George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright and critic, once said, “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.” As eloquent as this quotation is, it comes down to one simple truth: history repeats itself. On September 7th, 2016, Apple dropped the headphone jack and there were mixed responses. Most people resulted to condemning Apple on social media, few praised Apple for their efforts to modernize, and some, or maybe just me, slowly cried themselves to sleep next to their analog headphones. No matter the case there is one thing for certain: Apple got rid of the headphone jack and we are mostly upset. But, is this the first time Apple has gotten rid of old technology on their phones, replaced it with the lightning port in efforts to modernize their phones, and we all have responded radically negatively? Definitely not.

Recall back to 2012, when Phil Schiller, dare I mention the name, announced that Apple would get rid of their old 30-pin connector as their charging port for the new, modern lightning connector.

In this event, Schiller explained, “A lot has changed and it is time for the connector to evolve.” Apple has had a history of seeking thinner phones, as he said, “It is more durable, and much easier to use because now you can plug it into either direction it doesn’t matter. And best of all for the engineering team to make a product like this, it is 80% smaller.” He concludes his speech by calming his audience with, “This is a 30-pin to lightning adapter. And it works just like you would expect. You can plug a 30-pin connector into it, and into your iPhone 5.” This is irrefutably exactly like the predicament Apple has themselves in now. They got rid of an old port that iPhone users loved, and replaced it with the lightning port because it is inherently more useful. On top of that, they met consumers halfway by offering a cheap adapter for all their devices that use the old port.

The initial response to this sudden change was Apple being criticized by the media for cultivating a scheme for users to buy new chargers, thereby boosting Apple’s profits in a moment of weakness. However, as the lightning charger became more popular, consumers began to realize its benefits, and how necessary the change was to engineering a more innovative device for years to come. The new lightning port provided many more opportunities for innovations in the phone, as there was a significant amount of new, open space. There is not a soul out there that would prefer the 30-pin on their device at this moment, and everyone has come to understand that it is smaller, reversible, and faster, all qualities that are required in a contemporary smartphone.

So, yes, history does repeat itself. At the moment, Apple may seem like a bunch of supervillains sitting in the towers of 1 Infinite Loop slowly milking the money out of your pockets with new lightning headphones. But in reality, even if they are these antagonists and are unaware of it, they are simply forcing consumers into the future. It is necessary for us to recognize that the analog headphone jack is outdated, and just like the 30-pin connector that we held so dear, it must be removed from the modern iPhone.

For perspective, here are some things that Phil Schiller said in 2012 versus what he said in 2016. They are shockingly similar:

2012 2016
“What about all the devices and speakers and connectors you have now, that already use the 30-pin connector?”…“This is a 30-pin to lightning adapter.” “Now we know there are people in the world who do have some analog, old connected devices out there.”…“We have also made this, it is lightning to mini phono adapter.”
“[The 30-pin connector] has served us well for almost a decade. But so much has changed since we first created that 30-pin connector” “[The headphone jack] has been with us a really long time. I’m sure you know the source of this miniphono jack is over 100 years old, used to help quickly exchange in switchboards.”
“So many of the things we used to do over the wire, we now do wirelessly.” “We do have a vision for how audio should work on mobile devices, and that takes us to our next feature: Wireless.”
“We are working with accessory makers to have them integrate lightning connectors into products you may choose to buy.” “[The lightning port] is perhaps the largest digital audio connection in the world. And there are speakers and headphones that decided to take advantage of it.”
“[Lightning] is adaptive to what those signals need to be for the different accessories you might need to plug into.” “We designed lightning to be a great digital audio connector.”

On September 7th, 2016, we all suffered a great loss. On this day, Apple announced their iPhone 7 would not have a headphone jack, which is one of the most universally used analog audio connectors. The headphone jack was a great utility, and it will be forever missed. And because it’s riddance was announced by Apple, we can almost confirm that it will never be seen again, as its absence will be popularized by the massive corporation. Following their announcement, there was much confusion as to why Apple would do something so seemingly horrendous, alongside the belittlement of Phil Schiller for his whole self-proclaimed “courage” rant. To fully understand their decision, we must first look at what the headphone jack is, and where it came from.

The headphone jack dates back to 1888, following the invention and popularity of the telephone. They were used to speed up the process of telephone switchboards, where workers would use these double-sided audio connection cables to connect one person to another over the phone. It was a very simple concept and, at the time, very efficient. 76 years later in 1964, Sony popularized what we know as the 3.5 mm jack that apparently we hold so dearly to our mobile devices. This technology remained the same until 52 years after that, it suddenly, shockingly disappeared on Apple’s new iPhone 7. For perspective, the headphone jack was invented in the same year as the ballpoint pen and the portable camera.

Here are some things invented after the headphone jack:

  • Zippers
  • Gasoline powered cars
  • Frozen packaged food
  • Velcro
  • Rollerblades (invented nearly 100 years after)

If you are not getting the picture: The headphone jack is ancient.

But just because something is old does not mean it should be tossed away, as the common saying goes, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” So why would Apple get rid of it?

Well, according to Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Apple, “it really comes down to one word: courage. The courage to move on, do something new that betters all of us. And our team has tremendous courage.” To most people, this was far less than satisfying. It seems as if they are making us buy entirely new sets of headphones or carry around a weird adapter thing that’s so small you lose it just by looking at it so that they can call themselves courageous. Not off to a hot start, Phil.

He quickly follows it up explaining that, “our smartphones are packed with technologies and we all want more. We want bigger and brighter displays, we want larger batteries, we want faster processors, we want stereo speakers, we want taptic engines, we want all of that, and it’s all fighting for space within that same enclosure, and maintaining an ancient, single-purpose, analog, big connector doesn’t make sense because that space is at a premium.” Here is where it gets a bit more honest and reassuring.

In fact, Apple did not do this in vain, the new space acquired by getting rid of the headphone jack allowed them to give way for 5 new innovations:

  1. A new Taptic Engine that is twice as big as that of the iPhone 6s and supports their enclosed home button, giving users the opportunity to customize their home button
  2. A significantly bigger battery that Dan Riccio, Apple’s Senior VP of hardware engineering, said increased the battery of the iPhone 7 by 14%, or nearly 2 hours of battery life
  3. A new stereo speaker system that is louder and more widespread
  4. A barometer that is so accurate Apple claims it can track if you walk up a set of stairs
  5. Dramatically increased water and dust resistance ranked at IP67. Less ports led to a more enclosed phone that can survive depths larger than that of the Samsung Galaxy S7 according to tests by EverythingApplePro

These innovations go far, and the lightning port will work just fine for transmitting audio, and it might even be better. Phil Schiller, during the announcement of the iPhone 7, said, “from the start we designed lightning to be a great digital audio connector.” This is undeniably true as Schiller said in 2012 when they announced the new lightning port that, “[lightning] is adaptive to what those signals need to be for the different accessories you might need to plug into.” This might bring into question, how long has Apple been planning this step forward?

Nevertheless, the iPhone will still sell. According to a study of over 70 million iOS devices by Localytics, in its first weekend, the iPhone 7 took over 1% of the iPhone market, with the 7 Plus at .2%. This is very small deviation from the iPhone 6s’s 1% and 6s Plus’s .3%. Despite this difference, the iPhone 7 was expected to sell 13 million models in its first weekend, way above that of the 6s according to Localytics’ Caitlin O’Connell. Localytics is the only trusted source of Apple’s sales, as the corporation refused to release their sales in the first weekend, most likely to avoid condemnation by the media. However, Apple was able to announce that the response to the iPhone 7 was greater than what they expected, with significant backorders and a large amount of sales online. All in all, no, the loss of the headphone jack will barely, if at all, affect Apple’s sales.

Another contributing factor to the lack of negative feedback to the iPhone 7’s sales is the growing popularity of Bluetooth headphones. According to a study by NPD on July 28th, 2016, Bluetooth headphones had actually surpassed that of analog headphones in June of 2016. Bluetooth headphones accounted for 56% of all headphones sales, with 65% of that being sold by Beats, which is owned by Apple, and LG.

So, was it truly a good idea in the end? Well, we must consider a few different ideas: Apple’s reasoning, what they put in place of the headphone jack, their sales, the growth of Bluetooth, and, finally, will it work?

Apple’s reasoning: Legitimate. Yes, we need to free up some space for all the things that we want. But this is not courageous, investing in Tidal is courageous.

What they put in place: Legitimate. The enclosing of the home button by the Taptic engine makes it sleeker and more water proof. We all love a bigger battery, especially to compensate for a more powerful phone. Speaker system could be useful, and the barometer is pretty impressive.

Their sales: Indifferent. Their sales did dip a little bit, no doubt about that, however it did not dip enough for this to define this as a bad move by Apple.

The growth of Bluetooth: Helpful. The growth of Bluetooth simply buttresses, or softens the blow of, this change. The growth of Bluetooth is dramatic, and it is for the better.

Will it work: Yes, but not for a while. Until Bluetooth becomes more popular in which all consumers are using them, this change will probably not turn a huge profit for Apple. Nevertheless, Apple is forcing their consumers to purchase Bluetooth more regularly, and we should see a large growth in Bluetooth headphones, despite it already being a growing product. The headphone jack does take up a significant portion of phones, and perhaps the new technology in its place will divert consumers’ attention and help Apple make phones better than ever before. Apple may have dropped the headphone jack too soon and this decision may have been rushed so that they would not have to announce it on their 10-year anniversary iPhone coming next fall, but, despite their rush for consumers to modernize, we should still see headphone jacks become less common, and within about 7 years perhaps become obsolete.

Over the past few years, Bluetooth headphones have entered the market. High-end brands such as Bowers & Wilkins decided to stay out of the market because the company claimed Bluetooth did not provide the ability to deliver high-quality audio. B&W has entered the market with the help of aptX which delivers higher quality audio – however devices such as the iPhone do not support aptX. The P5 Wireless headphones bear a resemblance in hardware to the P5 Series 2 headphones (Wired). The wireless headphones are in the luxury price range at $400, a $100 increase from the wired P5.

The design of the wireless headphones is basically the same as the P5 Series 2. It sports the aluminum design along with leather ear pads that provide an elegant design. It is evident that B&W carefully thought through the design challenges of a wireless headphone. For example, below the right ear pad, the MicroUSB charging port is cleverly hidden. In the event, the headphones run out of battery, one of the ear pads can be removed to insert an audio cable. The headphones come with a beautiful quilted case to store the headphones with a hidden compartment to store the charging cable and audio cable.

When testing the P5 wireless headphones on an aptX supported device, the audio quality was incredibly clear. Compared to the wired versions of the P5, it was hard to tell a difference in audio quality. On non-aptX devices (such as the iPhone), there was a marginal change in audio quality, but the difference was only noticeable to trained ear.

The P5 wireless headphones are not noise cancelling headphones, but it does a good job for the most part. The only time I notice a difference is on flights when noise cancelling headphones are necessary. One benefit of the P5 wireless headphones not being noise cancelling is the extended battery life, it is reported to play for 17 hours (compared to Beats Studio Wireless noise cancelling headphones at 9hrs). If noise cancelling is a must, these headphones are not for you. In my testing, I didn’t notice a huge difference except on airplanes. I preferred the 8-hour battery life gain since I rarely ran out of battery and it gave me one less thing to worry about charging.

The P5 wireless is a beautifully designed headphone that delivers a high-quality audio experience. These headphones require some compromise and this experience is not for everyone. But, if you are looking for high-quality headphones that block most noise and desire longer battery life, these are the headphones for you.

Low Cost: Cheerson CX-20

Price: $300

A great drone for anyone starting out. When I first got my Cheerson CX-20 I beat, dropped, and slammed into walls. Eventually the drone broke after a few months, but this was a great way to learn how to fly. The Cheerson lacks a high end interface and auto pilot controls, but through this lack of technology I became a better pilot. Having moved on from my Cheerson onto more advanced drones (that basically fly themselves), I would have never gotten to my skill level had it not been for the Cheerson. The Cheerson is a basic quadcopter with similar resemblance to the older DJI Phantom. The UAV does not come equipped with a built in Camera so you will have to snap on a GoPro. Incase you would like a more advanced drone without the price, you can always upgrade your CX-20 with a POV monitor, gimbal, and other accessories at $50 to $100 at a time.

Note: Cheerson has updated to the CX-22 (but it costs twice as much)

Medium Cost: Xiro Xplorer

Price: $800

Probably one of the best valued drones on the market is the Xiro Xplorer. There are two models sold by Xiro including the Xplorer G equipped with a 3-Axis gimbal for your GoPro, or the Xplorer V equipped with an in-house camera created by Xiro delivering crisp 1080p video. The Xiro Xplorer is a very durable and well made device that looks like it should cost twice as much as it does. It also includes much of the technology expected from higher end drones like video streaming, a specially design app, orbit mode, follow mode, and many other features. This is a high end drone, without the high end price tag.

Note: Watch out for the Xiro’s new Xplorer2!

High Cost: 3DR Solo

Price (UAV): $1000

Price (Gimbal): $400

Deemed the smartest drone on the market, it is hard to disagree after my first flight. The 3DR Solo has a noticably sleek and clean look as compared to its ugly competitor the DJI Phantom. Compared to the DJI Phantom the 3DR Solo only lacks in its range, but can be fixed for $20 dollars by buying range extenders and ends up bettering the Phantom. 3DR put time in to developing one of the best applications for their drone, so that a beginner will have the ability to take professional quality shots. The Solo is able to keep itself very steady in the wind, launch itself, orbit, follow, cable follow, and much more (not to mention the updates). If you have the cash, the 3DR Solo is worth the investment as a beginner drone as it is not very difficult to fly.

Note: Don’t worry about model updates as the 3DR Solo has updates that change its dynamics and expansion bay allows for extra accessories to be attached.

Changing the IP Address on an iPhone is an old school way to fix networking problems.

(Note that this tip will only work depending on the configuration of DHCP setup of the wireless router)

  1. Go into your iPhone’s Settings and select “Wi-Fi”
  2. Enable your Wi-Fi and make sure it connects to your router
  3. After your Wi-Fi has connected select “Wi-Fi” again and press the blue arrow next to your Wi-Fi network
  4. Under “IP Address” should be “DHCP” and this should already be selected
  5. Scroll all the way down to the bottom and select “Renew Lease”
  6. A new sub-screen will pop-up on the bottom and select “Renew Lease” again

Another way to manually change your IP Address:

  1. Go back to where “DHCP” is selected, but this time select “Static”
  2. Typically an IP address starts with 192.168.1.XXX. In the X you are able to choose any number between 2 to 200 (Unless you have multiple devices connected. Say, you have ten devices connected, you will have to give the X area of the IP address a number between 2 to 11 because you have ten different devices and the router counts as the first device; therefore you will have eleven devices)
  3. To fill in the rest of the information under “IP Address” just go back to the DHCP screen and fill in the same Subnet Mask, Router, and DNS that appears
  4. Then go back to the main page and the manual IP address should automatically save.

Hope this helped! Feel free to ask questions if you are having troubles.