You have to take activist websites with a fistful of salt. Many are well-meaning, and some manage to instigate real change. But much of the time, they’re a means for people to think they’re engaged in activism, when they’re really only clicking ‘I agree’ before returning to gorge on YouTube videos of penguins being challenged by a rope.
Nonetheless, I have a modicum of respect for a few of these sites, although in the case of SumOfUs, it would be more accurate to say that I had respect. And that’s because its new campaign, Keep the standard headphone jack in your iPhones!, is asinine clickbait of the type usually reserved for Forbes and Business Insider. Perhaps they should all join forces!
The campaign starts off in a calm and measured manner, with a photo of some headphones and the thoughtful, reasoned headline:
Apple is ditching the standard headphone jack to screw consumers and the planet
This is the sort of thing guaranteed to bring on board execs at Apple.
The petition text itself then begins (emphasis as per original web page):
Apple is about to rip off every one of its customers. Again.
Again. Apple just can’t stop ripping off everyone of its customers. Bought an iMac? Idiot! Apple ripped you off! Again. Even if you’ve never bought anything from Apple before, because Tim Cook probably has a time machine and will dump you in an infinite loop, in order to keep making that purchase and ripping you off — forever. That’s how nasty and evil Apple is.
If the rumours are true,
This being a great way to kick off a campaign, because, as we know, every Apple rumour has a 100 per cent hit rate.
the new iPhone 7 will have a non-standard, proprietary headphone jack — making every pair of headphones on earth useless.
This is true. As soon as Apple introduces a non-standard headphone jack, it will also emit a specialised EMP burst of some kind from every new iPhone, rendering all old headphones useless. They won’t work on other kit, and there’s no way whatsoever Apple would release any kind of adaptor that would allow you to use old headphones with the new input.
Not only will this force iPhone users to dole out additional cash to replace their hi-fi headphones, it will singlehandedly create mountains of electronic waste — that likely won’t get recycled.
The second I get an iPhone 7, I and every other iPhone 7 owner, will immediately throw out all our old headphones. SumOfUs has spoken.
There’s only one reason for this change:
The march of technology? Trying to make the iPhone better? Realising a port has run its course, and wanting to do something different?
to leverage Apple’s market share in order to extract even more profit from its customers.
Ah — of course! Silly me!
With virtually no third-party manufacturers ready to fill the new market gap, Apple stands to make a killing while we — and our planet — pay the price.
No third parties will be able to make Lightning headphones! And OUR PLANET WILL SUFFER. Presumably, iPhone 7 will also come with a built-in laser that automatically blasts nearby trees into oblivion while Siri cackles menacingly.
Apple, don’t repay iPhone users’ loyalty by ditching standard headphones and fuelling the e-waste crisis. Bring back the standard earphone jack.
The one that, currently, no-one knows whether or not it’s actually going or gone anyway.
This is right out of the Apple corporate playbook. A few years ago it swapped out the original iPod-dock connector with a new one, making countless cords, cables and chargers obsolete — for limited performance improvement.
“I don’t understand any of the benefits of the new Lightning connector, and will ignore its gradual rollout across a much larger range of Apple products, thereby making it a good thing in the long run. Also, Apple is evil because it embraced USB with the original iMac and didn’t stick with ADB. AND WHERE IS THE FLOPPY DRIVE IN MY NEW MACBOOK, TIM COOK?”
The screws in Apple products can’t even be opened with a traditional screwdriver — making it harder to repair a product you paid for.
SumOfUs is going to have a major shock the next time their new car/television/almost any piece of modern electronics breaks.
This decision will also have huge ramifications for climate change. According to the United Nations, up to 90% of the world’s electronic waste is illegally traded or dumped each year. We need to bring more care and attention to this growing issue — not aggravate it through reckless, profit-driven decisions that will deliver countless perfectly useable items straight to the landfill.
“Hey, Martin, do you have that generic piece of actually important and broadly relevant information about illegal electronic waste trade we can cut into this? I’ve just realised we’re 200 words deep and are 98 per cent froth. That’s at least five per cent too much froth, even for an anti-Apple tirade. Thanks.”
Tell Apple to respect its customers and our planet. Keep the standard headphone jack.
So here’s the thing: I actually agree with that last bit — and I’m not alone. Kirk McElhearn outlined for Macworld why the jack should stay, and it’s hard to argue with the points he and others make, notably: thinner devices than the iPhone 6s have a standard headphone jack; a Lightning headphone adaptor would likely need to be a DAC (and could be expensive); one port means no simultaneous charging/headphone use; and it’s an expected ‘default’ these days that exists on pretty much every major piece of consumer and computing tech.
But that doesn’t mean SumOfUs should clickterbate all over a site that’s supposed to be responsible. Still, you can guarantee that if the iPhone 7 shows up, headphone jack intact, the site will nonetheless claim victory, even though its likely impact would have been akin to the level of intelligence and rationality shown in its campaign: zero.