With all the reliable rumors and leaks that Apple iPhone 7 will be ditching the 3.5mm standard analog headphone jack in favour of a digital lightning connector, it's pretty much clear we are soon going to witness a shift in how we consume digital music. While many of us are excited about this new development hoping for better sound quality and smaller wireless headphones from Apple, the fact this could lead to more restrictions for a consumer should also be taken into consideration.
Why Apple removed the headphone jack?
Apple has always been a pioneer in how they design things and for sure they wanted to offer iPhone 7 with a more streamlined design, and removing an additional plug is a step in right direction. But many experts do not believe this and for them, Apple is pushing digital music output technology by completely removing the analog plug from its phones.
With the iPhone 7, users will be able to use a Bluetooth headphone or a headphone that will be connected to the Lightning port. In both the cases, the output will be purely digital and it can be DRM'ed and restricted as per their wish.
Towards digital streaming
The music that we listen via an analog headphone on the phones can be recorded easily, we know it. Not just that users can record it but they can convert it into a digital stream and can transmit it again. The music can be converted into any format as per need and shared easily.
However, with a digital stream, as with iPhone 7, it won’t be easy to record and convert the music especially if Apple decides to implement DRM onto it. For end-users, this might not sound like a really big issue but one can easily imagine the copy-restricted DRM regime this could push forward once this goes mainstream. Consequently, Apple will be in the driving position. Not only will this allow Apple to gain more control over music industry but will also allow it to impose restrictions on competeting audio accessories like it imposes now on other non-Apple accessories.
The future is all digital
Apple is not the first one to introduce phones without a headphone jack. Lenovo has already introduced a couple of digital audio out only smartphones. But of course, iPhone 7 is the next big thing in the market therefore, we will see other companies following the trend.
In the near future, all the major smartphone manufacturing companies could shift to analog-free phones. We have seen it in the past when Apple launched iTunes and the app store, it became an industry trend. When Apple introduced nano sim cards, everyone in the industry did the same.
It is quite possible that the entire chunk of android smartphone manufacturing companies will get rid of the analog streaming from their phones and this will change pretty much everything ranging from DRM to audio streaming to the types of headphones to a whole bunch of local legal issues.
The headphone jack free phones will not be an exception. It will become an industry trend pretty soon. These new phones will change the way we will use audio files in the future. This is just the beginning of a new era in the music streaming.