Almost a year has gone by since Apple (AAPL) took the headphone jack away from its flagship iPhone, perhaps the most polarizing decision in the company’s 41-year history.
And according to a Yahoo Finance self-selected survey of 7,741 people, 71% of iPhone users think it was a bad move. Moreover, 73% of Android users are less likely to switch to the iPhone just because of the headphone jack removal.
The jack was replaced with two options: a headphone adapter dongle or the option to spend $159 on Apple’s wireless headphones, AirPods. (Both AirPods and Apple-owned Beats Electronics headphones have surged since the jackless headphones, with both brands taking 40% of all Bluetooth headphones, according to a January report from market research firm Slice Intelligence.)
Guidance from Apple suggests the iPhone 7’s successor appears to be on track without rumored delays, and many people are hoping Apple will have a change of heart about the headphone jack. For iPhone 7 and 7 Plus users who are currently living without a headphone jack, 71% would like Apple to bring it back, according to our survey.
“No tangible value,” but “a lot of annoyance”
Almost two-thirds of these users report that not having a jack has “been a problem.” The laundry list of complaints has mounted since September 2016. Frustrations include: not being able to listen to music and charge at the same time; issues connecting to older cars or older speakers; battery drain problems with constant Bluetooth usage and wireless headphones — which also need charging; the irritations of dealing with an unnecessary dongle; having to buy multiple dongles; and more.
Respondents with headphone jack-less iPhones seem to be figuring things out begrudgingly, still using wired headphones more than 70% of the time. Though they want their jack back, they’ve learned to live with the dongle and just 40% said they had considered getting a different phone that didn’t have this “innovation.”
“No desire to upgrade BECAUSE of the headphone jack issue”
The iPhone is expensive at $649 being the standard price for a flagship model, and many people are a few product cycles behind. But the headphone jack’s departure stands as another reason besides price not to upgrade.
In the survey, 69% of people with older iPhones said they were dreading the upgrade, and 66% said they would consider the less expensive iPhone SE over the flagship model because of the headphone jack. By and large, this group of later-adopters is not likely to be early to Bluetooth headphones —which just 29% of 7 and 7 Plus users use — so it’s no surprise that 55% of this group said they would stop using iPhones if Apple got rid of headphone jacks altogether.
“I was considering buying an iPhone until that news”
As Apple loses headphone jacks, Android may be gaining customers. According to Yahoo Finance’s survey, 73% of Android users said they were less likely to switch to the iPhone now. Furthermore, multiple people noted that the headphone jack’s repeal was paramount in their decision as a consumer.
With Apple having just a 14.7% market share worldwide — Androids make up most of the rest — this could present an issue with Apple’s pushes into Android territory. (The iPhone is much stronger in the US than it is worldwide with around 40% market share compared to Android phones.)
This also has the potential to affect other aspects of Apple’s business — including its streaming service Apple Music and the iMessage platform — and it could strangle the iMessage payments system enough to prevent it from challenging competitors like Venmo.
“Another ploy by Apple to force you to buy their high-priced products”
A recurring theme throughout the survey’s responses was people frustrated by Apple nudging them towards expensive products they say they don’t need. Overwhelmingly, people said they would not buy AirPods, 86%, and resented the high prices that made them feel as if they were being “nickle and dimed,” as one respondent put it.
However, many people did note that wireless was likely the future, and that Apple may have simply been too early, thinking that the company could singlehandedly bring on a paradigm shift, as it had before. This was unlikely to happen with such an incremental update as the 7, but if CEO Tim Cook can usher augmented reality into the mainstream with a new device, it may be possible.