This morning, Apple confirmed the fears of many technology enthusiasts and headphone owners worldwide: the 3.5mm headphone jack would not be making its way to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. In its place, the company will rely on three alternatives: a Lightning-compatible pair of new included EarPods; a pair of $159 wireless Bluetooth AirPods that require no physical connection; and a free dongle to connect old, analog headphones to the device. When describing this change, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller gave a peculiar defense.
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"The reason to move on: courage. The courage to move on and do something new that betters all of us," he said onstage. Those words were uttered with a hand-waving grandiosity seemingly at odds with what some consider an anti-consumer move that may kick off a bitter standards war.
The comment has immediately been scrutinized by eager live stream-watching Twitter users, who've acted fast to mash up the word "courage" with all sorts of Apple blunders and draw ludicrous comparisons to real-world historical acts. Here's a taste:
"We're going to move from an open standard to a closed, proprietary, expensive competitor because COURAGE." #AppleEvent— Ben Werdmüller (@benwerd) September 7, 2016
the foot soldiers of Agincourt; the D-Day paratroopers; the headphone jack guys https://t.co/Oo1M1jT2Fa— laura olin (@lauraolin) September 7, 2016
From the company who brought you this dumb shit pic.twitter.com/nkrRHB45y9— Martin van der Wolf (@Martin_Wolf) September 7, 2016
courage pic.twitter.com/5R97PubTNR— Karl Franks (@karlfranks) September 7, 2016
It would take a lot of courage to put U2 up there now. Just saying.— Paul Thurrott (@thurrott) September 7, 2016
COURAGE pic.twitter.com/tUyIqRElzq— Jason Long (@jasonlong) September 7, 2016
"Why did we conspire to raise the price of ebooks? Well, let me start with one word: courage."— Colin Lecher (@colinlecher) September 7, 2016
Some might call it a blunder. Others could say Schiller's comments are representative of the trademark Apple arrogance, indicative of a company culture in which doing what's logical and consumer-friendly is often conflated with doing what Apple executives think is best for its own product lines and for the industry, standards be damned.
Of course, Apple has often been correct in its decisions to leave beyond tired technology (see optical disc drive and flash support). The company may prove right again in its bid to popularize wireless headphones and push the industry toward a more up-to-date connector. We won't know for quite some time.
But we do know what'll take real courage going forward — not being a model and wearing these things in public: