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Steve Wozniak Says Apple Must Fix iPhone 7 Bluetooth Or Revive Its Headphone Jack (afr.com) 385

We've talked extensively about the missing headphone jack on the upcoming iPhone. While some say that the move will ruin user experience -- something that has already started to seem that way in the real world -- a few argue that someone needs to push the needle to move the technology forward. Now Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has something to say about the missing legacy audio jack as well. He is asking Apple to fix the Bluetooth first if the company intends to give users to move to wireless headphones. From a Financial Review report: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has warned Apple is going to frustrate a lot of customers if it removes the headphone jack from the upcoming iPhone 7. [...] Customers wanting to use their existing, wired earbuds and headphones might have to buy an adaptor that attaches to the iPhone's Lightning port, or to whatever port does remain on the phone. "If it's missing the 3.5mm earphone jack, that's going to tick off a lot of people," Mr Wozniak told The Australian Financial Review. "I would not use Bluetooth ... I don't like wireless. I have cars where you can plug in the music, or go through Bluetooth, and Bluetooth just sounds so flat for the same music." Mr Wozniak said he would probably use the adaptor to connect his existing earphones to his next iPhone, and said that, like many other users he is attached to the accessories that he uses alongside the phone. "Mine have custom ear implants, they fit in so comfortably, I can sleep on them and everything. And they only come out with one kind of jack, so ''ll have to go through the adaptor," he said. "If there's a Bluetooth 2 that has higher bandwidth and better quality, that sounds like real music, I would use it. But we'll see. Apple is good at moving towards the future, and I like to follow that."
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Steve Wozniak Says Apple Must Fix iPhone 7 Bluetooth Or Revive Its Headphone Jack

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  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @02:12PM (#52757035) Journal
    Bluetooth has it's own compression it uses. Very often it clashes with the compression that many audio files use. I found this out the hard way by buying a Bluetooth to stereo device to plug into my home theatre receiver, to play music from my phone over house speakers. If the file was even high-rate MP3, I could hear artifacts of the two compression algorithms fighting with each other; it actually set my teeth on edge. Using AAC instead of MP3 helped, but I'm sure the guys with really sensitive ears will still hear some artifacts to set their teeth on edge, even with something 'lossless' like FLAC or Apple's lossless compression, or maybe even with an uncompressed audio file.
    • by Lord Apathy ( 584315 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @03:07PM (#52757423)

      Sounds to me like you where using a crappy adaptor. I've been using several midrange audio head phones, and some high end head phones for several years over blue tooth 2.1+ and I've never seen any kind of issues like that. I've used everything from low end mp3 to high end aac, even flac and they all sound fine based on the hiead phone I'm using.

      I image you have a cheap adaptor or your mp3 encoding sucks.

    • by AncalagonTotof ( 1025748 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @03:34PM (#52757649)

      To add details to your answer : first point, look at your source : is it FLAC or MP3 (or any equivalent). If the source is bad, it cannot be better at the other end.

      AFAIK, Bluetooth uses an A2DP pipe and this pipe allows the transmission of data using 4 codecs :
      - SBC : the first historically, the worst in quality
      - AAC
      - MP3
      - aptX

      SBC, AAC and MP3 are lossy codecs. I never saw a product that accept AAC or MP3. There must be a license to pay to use MP3; may be also for AAC.
      aptX is both lossy and lossless. And most source devices (smartphones, computers ...) are aptX ready.

      So, the technology already here to allow a much better quality than what we know (as long as one can force the use of the lossless variant of aptX, which is ... well, you know ... Obfuscated to say the least).

      Then what ?
      Then CSR : the dominating Bluetooth chips manufacturer. More than 70% of the chips last time I heard.
      CSR has patents on aptX.
      And patents are meant to make money (yes; were you told otherwise ?).

      So, the sink devices (BT speakers, car audio systems, ...) are aptX ready only if the manufacturer paid CSR. I'm not sure, may be $1 per product. That's a lot compared to the rest of the BOM. A BT speaker you pay $150 cost less than half when leaving the Chinese factory.

      And guess what : manufacturers like profit, so they don't pay CSR for aptX and stick to SBC.
      The hardware is always ready, the firmware may contain the aptX codec, but if the license key, linked to the BT MAC address of the chip, is not present in the firmware, aptX won't be negotiated as an available codec with the source device. Only SBC will be used, even if your source device can do aptX.

      By the way, if you like your music, listen to it on real speakers in your living room !

  • by krel ( 588588 ) <krell.mac@com> on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @02:13PM (#52757043) Homepage

    "If there's a Bluetooth 2 that has higher bandwidth and better quality..."
    - Steve Wozniak, Bluetooth expert

    • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

      He was misquoted. He was saying they needed a "Bluetooth II" which is all different because of the Roman numerals.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @02:32PM (#52757163)

        He was misquoted. He was saying they needed a "Bluetooth II" which is all different because of the Roman numerals.

        Oh, such a young one. The proper why to write that is "Bluetooth ][".

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @02:36PM (#52757199)

          Bluetooth ][gs would offer the best graphics and sound experience.

        • Blu][utH

          • But in a heavily-stylized font such that the u is symmetrical, the l and t are nearly identical, and the B and H are very similar as well.
            Then you can do it up so the second half is angled off of the first a bit, such that one half appears to be a reflection of the other half.
            Make the left half of the logo one color and the right half another color. We'll probably go with a dark or grey-blue on the left, and then a desaturated version on the right. For plaintext use we'll prescribe black for the left half

  • by Andrew Lee ( 4687665 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @02:14PM (#52757051)
    I think Bluetooth audio sounds very poor, but I also feel there could be something else as the endgame here. Step one - wireless headphones are cool, get everyone using them and don't worry about audio quality, just overcook the bass. Step two - eliminate the headphone jack so no one can connect analogue headphones anymore. Step three - introduce DRM on the phone and ensure that only DRM protected audio can be played across the connection. Result - the RIAA and their associates are super happy. Maybe I'm paranoid, but it's what HDCP purports to do for HDMI.
    • get everyone using them and don't worry about audio quality, just overcook the bass.

      An idea brought to you by the same company that now owns "Beats"

    • Step three - introduce DRM on the phone and ensure that only DRM protected audio can be played across the connection

      Step 3 fails on a logical and physical basis.

      Logical: This step would be brought to you by the company that removed DRM from their store, and the company who have repeatedly given the middle finger to the RIAA.

      Physical: HDCP relied on one very important feature, the inability to capture the analogue stream. The final stream displayed to the eyes is a tad over 2.07 million individual analogue reproductions which we are unable to capture accurately all at the same time. For audio the final stream is made up o

  • This fall, my next laptop might very well be Windows. The fact the MBP lineup has been flat these past generations, combined with some really fucking stupid decisions (USB-C), and now this fiasco with the iPhone 7... yeah, Apple, your innovation has been sucking balls lately.

    • Windows 10 is a mess, you should consider moving to Linux instead.

      • I would think BSD would be a better refuge for disgruntled former Mac owners...
  • Fix it? lol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @02:16PM (#52757059)
    Oh, they're going to "fix" it? What do users love more than 1 battery to worry about and having it run dry at just the right time? TWO BATTERIES! Yay, wireless headphones! Good luck "fixing" that, lol.
  • Apple will do no fixes of anything until it learns its lesson with very bad iPhone 7 sales because of the removal of the 3.5mm audio jack. Apple are no longer trend setting, they are losing sales to Far East Android phones giving people mostly what they want in a phone shows.

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      It did happen with the iPod shuffle. The 3rd generation model was a failure, that's why the 4th generation looks like the 2nd one.

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      Apple will do no fixes of anything until it learns its lesson with very bad iPhone 7 sales because of the removal of the 3.5mm audio jack.

      What would be worse for Apple would be if they don't lose sales, because there's definitely a non-negligible percentage of their customers who will be negatively impacted significantly by removal of the headphone jack, and if those folks buy the phone anyway, then they're going to end up with a bad impression of Apple products, and Apple will lose them as customers. In t

  • by BrendaEM ( 871664 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @02:25PM (#52757119) Homepage

    Come on people, you don't have to validate the RIAA's meddling in our phones.

  • by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @02:27PM (#52757123)

    I for one would like an iPhone that's totally wa ter proof
    headphone jack: bluetooth
    lightning port : inductive charging

    would be completely water proof with no external buttons -- how is that a bad thing exactly?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @02:34PM (#52757181)

      Sony has made numerous waterproof phones with exposed headphone Jacks. Removing it is not a requirement.

    • What about speaker and microphone? It seems like that could still be a way to soak in water.
      • You do realise both a speaker and a microphone rely on a coil connected to a membrane right? In phones those membranes are already plastic. Oh and underwater speakers and microphones exist, as do waterproof mobile phones.

    • So get a waterproof case. I would think that inductive charging and having to keep the phone in one area would be opposite what you would want underwater. I can barely get bluetooth headphones to work worth a crap 10 feet away in air, I would guess in water would be even worse.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Samsung S7: IP68 with metal construction, no port covers and includes a headphone jack. It's not that hard, Apple just doesn't care to make one.

    • What do the jacks have to do with something being water proof? There's countless water proof devices on the market with jacks and ports. The reason your iPhone isn't waterproof has nothing to do with the jacks.

  • I'm out (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @02:28PM (#52757133)

    I've given many thousands of dollars to Apple over the years. If they get rid of the headphone jack then I am out of the Apple Camp for good. This is the first real evidence I have seen that Apple is really not the same without Jobs. Removing the headphone jack is so god damn stupid I can't believe they will actually do it. There isn't a reality distortion field to save this one.

    • by xevioso ( 598654 )

      Sadly, I agree. I will not upgrade to an iPhone 7 if they do this. The amount of times I use my headphone jack is insane; it's a core feature of the product for me.

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      This is the first real evidence I have seen that Apple is really not the same without Jobs.

      The first evidence was soldered RAM in their desktop computers. Doing that for a really thin laptop makes some sense but doing it for a desktop computer is just to piss off users.

  • by Black.Shuck ( 704538 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @02:29PM (#52757143)

    ...they're just rumoured to be shipping the phone without one.

    That's not removing. Nobody is having their existing phone amputated. The SE and 6S series will still ship after the release of the new phone, and they have headphone jacks. The existing, shipped devices have their headphone jacks.

    If the new phone doesn't have a headphone jack, it'll be all over the Internet. There will be almost no way to avoid knowing that the iPhone 7 doesn't have a headphone jack.

    Any "frustration" felt by users who then go and bye one, *knowing* that it doesn't have a headphone jack, *seeing* in the store that it doesn't have a headphone jack, having an Apple employing trying to up-sell them Bluetooth headphones after *telling* them it doesn't have a headphone jack... well, I have a suggestion for where they can plug their existing headphones.

    • bye

      buy

    • employing

      employee

      Doing well today.

    • You are forgetting Joe Average User whose phone carrier tells them they're eligible for an upgrade to the latest new shiny, who eagerly accepts the latest new shiny without asking questions and then finds that the latest new shiny is missing an essential feature that the old shiny had always had and that Mr. Average User here would never have conceived their new improved shiny might possibly lack.

      • To be "eligible for an upgrade" you need a contract. Contracts have cooling-off periods and warrantees, so the phone can be exchanged.

        Even if this wasn't so, all consumers in the UK have a 16-day refund/replacement guarantee mandated by the government (just looked it up -- it's actually 30 days since The Consumer Rights Act was amended in 2015).

        Perhaps there something similar where you are?

      • Because it's not like Apple has a history of dropping standards they feel are behind the times before everyone else. Nope. Dropping a connector would be totally uncharacteristic of them. There's no precedent for that at all.

        • In fairness, the Apple's popularity has exploded since the days when they could change/drop interfaces without Mr. Average User really noticing.

    • The reason why people are worried is that you will need to get a new phone at some point. The 6S won't work forever and it certainly won't be supported forever, so that means that at some point within the next few years Apple fans may have to decide between getting an iPhone without a headphone jack or switching to Android to get a phone with one. Worse yet, a number of manufacturers of Android phones are shipping phones without headphone jacks because, for some reason, they insist on following everything
      • You don't think all this will have died down "within the next few years"? You don't think the market will be flooded with whatever the alternative will be?

        Tech-years are shorter than dog-years, and Apple support [iossupportmatrix.com] their old pups longer than any of the other kennels.

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @04:34PM (#52758033) Homepage Journal

      If the new phone doesn't have a headphone jack, it'll be all over the Internet. There will be almost no way to avoid knowing that the iPhone 7 doesn't have a headphone jack.

      That's not where the user impact comes in. Most people don't use headphones constantly. They use them occasionally. And they will think to themselves, "That's not a big deal." Then, at some point in the distant future:

      • They're at a friend's house and want to play some song. Their friend has an Android phone, and a stereo with only an 1/8" plug.
      • They're out somewhere and think, "I'd like to listen to some music while I walk from A to B" and then realize that their Bluetooth earbuds aren't charged.
      • The stewardess tells them that they can't use wireless headsets (that's a per-airline policy decision) and offers to sell them a headset for $3, but oops, no adapter.

      And so on. And suddenly, what seemed like it didn't matter suddenly matters, and you have a pissed off customer.

      • I don't disagree. Perhaps a few of us will indeed go through the whole "can I put that on a flopp... oh shit, nevermind" process again.

        Pioneers and trailblazers all of them.

    • The problem is: there are no Apple frustrated customers. They're already saying it's no problem the lack of headphone, because if you want to record the audio, you can record from the ear plug (while we know that bluetooth quality is poor due double compression).
  • I don't mind new technologies. Improving Bluetooth audio, improving the Bluetooth standard to support better audio. That's all fine, and may lead to the improvement of audio in the future.

    However, the technology of the headphone jack is so simple, so universal, so useful- I feel like removing the headphone jack seems a silly move. I'd rather a slightly thicker phone than no headphone jack.

    Now... with that said, I don't actually remember the last time I used a headphone jack on my phone anyway. I think f

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      I use it any time I am doing something noisy with the phone and I am not alone. I prefer not to bother people and I prefer for background noise to interfere with what I am doing.

      Manners and pragmatism must be out of style these days.

    • In the past few days: On a bus. In a waiting room at the auto repair shop. Lunch at a burger place. On a bridge call where I needed my hands free to type and did not want to use the speaker phone as I was in a public spot. (The joys of oncall).

      That ignores the times I use it on airplanes, waiting rooms, or any of a hundred places where I am killing time in a public place.

      Seriously, do a walk-thru of an airport sometime. Nothing but headphones all over the place.

    • I fly 2-3 times a week - I use it a lot since Bluetooth audio is basically verboten worldwide (you're only supposed to use Bluetooth Smart - BLE - devices, not streaming audio). Also when walking around the streets of San Francisco or riding BART - IEMs in, and wired to the phone. I'd say the majority of people on the BART have wired earbuds/headphones in...
  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @02:45PM (#52757261)

    Noticeably crappier sound quality, plus yet another device that needs charging and can fail before my phone battery does, and is more expensinve, for what benefit? The lack of a cable that never bothered me anyway? I just dont get it.

  • I am sort-of in the camp of "leave the audio jack alone", but either way - don't see any issue with copy protection. Ok, so there is DRM on the data and on the radio (Bluetooth or whatever) link to the external headphone/speaker/whatever. But that external device still has to play analog over the air sound for human analog ears? So, perhaps with exception of more loss of quality due to sub-par compression, we still have the same "analog gap" and the same ability to record/save/backup/whatever?
    Am I missing a

  • why (Score:5, Interesting)

    by desdinova 216 ( 2000908 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @02:55PM (#52757345)
    why does Apple have this obsession with making their devices thinner. Most of the people I've talked to wouldn't mind a thicker device if it meant longer battery life.
  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <[moc.talfdren] [ta] [tkram]> on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @03:01PM (#52757389) Journal
    .. if Apple is so dead-set determined to say that their way is better, would be for the iphone to have *2* lightning ports instead of just one... You'd still need an adapter for 3.5 mm phones, but even if you had lightning headphones, you could at least charge your phone while you listen without requiring a lightning hub, (or even plug in other lightning devices that the phone supports)
    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      Plus, when your headphone cord breaks off in the Lightning port, you'll still be able to charge the phone... until you break a second headphone cord, anyway.

  • by Blythe Bowman ( 4372095 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @03:07PM (#52757425)
    a few argue that someone needs to push the needle to move the technology forward.#### What the hell for? Why fix something if it isn't broken? The only forward I see is where everything is encrypted, locked down, welded shut, and sealed in exposy so you can't do anything without your new masters' blessing This future - DO. NOT. WANT.
  • Anyone else suddenly wondering what type of music Woz listens to?

  • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @03:25PM (#52757571) Journal
    And it's supported by all the high end phones. Except Apple - they want their own standard (interestingly, just the iOS devices; the Macbooks have AptX compatibility). It consistently rates higher than any other Bluetooth audio experience, and it's low-latency variant is very nice too. And yes, I develop Bluetooth headphones for a living.
  • Mr Wozniak said he would probably use the adaptor to connect his existing earphones to his next iPhone, and said that, like many other users he is attached to the accessories that he uses alongside the phone.

    Anyone else spot the problem here? "His next iPhone." The guy has already made up his mind, independent of whether it's good or bad. This is the economic equivalent of someone who votes party line.

    He doesn't give a single fuck, so there is no reason Apple (or anyone else) should listen to him. He has a

  • ...And it goes through the lightning port. I bought a third party adaptor that fits in behind the standard stereo (in a 2006 VW!) and while I actually have to have two adaptors (iPhone 3G to iPhone 4--something changed in the 30-pin layout or something, and then a standard 30-pin to lightning adaptor on top of that) I can still control my phone from the steering wheel. The sound quality is, of course, very good.

    When I borrowed my friend's car, I used my USB/Lightning cable to plug into her Sony deck. That w

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