Apple should keep Lightning for now, but USB-A has to die

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 56
    Newsflash: Apple will never go to USB-C on iPhones for size alone. That’s why lightning is here to stay. USB-C will take over for USB-A because it is awesome in every way, especially power and reversibility. Eventually the weaker USB-C standards will drop off and thunderbolt will be the only option. I only buy Apple cables and they last a long time.
    edited November 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 42 of 56
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,413member
    MplsP said:
    mac_128 said:
    MplsP said:
    rossggg said:
    Let's not pretend that there aren't USB-A charging outlets in facilities all over the world.  If we went to USB-C to lightning then we would still have to keep a USB-A to lightning cable handy to top off our lightning-based devices in cafes/airports/etc.  Then we are just going to have an extra cable to travel with and that doesn't make much sense over what we do now.  It makes more sense to either just replace the lightning port with USB-C so one pair of USB-A to USB-C and USB-C to USB-C cables can be used to charge any of our devices, or to wait for a wireless power standard that can truly replace charging cables entirely.
    This. USB A has become a standard. No matter how much Apple wants to deny it it is and will be the standard for a while. My kitchen has a USB A outlet in the wall. My 2017 car has 2 USB A outlets. At the airport, there were USB A charging outlets. The emergency battery packs sold in the airport vending machine have USB A outlets. On the plane, there were USB A outlets. In the rental car - USB A outlets. At the Hotel, USB A outlets. 

    Yes, I can get an adapter. I have one for my MacBook Pro because all it has is the damned USB C ports that aren't compatible with any accessory older than 6 months old, including every currently produced iPhone. Nor is it compatible with my company-issued security key. My question is why should we get an adapter so we can use it 90+% of the time instead of having a cable that just works without an adapter. And by the way, take a tour over to the Apple Store and look at the reviews for USB C adapters. The majority of them have 2 star reviews because they don't work. Even the lowly USB A - USB C adapter made by apple got panned because USB A plugs kept getting stuck in it. 

    I had a MacBook Air had the MagSafe connector which ran circles around USB C IME. It was quicker and easier to connect. It was reversible. It had a charging light so you could tell if it was charging or complete without even opening the device and it saved my ass several times when the dog or kids tripped over the cord. The only benefit of the USB C is I can plug it in on either side of the computer - something I still don't know that I need.

    I agree with the other posters - USB C is a mess. with USB A, you knew what you had. With USB C - you have no idea. You may have a charging cable. You may have a data cable. You may have both. you may have a thunderbolt cable. If you get a hub, it may allow for data, it may not. Ditto with charging. Even if it allows for data, it might not be thunderbolt. 
    Just because USB-A is bordering on ubiquity in installation does not mean the industry shouldn't push it to a better standard. USB-C seems in many respects a much better port for charging purposes. And it's not like there haven't been wholesale changes in connector standards before -- two-prong outlets to three-prong, four-pin phone connectors to modular, CAT-3 to Cat-5, and so on. I'll give you that USB-A is a darn near universal standard compared to the international electrical and phone variations, but the sooner the transition starts, the better. 

    More than likely this will start to change only after wireless charging become a common feature on the devices we currently need to plug into USB-A ports. Then it likely won't matter quite so much.
    USB C has 4 advantages that I can tell:
    1. reversibility
    2. Higher power capability 
    3. higher speed
    4. the ability to combine with thunderbolt 

    Number 4 is in some ways a liability because it creates confusion, making it more difficult to use. In the vast majority of cases, the speed and thunderbolt capability are completely unnecessary; for many/most purposes, USB 3 via a USB A connector was more than adequate. Likewise, there are the added power capacity of USB C is rarely needed as well. Not only that, not all cables are spec'd to meet this capability, adding additional confusion. The point in all this is the fact that as you said, we have a near universal standard with USB A and there are very few cases where it doesn't meet the needs. As such, there is no real benefit or driving force to change the standard. 
    All fair arguments, however, USB-C is a much smaller, more conservative design, which doesn’t rely on correct orientation. From a user standpoint it’s a considerable improvement over USB-A, and would make a huge difference when plugging something into a USB port on an outlet under a table or behind a couch. And it’s going to look better and take up less room in any device or panel in which it’s installed. The unfortunate reality is that economics will slow down the adoption of a better way, but eventually a truly beneficial improvement will overtake the former standard. My guess is designers and customers both will eventually pony up for the upgrades.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 43 of 56
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    ascii said:
    I think we should focus on getting rid of analog ports (the headphone jack being the only remaining one) and going all digital.
    I'm curious why you want the headphone jack removed? What advantage do you perceive from that?

    Headphones are analog. They have transducers in them. At some point before the speaker, the signal MUST be converted to analog and amplified.

    The phone or tablet already has a digital-to-analog converter and an amplifier. Removing the headphone jack doesn't mean they can be removed too, because they're required for the speaker(s) on the device itself. By removing the headphone jack, those parts of the chain have to be duplicated in the form of a dongle hanging inelegantly on the outside of the device, instead of just using the parts that already exist, tucked neatly inside the device.

    On devices with only one "digital" port like a phone or tablet, removing the headphone jack means that any wired audio connection ties up the port so it can't be used for anything else. That complicates some really common uses cases, like using the device in the car. With only a Lightning port on the phone I can either charge or listen to it, not both, unless I add a dongle that does nothing more than duplicate parts that are already inside the phone!

    None of this is insurmountable. Adapters and wireless alternatives exist. I just don't see how they offer any ADVANTAGE. They add cost, require charging additional devices, and are less convenient. How is this BETTER than just leaving the headphone jack where it is/was?
    Because with digital transmission you don't just have a raw signal being sent but can have an entire protocol defined. 

    The computers in the phone and speaker can talk to each other and describe each others capabilities, so that the phone knows how many speakers there and their configuration and what the best quality signal they can handle is. And there can be security, the phone can refuse to send audio information (such as phone call audio) to a speaker you have not explictly paired with. And once the transmission starts there can be error correction and retransmission, errors are very easy to detect in digital data. There could also be digital compression to a higher quality signal than could otherwise we sent over a thin wire. 

    Yes, a signal must ultimately be converted to analog to be heard, but digital transmission is so much more powerful/flexible than a raw analog signal that this conversion should be pushed as far downstream as possible. Ideally right at the speaker, but at least after any kind of transmission through wires or air.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 44 of 56
    ascii said:
    Because with digital transmission you don't just have a raw signal being sent but can have an entire protocol defined.
    I don't disagree with most of what you wrote, and applaud both you taking the time to explain and your visionary view of how things could be.

    That said, some potential benefits are outweighed by practical realities. I'd like to address some of those, partly just to play Devil's Advocate, but also to illustrate how trying to make something better can actually make it worse.

    ascii said:
    The computers in the phone and speaker can talk to each other and describe each others capabilities, so that the phone knows how many speakers there and their configuration and what the best quality signal they can handle is.
    That's true, but can you think of any examples of how auto-configured multichannel playback would benefit a user holding an iPad? Are you going to watch a Dolby Atmos movie on an iPad? Does the potential for inter-device operability outweigh the benefits and convenience of a quick and easy analog audio connection?

    ascii said:
    [...] once the transmission starts there can be error correction and retransmission, errors are very easy to detect in digital data.
    1. I'm not convinced that digital offers enough additional resistance to transmission errors over analog to make it universally preferred. If it were as bulletproof as pundits claim, I wouldn't have skips, pops, or bursts of digital noise in some of the songs I've ripped from CD. It doesn't take much to break cross-checking.

    2. Real-time error correction requires buffering, and therefore throughput delay (or what is commonly mislabelled "latency"). Unless the audio output somehow communicates that delay time to the video system, and the video system is capable of compensating for that delay, audio and video will go out of sync. There may also be ramifications for real-time audio production, like in the cases of iPhones or iPads being used as instruments or personal monitor mixers for performers.

    ascii said:
    There could also be digital compression to a higher quality signal than could otherwise we sent over a thin wire.
    What level of detail can not be accurately transmitted over two or three feet of wire? The sound of atoms banging into each other? Ultrasonics? Is it worth trading the benefits of the headphone jack for the ability to transmit sounds no one can hear? Even the crappiest wire on the planet exceeds the capability of the best transducers.

    ascii said:
    Yes, a signal must ultimately be converted to analog to be heard, but digital transmission is so much more powerful/flexible than a raw analog signal that this conversion should be pushed as far downstream as possible. Ideally right at the speaker, but at least after any kind of transmission through wires or air.
    No argument that what you describe is theoretically superior. The question for me is whether the ACTUAL BENEFITS outweigh the inconvenience, cost, and complication imposed by that approach. There are many, many, many more cases of a headphone jack being not only better-than-adequate but also much more cost-effective and convenient than there are examples of how the user will genuinely benefit from moving digital conversion and amplification out of the iDevice. And, more specifically, the Apple-supplied dongle doesn't achieve those objectives anyway. And it adds another layer of power consumption.
    baconstangwilliamlondon
  • Reply 45 of 56
    ascii said:
    I think we should focus on getting rid of analog ports (the headphone jack being the only remaining one) and going all digital.
    I'm curious why you want the headphone jack removed? What advantage do you perceive from that?

    Headphones are analog. They have transducers in them. At some point before the speaker, the signal MUST be converted to analog and amplified.

    The phone or tablet already has a digital-to-analog converter and an amplifier. Removing the headphone jack doesn't mean they can be removed too, because they're required for the speaker(s) on the device itself. By removing the headphone jack, those parts of the chain have to be duplicated in the form of a dongle hanging inelegantly on the outside of the device, instead of just using the parts that already exist, tucked neatly inside the device.

    On devices with only one "digital" port like a phone or tablet, removing the headphone jack means that any wired audio connection ties up the port so it can't be used for anything else. That complicates some really common uses cases, like using the device in the car. With only a Lightning port on the phone I can either charge or listen to it, not both, unless I add a dongle that does nothing more than duplicate parts that are already inside the phone!

    None of this is insurmountable. Adapters and wireless alternatives exist. I just don't see how they offer any ADVANTAGE. They add cost, require charging additional devices, and are less convenient. How is this BETTER than just leaving the headphone jack where it is/was?
    Duplication is what bugs you? What about duplicate holes in my iPhone? One (lightning) that does pretty much everything and the other (headphone jack) that does only one thing.

    In your explanation of the supposed requirement for dongles to replace the functionality of the missing headphone jack you conveniently omit the fact that many of us have made the jump to airPods or other Bluetooth headphones. I have. Why should I have to have an extra hole cut into the bottom of my phone because you are stuck in the past with a dwindling band of other complainers? I say, bring on the future. I’m fact, let’s also lose the Lightning jack as soon as it’s feasible. I’d love the iPhone to be stripped down to the simplest, most waterproof & structurally uncompromised form possible. 

    Leave the extra ports for ipads & macs!
    williamlondon
  • Reply 46 of 56
    polymnia said:
    ascii said:
    I think we should focus on getting rid of analog ports (the headphone jack being the only remaining one) and going all digital.
    I'm curious why you want the headphone jack removed? What advantage do you perceive from that?

    Headphones are analog. They have transducers in them. At some point before the speaker, the signal MUST be converted to analog and amplified.

    The phone or tablet already has a digital-to-analog converter and an amplifier. Removing the headphone jack doesn't mean they can be removed too, because they're required for the speaker(s) on the device itself. By removing the headphone jack, those parts of the chain have to be duplicated in the form of a dongle hanging inelegantly on the outside of the device, instead of just using the parts that already exist, tucked neatly inside the device.

    On devices with only one "digital" port like a phone or tablet, removing the headphone jack means that any wired audio connection ties up the port so it can't be used for anything else. That complicates some really common uses cases, like using the device in the car. With only a Lightning port on the phone I can either charge or listen to it, not both, unless I add a dongle that does nothing more than duplicate parts that are already inside the phone!

    None of this is insurmountable. Adapters and wireless alternatives exist. I just don't see how they offer any ADVANTAGE. They add cost, require charging additional devices, and are less convenient. How is this BETTER than just leaving the headphone jack where it is/was?
    Duplication is what bugs you? What about duplicate holes in my iPhone? One (lightning) that does pretty much everything and the other (headphone jack) that does only one thing.

    In your explanation of the supposed requirement for dongles to replace the functionality of the missing headphone jack you conveniently omit the fact that many of us have made the jump to airPods or other Bluetooth headphones. I have. Why should I have to have an extra hole cut into the bottom of my phone because you are stuck in the past with a dwindling band of other complainers? I say, bring on the future. I’m fact, let’s also lose the Lightning jack as soon as it’s feasible. I’d love the iPhone to be stripped down to the simplest, most waterproof & structurally uncompromised form possible. 

    Leave the extra ports for ipads & macs!
    I have answers to some of your questions, but it seems you're not really interested in having a respectful discussion so much as wanting to demonstrate your advanced state of tech evolution by hurling shade.

    Since the only one who gets anything out of that is you, I'm going to politely excuse myself. You carry on. Just remember to put the Kleenex box back where you found it when you're done.
    baconstangwilliamlondonroundaboutnowmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 47 of 56
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    ascii said:
    Because with digital transmission you don't just have a raw signal being sent but can have an entire protocol defined.
    I don't disagree with most of what you wrote, and applaud both you taking the time to explain and your visionary view of how things could be.

    It's not really a visionary view, its just how other digital ports already work, but it probably came across a bit too advocate-like.

    lorin schultz said:
    That's true, but can you think of any examples of how auto-configured multichannel playback would benefit a user holding an iPad? Are you going to watch a Dolby Atmos movie on an iPad? Does the potential for inter-device operability outweigh the benefits and convenience of a quick and easy analog audio connection?
    It's a false alternative though, because a digital connection can be both powerful and easy to use. Powerful because auto-negotition allows the iPad to discover the best output available to it, and easy to use because auto-negotiaton means the user doesn't have to configure connection parameters at each end.

    Of course in the real world its not always like that because different companies define different standards and then refuse to interoperate with each other, and that's where I think you analog argument is strongest. But that situation is not the fault of digital technology per se, and therefore it doesn't automatically follow that analog is the answer. It does follow that *some* kind of fallback mode is needed, however that could be a digitial fallback mode, such as an open source coded (MP3?) that all devices must support by legislation, meaning you know when it plug it in it will always work no matter what, even if only at the fallback level (and hopefully better than that).

    And regarding analog connectors, are they really so simple and issue free? Don't you sometimes have a problem with low volume/signal level, or electrical interference from other devices? A couple of times I have bought laptops and when the drive spins up there's noise over the headphones and I've thought, "Oh no, I'm stuck with this for years now."

    1. I'm not convinced that digital offers enough additional resistance to transmission errors over analog to make it universally preferred. If it were as bulletproof as pundits claim, I wouldn't have skips, pops, or bursts of digital noise in some of the songs I've ripped from CD. It doesn't take much to break cross-checking.

    2. Real-time error correction requires buffering, and therefore throughput delay (or what is commonly mislabelled "latency"). Unless the audio output somehow communicates that delay time to the video system, and the video system is capable of compensating for that delay, audio and video will go out of sync. There may also be ramifications for real-time audio production, like in the cases of iPhones or iPads being used as instruments or personal monitor mixers for performers.

    1. CD was invented in 1982 though and has very basic error correction, a lot of rippers even ignore the error correction bits by default. In the modern age with all the experience we have from streaming we can do much better.

    2. Buffering is one way to do it but not the only way, redundancy is another, i.e. if your cable has more bandwidth than you need (as you said below), why not just transmit 5 copies of the data at all times, in parallel. When you have a proper protocol defined you have that flexibility.


    What level of detail can not be accurately transmitted over two or three feet of wire? The sound of atoms banging into each other? Ultrasonics? Is it worth trading the benefits of the headphone jack for the ability to transmit sounds no one can hear? Even the crappiest wire on the planet exceeds the capability of the best transducers.

    Ok, I guess compression is one thing you might not need, but it was just one example of flexibility really.

    No argument that what you describe is theoretically superior. The question for me is whether the ACTUAL BENEFITS outweigh the inconvenience, cost, and complication imposed by that approach. There are many, many, many more cases of a headphone jack being not only better-than-adequate but also much more cost-effective and convenient than there are examples of how the user will genuinely benefit from moving digital conversion and amplification out of the iDevice. And, more specifically, the Apple-supplied dongle doesn't achieve those objectives anyway. And it adds another layer of power consumption.
    I'm not someone who likes complicated designs, like you (I suspect) I think simple/just-works is better. I just think that "digital everywhere" makes for a simpler world overall even if there's some short term pain. And I'm not saying existing digital standards are perfect and could not do with some intelligent fallback modes or other changes.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 48 of 56
    polymnia said:
    ascii said:
    I think we should focus on getting rid of analog ports (the headphone jack being the only remaining one) and going all digital.
    I'm curious why you want the headphone jack removed? What advantage do you perceive from that?

    Headphones are analog. They have transducers in them. At some point before the speaker, the signal MUST be converted to analog and amplified.

    The phone or tablet already has a digital-to-analog converter and an amplifier. Removing the headphone jack doesn't mean they can be removed too, because they're required for the speaker(s) on the device itself. By removing the headphone jack, those parts of the chain have to be duplicated in the form of a dongle hanging inelegantly on the outside of the device, instead of just using the parts that already exist, tucked neatly inside the device.

    On devices with only one "digital" port like a phone or tablet, removing the headphone jack means that any wired audio connection ties up the port so it can't be used for anything else. That complicates some really common uses cases, like using the device in the car. With only a Lightning port on the phone I can either charge or listen to it, not both, unless I add a dongle that does nothing more than duplicate parts that are already inside the phone!

    None of this is insurmountable. Adapters and wireless alternatives exist. I just don't see how they offer any ADVANTAGE. They add cost, require charging additional devices, and are less convenient. How is this BETTER than just leaving the headphone jack where it is/was?
    Duplication is what bugs you? What about duplicate holes in my iPhone? One (lightning) that does pretty much everything and the other (headphone jack) that does only one thing.

    In your explanation of the supposed requirement for dongles to replace the functionality of the missing headphone jack you conveniently omit the fact that many of us have made the jump to airPods or other Bluetooth headphones. I have. Why should I have to have an extra hole cut into the bottom of my phone because you are stuck in the past with a dwindling band of other complainers? I say, bring on the future. I’m fact, let’s also lose the Lightning jack as soon as it’s feasible. I’d love the iPhone to be stripped down to the simplest, most waterproof & structurally uncompromised form possible. 

    Leave the extra ports for ipads & macs!
    I have answers to some of your questions, but it seems you're not really interested in having a respectful discussion so much as wanting to demonstrate your advanced state of tech evolution by hurling shade.

    Since the only one who gets anything out of that is you, I'm going to politely excuse myself. You carry on. Just remember to put the Kleenex box back where you found it when you're done.
    Hurling shade? The shadiest thing I did was point out an alternative resolution to your own for the problem you’ve identified. If I’ve done something else hurtful, could you be more specific about how I’ve disrespected you?

    Anyway, I’m sorry, please accept my apology. 

    I am interested in the answered you elude to, though I cMt guarantee you will change my mind. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 49 of 56
    ascii said:
    ascii said:
    Because with digital transmission you don't just have a raw signal being sent but can have an entire protocol defined.
    I don't disagree with most of what you wrote, and applaud both you taking the time to explain and your visionary view of how things could be.

    It's not really a visionary view, its just how other digital ports already work, but it probably came across a bit too advocate-like.

    lorin schultz said:
    That's true, but can you think of any examples of how auto-configured multichannel playback would benefit a user holding an iPad? Are you going to watch a Dolby Atmos movie on an iPad? Does the potential for inter-device operability outweigh the benefits and convenience of a quick and easy analog audio connection?
    It's a false alternative though, because a digital connection can be both powerful and easy to use. Powerful because auto-negotition allows the iPad to discover the best output available to it, and easy to use because auto-negotiaton means the user doesn't have to configure connection parameters at each end.

    Of course in the real world its not always like that because different companies define different standards and then refuse to interoperate with each other, and that's where I think you analog argument is strongest. But that situation is not the fault of digital technology per se, and therefore it doesn't automatically follow that analog is the answer. It does follow that *some* kind of fallback mode is needed, however that could be a digitial fallback mode, such as an open source coded (MP3?) that all devices must support by legislation, meaning you know when it plug it in it will always work no matter what, even if only at the fallback level (and hopefully better than that).

    And regarding analog connectors, are they really so simple and issue free? Don't you sometimes have a problem with low volume/signal level, or electrical interference from other devices? A couple of times I have bought laptops and when the drive spins up there's noise over the headphones and I've thought, "Oh no, I'm stuck with this for years now."

    1. I'm not convinced that digital offers enough additional resistance to transmission errors over analog to make it universally preferred. If it were as bulletproof as pundits claim, I wouldn't have skips, pops, or bursts of digital noise in some of the songs I've ripped from CD. It doesn't take much to break cross-checking.

    2. Real-time error correction requires buffering, and therefore throughput delay (or what is commonly mislabelled "latency"). Unless the audio output somehow communicates that delay time to the video system, and the video system is capable of compensating for that delay, audio and video will go out of sync. There may also be ramifications for real-time audio production, like in the cases of iPhones or iPads being used as instruments or personal monitor mixers for performers.

    1. CD was invented in 1982 though and has very basic error correction, a lot of rippers even ignore the error correction bits by default. In the modern age with all the experience we have from streaming we can do much better.

    2. Buffering is one way to do it but not the only way, redundancy is another, i.e. if your cable has more bandwidth than you need (as you said below), why not just transmit 5 copies of the data at all times, in parallel. When you have a proper protocol defined you have that flexibility.


    What level of detail can not be accurately transmitted over two or three feet of wire? The sound of atoms banging into each other? Ultrasonics? Is it worth trading the benefits of the headphone jack for the ability to transmit sounds no one can hear? Even the crappiest wire on the planet exceeds the capability of the best transducers.

    Ok, I guess compression is one thing you might not need, but it was just one example of flexibility really.

    No argument that what you describe is theoretically superior. The question for me is whether the ACTUAL BENEFITS outweigh the inconvenience, cost, and complication imposed by that approach. There are many, many, many more cases of a headphone jack being not only better-than-adequate but also much more cost-effective and convenient than there are examples of how the user will genuinely benefit from moving digital conversion and amplification out of the iDevice. And, more specifically, the Apple-supplied dongle doesn't achieve those objectives anyway. And it adds another layer of power consumption.
    I'm not someone who likes complicated designs, like you (I suspect) I think simple/just-works is better. I just think that "digital everywhere" makes for a simpler world overall even if there's some short term pain. And I'm not saying existing digital standards are perfect and could not do with some intelligent fallback modes or other changes.
    That post should be a "sticky" at the top of the forum for anyone who thinks the headphone jack needs to stay. We may not all ever completely agree on which deficiencies are worth suffering and which aren't, because that's just an issue of personal preference, but yours has been the most well thought out, lucidly explained, and non-confrontational discussion on the matter I've ever encountered. Bravo!
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 50 of 56
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    ascii said:
    ascii said:
    Because with digital transmission you don't just have a raw signal being sent but can have an entire protocol defined.
    I don't disagree with most of what you wrote, and applaud both you taking the time to explain and your visionary view of how things could be.

    It's not really a visionary view, its just how other digital ports already work, but it probably came across a bit too advocate-like.

    lorin schultz said:
    That's true, but can you think of any examples of how auto-configured multichannel playback would benefit a user holding an iPad? Are you going to watch a Dolby Atmos movie on an iPad? Does the potential for inter-device operability outweigh the benefits and convenience of a quick and easy analog audio connection?
    It's a false alternative though, because a digital connection can be both powerful and easy to use. Powerful because auto-negotition allows the iPad to discover the best output available to it, and easy to use because auto-negotiaton means the user doesn't have to configure connection parameters at each end.

    Of course in the real world its not always like that because different companies define different standards and then refuse to interoperate with each other, and that's where I think you analog argument is strongest. But that situation is not the fault of digital technology per se, and therefore it doesn't automatically follow that analog is the answer. It does follow that *some* kind of fallback mode is needed, however that could be a digitial fallback mode, such as an open source coded (MP3?) that all devices must support by legislation, meaning you know when it plug it in it will always work no matter what, even if only at the fallback level (and hopefully better than that).

    And regarding analog connectors, are they really so simple and issue free? Don't you sometimes have a problem with low volume/signal level, or electrical interference from other devices? A couple of times I have bought laptops and when the drive spins up there's noise over the headphones and I've thought, "Oh no, I'm stuck with this for years now."

    1. I'm not convinced that digital offers enough additional resistance to transmission errors over analog to make it universally preferred. If it were as bulletproof as pundits claim, I wouldn't have skips, pops, or bursts of digital noise in some of the songs I've ripped from CD. It doesn't take much to break cross-checking.

    2. Real-time error correction requires buffering, and therefore throughput delay (or what is commonly mislabelled "latency"). Unless the audio output somehow communicates that delay time to the video system, and the video system is capable of compensating for that delay, audio and video will go out of sync. There may also be ramifications for real-time audio production, like in the cases of iPhones or iPads being used as instruments or personal monitor mixers for performers.

    1. CD was invented in 1982 though and has very basic error correction, a lot of rippers even ignore the error correction bits by default. In the modern age with all the experience we have from streaming we can do much better.

    2. Buffering is one way to do it but not the only way, redundancy is another, i.e. if your cable has more bandwidth than you need (as you said below), why not just transmit 5 copies of the data at all times, in parallel. When you have a proper protocol defined you have that flexibility.


    What level of detail can not be accurately transmitted over two or three feet of wire? The sound of atoms banging into each other? Ultrasonics? Is it worth trading the benefits of the headphone jack for the ability to transmit sounds no one can hear? Even the crappiest wire on the planet exceeds the capability of the best transducers.

    Ok, I guess compression is one thing you might not need, but it was just one example of flexibility really.

    No argument that what you describe is theoretically superior. The question for me is whether the ACTUAL BENEFITS outweigh the inconvenience, cost, and complication imposed by that approach. There are many, many, many more cases of a headphone jack being not only better-than-adequate but also much more cost-effective and convenient than there are examples of how the user will genuinely benefit from moving digital conversion and amplification out of the iDevice. And, more specifically, the Apple-supplied dongle doesn't achieve those objectives anyway. And it adds another layer of power consumption.
    I'm not someone who likes complicated designs, like you (I suspect) I think simple/just-works is better. I just think that "digital everywhere" makes for a simpler world overall even if there's some short term pain. And I'm not saying existing digital standards are perfect and could not do with some intelligent fallback modes or other changes.
    That post should be a "sticky" at the top of the forum for anyone who thinks the headphone jack needs to stay. We may not all ever completely agree on which deficiencies are worth suffering and which aren't, because that's just an issue of personal preference, but yours has been the most well thought out, lucidly explained, and non-confrontational discussion on the matter I've ever encountered. Bravo!
    Cheers! Yes, both parties argued their points well.
  • Reply 51 of 56
    polymnia said:
    Hurling shade? The shadiest thing I did was point out an alternative resolution to your own for the problem you’ve identified. If I’ve done something else hurtful, could you be more specific about how I’ve disrespected you?
    I'm not hurt, I just didn't think you were actually interested in my position, since you seemed to skip over most of what I already wrote.

    You implied I was being disingenuous in my position by saying I "conveniently omit" wireless alternatives. You called me a "complainer" and said I'm "stuck in the past." You dismissed my observations as invalid on the basis of only one of the three points I raised. You framed my remarks as being oblivious to the obvious alternatives, even though I specifically addressed them in the last paragraph.

    polymnia said:
    Anyway, I’m sorry, please accept my apology.
    Perhaps I read a tone you didn't intend. No hard feelings?

    polymnia said:
    I am interested in the answered you elude to, though I cMt guarantee you will change my mind. 
    I addressed most of it, including the limitations of wireless as an alternative, in my exchange with ascii so you've already read it.

    The only part left that's specific to our discussion is your desire to see a completely port-free iPhone. The advantages you list are waterproofing and structural integrity. Both are obviously desirable, but I question how much the existence of a hole or two actually compromises those ideals? Openings in the chassis are required to let sound in and out. If you have those anyway, how much benefit is there to removing a rubber-dammed port? Isn't it a less likely point of ingress than a speaker opening? And does a port (or even two) make enough difference to the ruggedness of the chassis to make it worth the trade-off? I'm not saying it would have zero effect, but that the difference may be small enough that the disadvantages imposed by removing ports altogether may outweigh the relatively small gain in structural integrity.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 52 of 56
    Hey @polymnia, I've been thinking some more about your remarks in the few minutes since my last reply, and I think there might be more to the issue of waterproofing than I originally thought.

    I said since ports are sealed from behind they're not really a major concern, and that may be true. However I also said that you can't make it waterproof anyway, because of the speaker and mic holes. Now that I think about, at least the speakers could be fine (and maybe already are, I don't know).

    A speaker is just a piston driven by an electric motor. If the speaker driver is made of waterproof material (which it probably already is) and it's sealed along the edge where it opens out to the world so that water can't get behind it into the motor and other electronics (which it may already be), then it wouldn't matter if water got in -- it would just puddle in a waterproof basin (the speaker cone) until it evaporated.
     It would sound like crap while wet, but would recover just fine once dry.

    I don't know about microphones though. They use diaphragms that are not nearly as robust as a speaker cone, and likely use a charged element because of the high sensitivity requirements. I have no idea how manufacturers address that when designing for water resistance.
    williamlondonSoli
  • Reply 53 of 56
    Hey @polymnia, I've been thinking some more about your remarks in the few minutes since my last reply, and I think there might be more to the issue of waterproofing than I originally thought.

    I said since ports are sealed from behind they're not really a major concern, and that may be true. However I also said that you can't make it waterproof anyway, because of the speaker and mic holes. Now that I think about, at least the speakers could be fine (and maybe already are, I don't know).

    A speaker is just a piston driven by an electric motor. If the speaker driver is made of waterproof material (which it probably already is) and it's sealed along the edge where it opens out to the world so that water can't get behind it into the motor and other electronics (which it may already be), then it wouldn't matter if water got in -- it would just puddle in a waterproof basin (the speaker cone) until it evaporated. It would sound like crap while wet, but would recover just fine once dry.

    I don't know about microphones though. They use diaphragms that are not nearly as robust as a speaker cone, and likely use a charged element because of the high sensitivity requirements. I have no idea how manufacturers address that when designing for water resistance.
    Didn’t intend to my tone to be mocking, though I used some terms weren’t so well considered. Things get a little salty around here. That said, I don’t want to be part of the problem. I didn’t skip over your points to negate them, but having seen those points discussed extensively already, I chose to lay out my argument. 

    And you wont get any argument from me that keeping ports increases potential functionality. All the technical points you’ve made are likely accurate, though some of the discussion for a bit deeper than I could follow.

    im glad you’ve given some thought to the idea that there may be some real benefit to cutting fewer holes into the iPhone. It runs against to the argument you make about keeping ports because of the unique characteristics each port brings, and many people dismiss arguments that run counter to their thoughts. 

    I’m a pro user of all kinds of Apple gear, and I am generally an advocate for more functionality built-in. However, I’m sold on the idea that certain devices are designed intentionally with less technical capability in the interest of simplicity. For my uses, I’m happy to sacrifice ports on the iPhone.

    I’ll go a little further, at the risk of antagonizing you, and suggest many average users don’t think so much about the ideal port for particular purposes and just use devices the way they are until they break. An iPhone with fewer ports will likely be more durable. And even though I love my Ethernet plugs, TB3, Martin Logan loudspeakers, big arrays of hard drives, and many other wired tech devices, I’ve come around to the idea that in certain use cases simple (wireless) is a better design.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 54 of 56
    polymnia said:
    I’ll go a little further, at the risk of antagonizing you
    So now you're saying I'm oversensitive?!

    LOL! Just kidding around. Maybe I was being too thin-skinned earlier. We should be good now, though -- I put on my big boy pants.

    polymnia said:
    I’ve come around to the idea that in certain use cases simple (wireless) is a better design.
    You're probably right. I have an ethernet cable sitting only a few feet away from where I use my laptop most, but if the transfer is less than double-digit GB I don't bother with it. Since that behaviour is actually counter-productive it might be a really sad manifestation of human laziness reaching absurd levels, but whatever the reason, the simplicity does seem to appeal to users.

    I also have wireless cans that I use on the train. They'e fine for that and most people would be perfectly satisfied. The thing is, wireless listening is much more expensive, adds another device to the charging regime, and limits my choices (I can no longer grab the same cans I use for location work or at the computer and just plug them into my phone, and switching the pairing from one device to another takes way longer and is much more hassle than just pulling a wired plug, even with my W1-equipped headphones). None of that is the end of the world, but I question why most people would bother? What's the payoff? In what applications are that few feet of wire an obstacle? Maybe at the gym, but other than that...

    When I asked "Why not just leave the headphone jack?" you asked me to consider the opposite: Why should you be stuck with an unused hole in your phone? To me, one reason is because it still has benefit for enough other people to warrant its existence while its presence has no adverse affect on your experience, or at least very little.
    edited November 2018 Soliwilliamlondon
  • Reply 55 of 56
    polymnia said:
    I’ll go a little further, at the risk of antagonizing you
    So now you're saying I'm oversensitive?!

    LOL! Just kidding around. Maybe I was being too thin-skinned earlier. We should be good now, though -- I put on my big boy pants.

    polymnia said:
    I’ve come around to the idea that in certain use cases simple (wireless) is a better design.
    You're probably right. I have an ethernet cable sitting only a few feet away from where I use my laptop most, but if the transfer is less than double-digit GB I don't bother with it. Since that behaviour is actually counter-productive it might be a really sad manifestation of human laziness reaching absurd levels, but whatever the reason, the simplicity does seem to appeal to users.

    I also have wireless cans that I use on the train. They'e fine for that and most people would be perfectly satisfied. The thing is, wireless listening is much more expensive, adds another device to the charging regime, and limits my choices (I can no longer grab the same cans I use for location work or at the computer and just plug them into my phone, and switching the pairing from one device to another takes way longer and is much more hassle than just pulling a wired plug, even with my W1-equipped headphones). None of that is the end of the world, but I question why most people would bother? What's the payoff? In what applications are that few feet of wire an obstacle? Maybe at the gym, but other than that...

    When I asked "Why not just leave the headphone jack?" you asked me to consider the opposite: Why should you be stuck with an unused hole in your phone? To me, one reason is because it still has benefit for enough other people to warrant its existence while its presence has no adverse affect on your experience, or at least very little.
    There are good arguments to be made both for and against. I suspect that as wireless becomes less exotic and is something Apple can include in the box with iPhones, we will get less pushback of the headphone port omission. Bluetooth will evolve. The original AirPods are almost as reliable as the wired earbuds they replace (that's my experience, anyway), give them until 2nd or 3rd Gen to get dialed in so tight that all but audiophiles and broadcasters/videographers will be completely satisfied with AirPods.

    A longer timeframe is probably on order if/when the Lightning/USB-C port is removed from the iPhone. Charging is the killer application that everyone uses the Lighting port for now. Until the vast majority of customers are completely comfortable with wireless charging, they have to keep the port. After that transition, who knows? I'd buy a phone with no data/charging port. I'd also love there to be an iPhone Pro option for those who really need wired capability for specific applications. I'm sympathetic to those needs even if they aren't my own needs.

    Regarding the human laziness idea regarding you neglecting your ethernet cable...I'd suggest you give yourself more credit. Humans suck at context switching. Getting into a flow state and staying there is important in many tasks. It's sometimes worth a sacrifice in speed to keep your mind in the zone, unless the delay is drastic enough to push you out of your flow state. I work in the creative field where raw performance is important, but keeping focused on the creative objective is paramount. Dispensing with distracting technical procedures, even though it might make my workflow less than optimal, is a choice that sometimes makes the most sense. An example that comes to mind is Lightroom on the iPad Pro. Definitely slower than the desktop version (though faster than many here would probably suspect) but the big benefit to me is I can work on an image around other people involved in the project, show them my progress and get feedback, even hand the iPad to them if they want to have a go at something. And I rarely connect my MacBook Pro via Ethernet, though my iMac is hardwired and likely always will be. As our technology outstrips our need for the incremental speedups it offers our existing workflows, real innovation will come from using new technology to change the workflow itself. The old faster horses versus inventing the automobile metaphor.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 56 of 56
    polymnia said:
    [...] Charging is the killer application that everyone uses the Lighting port for now. Until the vast majority of customers are completely comfortable with wireless charging, they have to keep the port. After that transition, who knows? I'd buy a phone with no data/charging port. I'd also love there to be an iPhone Pro option for those who really need wired capability for specific applications. I'm sympathetic to those needs even if they aren't my own needs.
    Wireless charging is one of those double-edged swords. On one hand it's obviously easier to just plop the device on a pad than to plug it in. On the other hand, the port is really handy for those times one needs to charge on the go. That would be pretty far down my list of things to lose sleep over, though.

    I'm actually less concerned about retaining the data port, but only because iPhones STILL -- in 2018 -- transfer over that wire at USB 2.0 speeds, so the port isn't very good in its existing form anyway. I don't care if the transfer is wired or wireless, just make it FASTER! Loading even just 10 or 20 GB of video is agonizingly slow.

    polymnia said:
    Regarding the human laziness idea regarding you neglecting your ethernet cable...I'd suggest you give yourself more credit. Humans suck at context switching. Getting into a flow state and staying there is important in many tasks. It's sometimes worth a sacrifice in speed to keep your mind in the zone, unless the delay is drastic enough to push you out of your flow state.
    Very interesting! That makes sense. Similar to how creatives describe interruptions in the middle of deep concentration as being "yanked out of the zone."
    williamlondon
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