In April 2016, Apple announced its first ever reduction in iPhone sales. The company played down the decline suggesting it was in line with slowing smart phone sales around the world but the reality is that Android is becoming an unstopable force and consumers are getting bored with the iPhone.
So the launch of the iPhone 7 is really important for the Apple brand. I haven’t played with the iPhone 7 so I can’t say how it is but it needs to be interesting, exciting and desirable and that’s going to be tough to deliver.
What I do find interesting is related to the removal of the 3.5mm circular headphone jack on the left side of the bottom edge of the iPhone 6. Instead of traditional wired headphones the iPhone 7 will work with wireless EarPod headphones which don’t, I am now told, ship with the phone. According to Apple, this move is part of the plan for a wireless future and that makes sense although the rest of the ecosystem is still wired so that might be an issue in many situations you find yourself in.
Traditionally, when Apple makes such a move – remember when it redesigned the MacBook and MacBook Air computers a few years ago, the MagSafe charger got a refresh too which meant you couldn’t use your old charger with your new laptop. And every Mac user will complain about Mac adaptors for monitors, Ethernet cables and God knows what else – it doesn’t think about the consumer.
Well this time, the new iPhone ships with an adaptor that plugs into the Lightning port which is normally used in its chargers. This means you can still use your expensive wired headphones. But you’ll still have to fork out for a separate adaptor if you want to charge your phone while listening to music.
Apparently, the new lightning EarPod headphones offer a better quality sound than ‘wired’ versions which tend to sound a bit tinny. This is something to do with an inbuilt digital-to-analogue music converter (DAC) present in lightning connector headphones.
What this tells us is that Apple listens to its customers and that’s something a lot of brands need to do. It also tells us Apple values the voice of the customer and that is a major step in the right direction for a brand that hasn’t really needed to in the past. It’s a small but important step for Apple and shows that even the most valuable brand in the world must and is listening to its customers. Are you?