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The end of headphone jacks, the rise of DRM
By Thom Holwerda on 2016-09-08 21:13:03

The EFF on Apple's removal of the 3.5mm jack:

The reasons for Apple abandoning the analog jack may be innocuous. Apple is obsessed with simple, clean design, and this move lets the company remove one more piece of clutter from the phone's body. It advertises that the move helps make the phone more water-resistant. And certainly, many people prefer a wireless listening experience. But intentionally or not, by removing the analog port, Apple is giving itself more control than ever over what people can do with music or other audio content on an iPhone. It's also opening the door to new pressures to take advantage of that power.

Meanwhile, over at BuzzFeed, Apple's Phil Shiller addresses the DRM and vendor lock-in concerns (bookmark the following quote for future reference):

Schiller thinks it's a silly argument. "The idea that there's some ulterior motive behind this move, or that it will usher in some new form of content management, it simply isn’t true," he says. "We are removing the audio jack because we have developed a better way to deliver audio. It has nothing to do with content management or DRM - that's pure, paranoid conspiracy theory."

Thankfully, I don't have to write a reply to Schiller, because Nilay Patel already did so - and eloquently to boot, outlining exactly why the worries over DRM and vendor lock-in are more than warranted. After listing seven pieces of evidence of current and possible upcoming cases of vendor lock-in and DRM, he concludes:

Now, these are all just dots - there's no line connecting them yet. But they are dots that Apple has put into the world, and when the most powerful company in technology creates as many dots around a single subject, it's not a conspiracy theory to suggest that they might one day be connected into the shape of a DRM audio scheme. It's simply pointing out the obvious.

Phil Schiller and Tim Cook want us to believe them on their blue eyes. I obviously don't - if you can blatantly lie several times over in open letters and press interviews about your illegal tax evasion, how on earth am I supposed to believe them on this?

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