Dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone lineup caused plenty of controversy. And now, months later and with a lot of different smartphone manufacturers dropping the port, it’s still considered a user-hostile move. If nothing else, it marks one more bullet point that companies like Samsung can keep on their specs sheet in comparison to the competition.
Whether or not it actually matters is completely up to the individual looking to get a new device. If having a headphone jack is important to you, well, buying a new iPhone is probably not the best strategy. But if you don’t mind not having one, whether it’s because you’re going wireless or can use the Lightning EarPods that Apple includes in the box, it’s probably not anything you’ll miss.
Dropping that port gave us the truly wireless AirPods, as Apple pushed its wireless vision for its device lineup.
The in-ear headphones were lambasted at their unveiling because of their design. And I can still recall all the YouTube videos out there calling out the AirPods for how they stuck out of the ears. They look like EarPods, just wireless — and apparently dropping that wire made the design ridiculous. That’s not something I’ve ever agreed with, and now, months later, I can say that I’ve seen so many AirPods out in the wild that it easily matches the Apple Watches I’ve seen over the years.
Personally, AirPods are my favorite gadget right now. The design is great, and they fit comfortably and snugly in my ears. (I know that some people’s ears just aren’t compatible with the AirPods or EarPods, which is definitely unfortunate. I do wish Apple could figure out a way to address this — but not actually get rid of the current design, either.) The sound is . . . fine for what the AirPods are. I’m not expecting much, and I’ve never had issues with the sound quality out of the EarPods, either. They’re fine.
Rumors are that Apple is going to upgrade the AirPods this year. We might get water resistance. And there are expectations that there will be some changes to the way that owners activate and use Siri, Apple’s digital personal assistant. And most recently we heard that next year we could see noise-cancelling AirPods see the light of day.
Which got me thinking about what I might want to see in subsequent versions of AirPods down the line. Water resistance is definitely a must-have. But I think the one thing that I want more than anything else when it comes to what the AirPods can do is volume control. This is the one feature that, when I see it in other wireless headphones, I get a little jealous of.
There’s no way that Apple is going to add buttons to the AirPods, so there has to be another way to achieve that goal. Gestures would be an option, I hope. The design of the AirPods, with that long stem, would even facilitate that concept, if Apple could figure out the technology to make it happen. Being able to swipe up or down to alter the volume is my number 1 request at this point, because Apple’s vision of me not having to pull out my iPhone is hindered by the fact I need to adjust the volume.
(Yes, adjusting the volume with the phone in the pocket is definitely possible, and that’s what I do more often than not. But still, I want volume controls on the AirPods. Add that and they’ll be the complete package in my eyes.
But, what about you? If you own the AirPods, what would you like to see Apple change or add to the next version of the truly wireless headphones? And if you haven’t picked up a pair (yet), what does Apple need to do to make them a worthwhile option for you? Let me know!