There’s been what might seem like a super miniature leak this afternoon, thanks to Samsung. The leak shows a dongle. This is the sort of dongle that connects a USB-C port to a headphone jack. This can mean only one thing for the Galaxy Note 10 – at least one of the two expected models coming from Samsung soon. It means that the Galaxy Note 10 will be the second major mobile device to ditch a feature we’ve been taking for granted for far, far too long.
Why should I care if I’m not a Samsung fan? What’s any of this matter if I only buy an iPhone every other year? It matters because it’s a sign of the times. When Apple made their first announcement about the first iPhone that’d have no standard headphone jack, they made a pretty BIG DEAL about said removal. They said they had COURAGE for making that change.
Some analysts predicted that the rest of the industry would follow suit rather quickly after Apple made that move. The change has come. It’s not universal – not just yet – but it’s here. And it’s more important than the headphone jack itself. It’s a sea change.
The change is a move away from a buyer’s market and toward a seller’s market. Not long ago, smartphone and tablet hardware brands clamored to be the first with each new neat or otherwise helpful feature on a new device. The times, they are a-changing.
Apple, and now Samsung too, pushed a public image in which they provided devices that were good, great, invaluable! They created great devices, reliable devices, devices that were of such high quality that it’d be crazy to spend money on any competitor!
Just under a decade ago, when the smartphone wars were raging, there were not just several smartphone brands competing for your attention, there were several operating systems in the mix. You could buy a Windows Phone, or a BlackBerry! Now that time has passed.
Now if you look at the phones available from any major carrier here in the United States, you’ll see primarily Apple and Samsung devices. That’s what most people want, so that’s what they show at the top of their sales page for new smartphone hardware.
Other models are there, but look at the shipment numbers and you’ll see – they’re sorta just hanging on, for now. Now, Samsung and Apple are in a position where they’re able to dictate the features you’ll get in your next smartphone whether those features make a positive impact on the end user or not.
As the person next to you what they plan on doing when their next phone has no headphone jack. Chances are they’ll do the work, deciding whether they’ll opt for a new pair of Bluetooth-enabled headphones or if they’ll purchase a new dongle.
Because it’s simpler for the average person to buy something extra, the remaining few major smartphone and tablet brands in the world are allowed to remove features from their products with impunity. Because consumers’ path of least resistance is to continue to buy from the brands they see every day, regardless of what that means for their wallet.
And it all comes down to this dongle. The resistance has fallen. It’s about a dongle, and it’s about a system that may well be too giant for any consumer to have any chance to affect.