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Apple Ditches The Headphone Jack - But What Does It Really Mean?

By now you’ve probably heard about Apple’s latest controversy.  On Wednesday, September 7, Apple unveiled the iPhone 7.  While it’s not a drastic redesign like we’re used to seeing every two years (that’s rumored to happen next year to celebrate iPhone’s 10th anniversary), it does have one major design element that has people divided.  To headphone jack or not to headphone jack, that is the question.

When it really comes down to it, it means one thing and that is innovation.  If nothing else, Apple is an innovator.  If it wasn’t for Apple, there’s a good chance you’d still have a physical keypad on your phone right now.  Apple is a company that isn’t afraid to take risks, even if it means raising a few eyebrows along the way.  Those risks have led Apple to become the highest valued company and the number one brand in the world today.

But back to the headphone jack.  Why exactly did Apple get rid of the 3.5mm phono connection that’s been in just about every device that can output audio for the last 50 years?  Well, when Apple looks at the headphone jack, they see an opportunity.  To output audio through a 3.5mm headphone jack, you also have to include a power amp to power the headphones that are plugged in, as well as a DAC (digital audio converter) to change the digital signal to an analog signal.  By removing the headphone jack, amp, and DAC, Apple now frees up space inside the phone, which can be used for other things.  For example, the iPhone 7 is the same size as the previous model, but it has more room for bigger and better camera components, a bigger and longer-lasting battery, and a screen with a wider color gamut.  It also allows the iPhone 7 to be water resistant, which is something I wished the iPhone 4 was after a 4th of July swimming mishap many years ago ...

You might be asking yourself, “I run a healthcare practice, so what does this have to do with me?”  Well, something I think we can all learn from Apple is that the old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is actually complete nonsense - it’s basically telling us to be afraid of change.  In today’s technology-driven workplace, there’s usually a better way to do things, even if you think the current way is good enough.  EMRs (electronic medical records) are a great example of this.  Paper charts were standard for as long as there’s been medicine, but EMRs improve on the old and add functionality beyond what pen and paper are capable of.  Even here at CHS, we’re finding ways to save our clients time and money through things like video conferences, electronic documents and signatures, and electronic payments.

So what is Apple really doing when they get rid of a “standard” technology component?  They’re innovating and they’re problem-solving.  They’re making things that aren’t broken … better.  So think about your day-to-day operations and how you can make things better, even if they’re not necessarily broken.