filled with their seamlessly interfacing products.
By removing USB ports, headphone jacks, and SD slots, Apple is forcing their customers to immerse themselves in the product: iCloud. In theory more than in practice it is a brilliant idea. It is a way to back up all of those mirror selfies and pictures of hipster food to the ethereal iCloud in the sky (its actually just a server farm in North Carolina, but who cares). With the iCloud and now Airdrop (a Bluetooth enabled file sharing system used between compatible Apple devices), the Apple-loving American can seamlessly link all of their data between their Apple devices.
For all the heat they have received in the last week, Apple has shown the world that they are not scared of the future and that they will boldly and beautifully lead us into it. It may be unpopular, but having a truly wireless world is the future, and dropping unnecessary jacks and ports is just the first step.