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More Than Just A Headphone Jack: Where Wireless Is Going

Posted by Flux on 

15 December 2016

What’s trending now:
The launch of the iPhone 7 saw the abandonment of the 3.5 mm standard headphone jack; a move that indicates Apple’s clear direction towards a truly wireless future where smarter and more reliable connections off of Bluetooth and other networks will see devices build on this foundation and feed back into Apple’s larger ecosystem.

The market has been quick to respond with great animosity towards the move, which has led many to question the move strategically.

Apple has addressed this through its AirPods, cord-free wireless headphones with an individual unit for each ear and a strong reliance on the ever-improving Siri utility described by many in the tech community as ‘computers for the ears’.

Samsung has released the Gear IconX a similar cordless product with a more robust focus on health with fitness tracking, heart-rate monitoring and step-counting capabilities built into the units as well as voice-command integration.

Why it’s important:
Manufacturers from the likes of Samsung are expected to drop the 3.5 mm standard jack from future devices beginning with next year’s Galaxy S8. Motorola has already released the Moto Z with no headphone jack and more modular capabilities.

More firms are expected to follow suit in order to gain more space in devices for additional tech as well as to strive towards thinner devices. This signals a move towards a more wireless future, implicating third-party platform and accessory makers who rely on the 3.5 mm standard as a means of connection.

This is a conundrum faced by the popular Square, a credit card payments processing accessory and POS software that connects to devices via the 3.5mm standard.
These platforms will need to rethink their entire product strategies going forward, with serious consideration paid to how their devices can incorporate Bluetooth and greater battery life whilst still be being affordable for SMEs and sole proprietors – a large stakeholder group for Square in particular.

Butterfly Effect:
As more firms begin to accept the standard and move forward towards a more wireless future accessory, makers will need to accommodate this and adjust their models and future product lines.

The likes of Beats, the popular headphone maker now owned by Apple, is soon to release its new line of wireless headphones incorporating the W1 chip (the same chip found in the AirPods).
A wireless future is a small piece of a bigger picture of smarter, more connected and AI powered devices working together to inform an entire more holistic and integrated user experience and ecosystem. This results in more wireless and voice commanded interaction with information, content and applications.

As the more connected our devices become, the more information and content they share with one another. Platforms, content providers, and applications will need to adapt to meet the needs of a user experience that focuses more on an ecosystem of devices and utilities working in synthesis rather than individual device-centric user experiences working out of synch with one another.

Pioneers:
Apple and Motorola seem to be the first to brave the new standard going forward on their smartphones.

In the home, Amazon’s Echo and Google’s recently announced Home device are seen as laying the foundation for a more connected and AI powered home; acting as hubs for devices to synchronize with. Apple TV and its focus on Siri are seen to still have much ground to cover, but the foundation has been laid for the bigger picture.

By: Jordan Major

Image credit: Business Insider

About Jordan

jordan-major-august-2014---web-res-10-1

Travel, in all its varied forms, is a concept that inspires and drives the ambitions of Jordan Major. From backpacking around Europe to exploring new professional territories his journey is one that knows no bounds. Having written for the likes of GQ and Between 10 and 5 this young creative sees this new chapter with Flux Trends as a way to speak to the present about the future in a meaningful way.

 

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