Many people were angered by Apple removing the standard 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7, assuming that it was an intentional plan to increase wireless headphone sales for Apple subsidiary Beats. That fact may have played a role in the decision, but BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski offers a thorough and compelling narrative behind Apple’s decision: the company just ran out of space for it.
“We’ve got this 50-year-old connector — just a hole filled with air — and it’s just sitting there taking up space, really valuable space,” said Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering. “It was holding us back from a number of things we wanted to put into the iPhone. It was fighting for space with camera technologies and processors and battery life.”
The camera systems in the iPhone 7 models are much larger than in previous models, and Apple engineers found that the easiest way to cram all the parts in was to remove the headphone jack. Removing it also helped with water resistance and allowed for larger batteries. Ultimately, it wasn’t Apple that killed the headphone jack, but simple math, and we’re willing to bet that most other smartphone manufacturers eventually follow suit.