As a consumer, I sometimes feel quite alienated by Apple’s total disregard for the norm. It was indeed the same with the relatively recent announcement of the iPhone7.
I should not have been surprised though. Apple produced a laptop with no CD Drive (I thought they were mad at the time). They produced a laptop with no FireWire and instead just a Displayport (Thunderbolt in cloaked form on the way). Apple then went too far (some might say) and created a MacBook so small they could only place one USB socket on it (USB-C) and as a result it had to do everything, a little like Lightening-For-Macs.
I guess, when it comes to Apple, I should not be surprised that they’re trying to change things! It’s called innovation, and it can be uncomfortable for us who are less used to change (that’s me by the way).
However, I sat down with my iPhone 5C (which I’m very happy with by the way!) to listen to some tunes on the train with my Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones and was reminded immediately of why Apple’s move on the iPhone 7 is an opportunity, not a flaw. My iPhone 5C fails to summon the power and perceived dynamic range (even with full bandwidth .wav/.aiff files) necessary compared to the same files at 44.1kHz on my Pono Player, with its arguably improved audio electronics. I had been reminded why Apple try to do what they do. Innovate.
I’ve always concluded that the Digital To Analogue Convertors (DACs) and headphone amplifiers in the iPhone range have been less than adequate in quality. So why was I spitting feathers at the Apple Keynote when they’d scrapped the humble headphone jack. How dumb was I to think this.
Once my brain had caught up, it suddenly dawned on me that, providing Apple’s battery in the iPhone range has been improved (proof still awaiting), I’d no longer need, in theory, to carry the Pono Player and an iPhone. I’d just need the iPhone and a new pair of digitally enabled Noise Cancelling Headphones, whether bluetooth or connecting via the lightening connection.
In theory we could all move to extreme high quality sound on the move, leaving decent makes of headphones (not Apple’s!) to manage the digital to analogue conversion and the headphone amplification. This can only be a good thing. We just need to wait to reap the benefits…in time.
In theory, we could go high res too! Presumably higher sample rates could also be delivered with deeper bit rates and perhaps mean the humble iPhone could take on the Pono Player. Imagine, hi-fi returning to every iPhone soon…