Apple has been called various things – a design oriented company, an innovation hub, a product firm, a services firm, and so on. What they also are is a Marketing firm.
It was primarily Steve Jobs who understood the core mantra that when you create a new product, not always can the consumers imagine it or the need for it until it is marketed and displayed to them. From this unique perspective, marketers and product developers must understand how to meet consumer needs even before they have articulated them.
And it was not always that Apple was the first to develop the product to fulfill a particular consumer need. What they do repeatedly, and they are very good at this, is to perfect the product to fulfill the customer needs and go above it and offer a more comprehensive product that what other competitors have already been offering. And package it with a branding strategy that ensures the customer ignores the fact that Apple really wasn’t the first to offer that product.
But once in a while they also push for certain design and product decisions that goes against what is available in the market. They did it with the closed memory (no SD/micro-SD slot) a few years ago; the market initially criticized this, but later accepted it as a norm. There are several other examples, and not all of them have been successful.
Removing the 3.5mm jack is a similar decision. And it’s a brilliant decision. Don’t agree? Let me explain.
Wireless / bluetooth head-phones and ear-phones are slowly becoming the norm as prices keep falling and the wide array of branded products and cheap Chinese options are flooding the market. Most of these have decent battery life that range from a few hours to almost a day’s usage.
But what I have failed to see in the market are completely wireless ear-phones that have separate left and right pods. And that is the brilliance of Apple’s AirPods.
Will they sell? I doubt it. But the way has been set and will be followed by others. Expect a lot of future android phones to come out without a 3.5mm jack. Also expect a lot of branded and Chinese (completely) wireless in-ear pods similar to Apple’s AirPods; at different price points.
And if you are someone like me, who can’t move around without carrying a headset/earphones, you will eventually shift to a wireless option eventually.That is the brilliance of the iPhone 7 release.
Edit: This video by JerryRigEverything raises very valid points on why Apple discarded the 3.5mm jack. Have a look at the video – it literally throws my earlier view right out of the window!