Every time Apple Inc. rolls out an updated iPhone, the makers of docking stations, cases and wireless gizmos pay attention. After all, when Apple changes the iPhone, the makers of accessories have to adapt as well.
With the iPhone 7 and 7s, introduced Sept. 7 in San Francisco, it may be the accessories stealing the spotlight.
Apple is eliminating the headphone jack from its newest smartphone and replacing it with an audio system that instead connects either through the Lightning charging port or wirelessly. During its presentation, Apple executives stressed that the change allowed the company to improve audio performance and make the 7 and 7s resistant to water and dust. (That's a feature that would've been handy a couple of summer ago when I accidentally forgot to take the phone out of my pocket before I jumped in the pool.)
But perhaps even more important for Apple's revenue stream, it allows the company to introduce the AirPods: A pair of small, wireless, Bluetooth-enabled, plastic-encased earbuds, which will sell independently from the phones, at a retail price of about $160.
“It makes no sense to tether us to our mobile devices,” executive Phil Schiller said during the unveiling.
After all, they reasoned, why should we be so attached to an audio system that dates back more than 100 years?
I can see the point. Of course, I also could immediately see they're going to make a fortune selling replacement AirPods. (So did everyone else on Twitter, judging by the range of jokes that immediately began making the rounds.)