“The audio connector is more than 100 years old,” said Apple VP Greg Joswiak. “It had its last big innovation about 50 years ago. You know what that was? They made it smaller. It hasn’t been touched since then. It’s a dinosaur. It’s time to move on.”
Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior VP of hardware engineering, said “We’ve got this 50-year-old connector — just a hole filled with air — and it’s just sitting there taking up space, really valuable space. In a world of mobile and cellular connectivity, the one wired vestige out there is this cable hanging from people’s ears to their phones — why?”
“It was holding us back from a number of things we wanted to put into the iPhone,” reveals Riccio. “It was fighting for space with camera technologies and processors and battery life. And frankly, when there’s a better, modern solution available, it’s crazy to keep it around.”
Ricco explains the the driver ledge, a small printed circuit board that drives the display and backlight was typically placed at the top of the device. Unfortunately, the driver ledge interfered with the iPhone 7's larger camera system so Apple wanted to move it lower in both models but there it interfered with the audio jack.
Engineers tried removing the jack and they discovered it was easier to install the new Taptic Engine that is needed for the new touch sensitive home button. Second, they were able to increase the battery's size. The iPhone 7 battery is now 14% bigger and the iPhone 7 Plus battery is now 5% bigger. This gives iPhone 7 users an additional two hours of battery life and iPhone 7 Plus users an additional hour.
Finally, removing the audio jack eliminated a key point of ingress that helped the iPhone meet IP7 water resistance.
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