Tech companies enjoy taking a dig at one another, especially when they’re launching ‘revolutionary’ products. Arch rivals Google and Apple are the epitome of the love-hate relationship in the industry. Recently, when the second generation of Pixel phones were introduced, there was an undeniable submission to the path charted by the iPhone maker last year.
Google launched its Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones along with a range of other hardware this year. But the quiet elimination of the 3.5mm headphone jack was truly resounding. It’s exactly what Apple did with its iPhone 7 lineup last year. Google was the first to make fun of it. In the promotional video for its first-generation Pixel phone, the company touted every feature to be “new” except for the presence of the 3.5mm headphone jack which it said was “satisfyingly not new”. In the video for the new Pixel 2, the company very slyly removes the focus of the consumer from the headphone jack bit and stresses on “do more”.
The reason Apple gave for the removal of the headphone jack, and a valid one back then, was that it aimed at making more room for other things on the device. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller justified the move saying, “Maintaining an ancient, single-purpose, analogue, big connector doesn’t make sense because that space is at a premium.” Cut to Google Pixel 2, which happened after the Samsung Galaxy S8, Note 8, iPhone 8, and the iPhone X, the reason of making way for ‘more screen’ is hard to buy. ALSO READ: Here’s why Apple is killing the 3.5mm audio jack on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Samsung, for instance, has been able to place both a regular headphone jack with a spilling, bezel-less display on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 phones. The pressure on phones to deliver quality output through bundled headphones has now been shifted to a secondary hardware such as an accessory, which puts into use its own hardware and software prowess to give quality output. For example, LG V30 which retains the standard port for audio but includes a Hi-Fi Quad DAC into the port itself for a better sound output from the same pair of headphones.
While it is natural for tech companies to poke fun at each other, it proves Google agrees with Apple’s thought behind eliminating the legacy port for cramming more features. By removing the headphone jack, the focus is now on interaction. The Pixel 2 phones include HTC’s customizable squeeze feature to launch the Google Assistant. What is also important to note here is that Google introduced a new pair of wireless earpods called Pixel Buds which are again a take on the Apple AirPods, however, these are capable of translating around 40 languages in real-time. ALSO READ: Google Pixel 2: Even if the newest flagship doesn’t succeed, Android is still winning
As technology companies focus more on making lives of consumers less ‘wired’, products such as charging mats, earplug-like audio accessories, and elimination of headphone jacks is inevitable. Apple for instance went back to glass and metal design for the new iPhones in order to ‘finally’ introduce wireless charging – something which Samsung has been offering since a very long time. Irrespective of whether the traditional ports survive or get life support from connectors, consumers are here to adapt, and perhaps, Google too should try not to be a snob and accept Apple was right. It ‘takes courage’, Google.