At its “Made By Google” event on Wednesday, the tech giant introduced several new gadgets, including an updated Pixel 2 ready to rival the latest iPhones. While the smartphones certainly have their fair share of differences, they have one notable similarity: Neither features the headphone jack.
In all honesty, it’s probably about time. The standard 3.5mm connector has been around since 1978, and it has long been considered a hindrance for smartphone engineers looking to make the most out of the tiny space available inside these devices.
This is an opportunity Google is really taking advantage of now that it has introduced the “Pixel Bud.” This A.I.-enabled alternative to the traditional headphone features controls that are built into the earbud for full use, even when your phone is in your pocket. Not to mention the fact it can also use Google Translate services to let users translate 40 languages in real-time.
But make no mistake: When Apple kicked off the cordless revolution by losing the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and replacing it with the very losable AirPods, people were pissed. Like, seriously pissed, and desperate enough to turn to an online petition. When their pleas went ignored, some were brave enough to experiment with extreme measures, like drilling holes into their $650 devices.
Apple did some of this controversy made it possible to use old-school headphones with the assistance of a special dongle. Google has actually gone a step further, providing a USB-C headphone adapter with every Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. That eases the transition, but it’s probably best for holdouts to make peace with the future.
With this huge, A.I.-powered leap forward, Google sets a new standard in how to kill off a beloved — or at least convenient — feature in a way that feels innovative rather than just opportunistic.
Besides, the headphone jack isn’t completely dead. Yes, Android has also been moving in this direction, but headphone jack die-hards can still find solace in Samsung’s latest models.