My rant about the iPhone 7

I only recently switched from my old Blackberry which I have been using since the 1970s.  It is true that the Blackberry was slow, was almost impossible to use apps, but had some neat elevated buttons.

My new phone (for about a year now) is the iPhone 6.  It has great apps and its usability is infinitely better than my old Blackberry… but I still miss the elevated buttons. 

One thing that I like about my iPhone 6 (and my old Blackberry) is that I could plug in my earphones.  And now I hear that the new iPhone 7 won’t even have an earphone jack (unless I use an adapter and plug it in through the charging port).

I realize that we now live in the 21st century and Bluetooth and other wireless protocols rule the world, but the new iPhone 7 will only have a small assortment of wireless earphones to choose from.

My area of consternation is that the range of wireless earphones are limited in their performance.  A Bluetooth enabled wireless earphone is simply a Bluetooth enabled wireless earphone.  But let me talk about my two favorite earphones- the ones I get my kids and friends for their birthdays or holiday season gift.

I’m not going to name names, but I use a nice sleek insert pair of earphones with a resonance in the 3000 Hz region that offsets the inherent loss of hearing the diffuse sound field due to an insertion loss.  That is, my favorite earphone has a 15 dB resonance at 3000 Hz; the net effect is a perfectly flat response at the eardrum.  This provides a truly “transparent” response as if I had nothing in between the mp3 and my ears.

I am skeptical whether any of the available wireless earphones have this type of response (and indeed most of the commercially available wired earphones also don’t have this type of response).

Another type of earphone is the one that I recommend to all of the grandmothers I see in my clinic.  Well, it’s not for them.  The number one question I am asked as elderly Mrs. Smith is walking out of my office is “should I buy my granddaughter a Walkman for Christmas?”  Of course I ignore the cute by archaic reference to the Walkman.

Photo courtesy of www.etymotic.com. These earphones have reduced input sensitivity so limit overload sounds while maintaining distortion free music.
Photo courtesy of Etymotic. These earphones have reduced input sensitivity so limit overload sounds while maintaining distortion free music.

This is actually a great question.  I usually spend five minutes (while standing at the elevator) summarizing the work of Brian Fligor and explaining the 80/90 rule …. 80% volume for 90 minutes a day is about half of the daily exposure; if your favorite song comes on, turn up the volume, just turn it down after.

And before the (very slow) elevator arrives, I explain about the available earphones that have reduced sensitivity and ensures that any kid will never be overexposed.  This is accomplished with no audible (or measureable distortion)

I doubt whether there are any wireless headphones that can be used with the iPhone7 that have that feature.

Maybe in the future, but not yet.  I wonder if Apple should have held off on removing the wired earphone jack until wireless earphone technology caught up with what is currently in the market place?  Perhaps it may be OK for the iPhone 8 or 9?

About Marshall Chasin

Marshall Chasin, AuD, is a clinical and research audiologist who has a special interest in the prevention of hearing loss for musicians, as well as the treatment of those who have hearing loss. I have other special interests such as clarinet and karate, but those may come out in the blog over time.

5 Comments

  1. Hi all:

    You are all absolutely correct. Texting and driving is something out of the last century, at least in attitude. It was misplaced humour. I agree- never text and drive. Thank you all for not letting me get away with this.

    Since these blogs all have a “permalink” I have even deleted the offending sentences from my initial post.

    Marshall

  2. You lost me at texting and emailing while driving at highway speeds!
    Don’t, don’t, just don’t!

  3. I suppose your note about texting while driving was a joke 😉
    That’d be much more unsafe than listing to music too loudly too long.

    You might want to check out AfterShokz bone conduction headphones. (Use the link below and enter promo code “SHOP10”)
    http://www.shareasale.com/u.cfm?d=297167&m=61016&u=1342999

    AfterShokz don’t sound awesome enough for serious music and, yes, latency is an issue. Still, they are very awesome in that you can now use your iPhone hands-free AND still hear the world around you!

    Let me know what you think. Again, use the link above when navigating to the site along with the promo code.

  4. Mobile phones
    Using ANY mobile phone when driving is dangerous

    Using a mobile phone, sat nav or any similar device whilst driving means that the driver’s attention is distracted from the road.

    The facts

    Studies show that drivers using a hands-free or handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards.
    Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash.
    The law

    It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving.
    This includes using your mobile phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
    You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
    If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 3 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £100. Points on your licence will result in higher insurance costs.
    If you get just 6 points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.
    You may use a hands-free phone while driving but you can still be prosecuted if you’re not in proper control of your vehicle. The penalties are same as being caught using a handheld phone.
    The penalties for driving carelessly or dangerously when using a handheld or hands-free phone can include disqualification, a large fine and up to two years imprisonment.

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