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Wireless Networking Hardware

Wireless Headphone Sales Soared After Apple Dropped Headphone Jack (fortune.com) 252

Apple's decision to remove the headphone jack from new iPhones last year prompted lots of consumers to switch to wireless headphones, according to a new report on holiday shopping. From a report: Three-quarters of all headphones sold online in December were wireless models, up from 50% a year earlier, according to shopping tracker Slice Intelligence. Apple was the biggest beneficiary of the shift, as both its new AirPods earphones and models from its Beats subsidiary led the sales charts. The $159 AirPods, Apple's first wireless model sold under its own brand, didn't go on sale until Dec. 13, but the product quickly dominated the wireless headphone market, Slice found. In the year prior to the debut, the Beats brand topped online sales of wireless models with a 24% market share, trailed by Bose with an 11% share and Jaybird at 8%. But after AirPods went on sale, they grabbed 26% of online wireless sales, Slice found. Bose was second at 16% and Beats dropped to third with 15% of the market during the period considered.
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Wireless Headphone Sales Soared After Apple Dropped Headphone Jack

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why is this a story?

    • Seriously? "Man dives through plate glass window" "In other news, band-aid sales have skyrocketed recently..."

      • by Freischutz ( 4776131 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @12:38PM (#53648419)

        Seriously? "Man dives through plate glass window" "In other news, band-aid sales have skyrocketed recently..."

        Nobody forced these people to buy wireless headphones, there is an adaptor that allows you to plug analogue headphones into the lightning connector. The real news here is that people don't seem to give a rats ass about the demise 3.5mm headphone jack and didn't think twice about getting a Bluetooth headset despite predictions of doom from the naysayers on Slashdot and that around half of them went for a non-Apple product..

        • Nothing has vexed my wife half as much as her wireless headphones. I think she maintains that she likes them as a psychological response to that they cost so much.
          • by shmlco ( 594907 )

            I have the AirPods and while they're not perfect, I find that they're much better than the standard EarPods.

            And nothing is more vexing than having to sit there and untangle a set of wired earphones each and every time I want to use them...

        • by Maritz ( 1829006 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @01:29PM (#53648763)

          despite predictions of doom from the naysayers on Slashdot and that around half of them went for a non-Apple product..

          Nobody sensible predicted that Apple fans would reject the iPhone because of the lack of 3.5mm jack. The counter-prediction is what's being laughed at - that 3.5mm connectors will immediately die based on Apple's say-so.

          • And yet Apple refuses to release sales figures for the iPhone 7. Which Apple only does when sales are really bad.
            Then you have Apple slashing production of iPhone 7. There are also reports from resellers of large numbers of people choosing iPhone 6 over the equivalent iPhone 7, even when the iPhone 7 was cheaper.
            Personally I know 4 people that bought the iPhone 7. Only 1 of those people didn't return it.
          • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

            No doubt, some of them did. Others chose the 6s over the 7. Others decided that carrying around an adapter was more of a pain than charging headphones every day, and bought Bluetooth headphones. Still others designed an iPhone case to add the headphone jack back. And a fifth group bought the 7, tried Bluetooth, hated it, and returned the iPhone 7 for a refund. The important question is how many people fell into each group. Unfortunately, Apple stopped breaking down iPhone sales by product, so we'll n

        • well see how popular those things are after some time dealing with the shortcomings of these devices. Many people ran out and bought them, but how many will consider it an improvement? My son is sick of his 180 beats wireless ones (various issues) 2 days after buying them the day after Christmas. Time will tell.

    • What's 'soaring'?

      They went from selling two pairs a month to three? What...?

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @01:26PM (#53648743)

      It looks like we're supposed to be dumbfounded that wireless headphone sales went up after the world's (probably) most single popular model of smartphone dropped its headphone jack.

      Colour me fucking stunned.

  • by es330td ( 964170 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @12:03PM (#53648183)
    If there is no headphone jack, buying traditional headphones would be pretty dumb. Any outcome other than an increase in wireless headphone sales would have been very unusual.
    • Except that only a very tiny part of the consumers own an iPhone 7, the only device without a 3.5mm audio jack, except my toaster.
      Therefore the iPhone 7 can't explain the surge from 50 to 75%.

      • by H3lldr0p ( 40304 )

        Yeah it can.

        Sales of wireless headphones weren't that big to begin with.

        See? It's that simple.

        It's an expensive, class defining accessory. It's conspicuous consumption. If you want to get the people who buy these things really mad mention how easy Apple is making it for everyone to afford them. Then watch as they explain how theirs are even better than the default Apple ships. It's fun!

        • Well 50% of all headphones is big. I doubt the numbers actually, and it is probably not worldwide.

        • It's an expensive, class defining accessory.

          Wireless headphones are expensive? They can be, like any product, but the last pair of wireless headphones that I bought cost only about $20.

    • And most of the people buying AirPods don't have iPhone 7s, I'm using AirPods with my iPhone 6.

  • by ZipK ( 1051658 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @12:07PM (#53648225)
    No thanks. The wire on wired headphones has never been a problem, and adding one more thing to my kit that needs recharging is undesirable. As is a dongle. As are earphones that aren't plug-compatible with airline entertainment and other phone-jack systems.
    • Also, a dongle is not a perfect replacement for the 3.5mm headphone jack. I often use my phone as an MP3 player while working. Charging the phone while listening to music. If the iPhone 7 replaced the 3.5mm headphone jack with a lightning port (creating an additional lightning port, that would be an improvement.

      An iPhone is not on my wish list, so this doesn't affect me. Hopefully Android phone manufacturers will not follow suit, and instead will use this as an easy way to generate more sales for themselv

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        An iPhone is not on my wish list, so this doesn't affect me. Hopefully Android phone manufacturers will not follow suit, and instead will use this as an easy way to generate more sales for themselves and gain even more market share for themselves. Because Apple has dropped a basic feature from their phones, all Android phones automatically have a feature to offer that Apple doesn't, making the Android offering more feature rich and a better deal for the consumer.

        Apple wasn't the first to ditch the 3.5mm jac

    • It is possible to get the best of both worlds. I picked up some inexpensive but solid August headphones on Amazon last year for $50. They are wireless but also have a jack to plug in a 3.5mm plug to make them wired, which I use when I fly. The battery lasts at least a week of my normal use on the train as well so it's not like I need to charge it often.

    • No thanks. The wire on wired headphones has never been a problem, and adding one more thing to my kit that needs recharging is undesirable. As is a dongle. As are earphones that aren't plug-compatible with airline entertainment and other phone-jack systems.

      If I know I'll be sitting down at my desk then wired is not an issue. But wireless has it place. e.g. If I'm moving around doing manual work then it's very pleasant to be able to put my phone on a shelf and move freely around the room. No wires to snag and no fumbling in a pocket to change tracks, etc. Another good use is TV: I get it via a PC connected to a flat-screen. If I want to watch something and not disturb the wife, I can use the wireles headphones.

    • I have to disagree. I've frequently had problems with the wiring for headphones. I went through probably half a dozen wired headset/mic combos in the course of a few years when I got married and could no longer get away with speakers all the time for my computer. I tried to always be careful of the cord and hang the headphones so there wasn't pressure on it. But inevitably the wire always developed a short inside of a year of use, with one pair shorting out at 3 months. I became a convert to wireless headph

  • Yes, sales went up 50% but the volume hasn't changed that much. Here is why:
    • - Wireless Headphones cost more because of the electronics and batteries and the base to support both. So the cost is more as volume go up.
    • - The overall cost to produce has gone done some they cost a bit less to buy.
    • - It's mainly a very small but dedicated group of Apple product owners that is buying these headphones
  • Ligtning Cable (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @12:34PM (#53648401)

    They didn't sell many lightning cables before Apple made it a standard either.

  • by Noishkel ( 3464121 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @01:17PM (#53648687)

    In case no one noticed Apple bought Beats audio, who controls pretty much the entire wireless headphone market. Fast forward a year or so and now Apple ONLY sells devices that can use wireless headphones in their most popular product.

    Do any of you Apple fanatics NOT see that Apple screwed you by removing a port and FORCING you into the wireless headphone market they own most of? Personally t's this kind of CRAP from Apple that made me completely abandon that entire eco-system years ago.

    • Do any of you Apple fanatics NOT see that Apple screwed you by removing a port and FORCING you into the wireless headphone market they own most of?

      Just give up the argument. There are those who have bought into the Apple "mystique" and those who haven't. To the former, it will always be "But Apple is being BOLD, moving on to new tech!" To the latter, like you, there will always be the most cynical interpretation, where everything is about profits. Just like the pro-life/pro-choice debate, the two sides are operating from completely different premises about the world.

      No, if we really want to change people's minds, we need to revisit the Apple pro

      • Unless someone starts producing ads like that, this Apple crap will have no chance of stopping.

        PC is a Microsoft Surface with the same problems.

        • Unless someone starts producing ads like that, this Apple crap will have no chance of stopping.

          PC is a Microsoft Surface with the same problems.

          Nope... Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has standard ports and jacks, including a headphone jack. Maybe not enough USB ports, but it's a tablet.

          Surface Pro 4 has a USB port, mini-displayport, headphone jack, Bluetooth, and Secure Digital card slot. The only thing proprietary are the charging and docking ports. You can use the USB port for a USB dock, if you need to. So that just leaves the charging cable that is proprietary.

          • mini-displayport is the same as Apple's Thunderbolt - typically a dongle required (unless you use an all-in-one cable).

            There is no Ethernet port.

            With a single USB port, you're probably going to have a hub - not much different than being stuck with a newer USB type-C.

            The only thing truly different between Surface Pro and Mac in that regard is the headphone port. I'm not even saying it's a bad thing - just that it's pointless to mock Apple for it exclusively.

            • ...The only thing truly different between Surface Pro and Mac in that regard is the headphone port. I'm not even saying it's a bad thing - just that it's pointless to mock Apple for it exclusively.

              The only thing truly different between Microsoft and Apple is the fact that there are still several other options available from many vendors as a hardware alternative to obtain a "Pro" grade portable device.

              Apple offers the Macbook Pro, in all its proprietary glory.

              THAT is the issue here, that take-it-or-fuck-off mentality that defines Apples corporate arrogance, which I and many others will gladly mock the shit out of them for. Sadly, I don't see the competition doing anything but following suit, so welc

      • Do any of you Apple fanatics NOT see that Apple screwed you by removing a port and FORCING you into the wireless headphone market they own most of?

        Just give up the argument. There are those who have bought into the Apple "mystique" and those who haven't. To the former, it will always be "But Apple is being BOLD, moving on to new tech!" To the latter, like you, there will always be the most cynical interpretation, where everything is about profits...

        Walled-garden. Sealing the case shut and choosing to solder every component directly to the fucking chassis, destroying the 3rd party market for upgrades. Making damn near every external connection proprietary, requiring the purchase of some form of patented adapter. Removing the headphone jack, leading to a boost in sales of yet another product line (Beats) they now own.

        It hardly takes a cynic to understand that every move they make is about profits.

        Give up the argument? There's none to be had. Not e

    • Removing the headphone jack was annoying and regressive; on that we can agree. Samsung is likely to remove it to the S8, in response to Apple, and that makes it all the more frustrating.

      Beats are crap. I refuse to buy any of those headphones. I got a pair as a gift for Christmas--wireless, natch--and I haven't taken the shrink wrap off. I intend to sell it.

      I bought Jaybirds years before Apple removed the jack. They work great, but they're not perfect. So I'm not sure where you're coming from when you

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Schnapple ( 262314 )

      Fast forward a year or so and now Apple ONLY sells devices that can use wireless headphones in their most popular product.

      You can plug in your old headphones using the adapter they include in the box (and sell replacements for $9), or you can use the wired Lightning Cable EarPods they also... include in the box. Heck, they sell replacements for those too.

      I get that you're mad but your assertion that you can ONLY use wireless headphones is false in more ways than one.

      And as for being mad that they bou

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      In case no one noticed Apple bought Beats audio, who controls pretty much the entire wireless headphone market. Fast forward a year or so and now Apple ONLY sells devices that can use wireless headphones in their most popular product.

      Do any of you Apple fanatics NOT see that Apple screwed you by removing a port and FORCING you into the wireless headphone market they own most of? Personally t's this kind of CRAP from Apple that made me completely abandon that entire eco-system years ago.

      TFS said Apple was #1

    • 'Beats controls pretty much the entire wireless headphone market'????

      Wow. I didn't realize. Amazon must be hiding something.

      Sennheiser, Bose, and a host of Chinese manufacturers that you never have heard off might be a tad surprised at that statement. A quick perusal
        of a couple of 'best of' compilations (no, not that kind) don't even mention Beats.

  • by mea2214 ( 935585 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @01:21PM (#53648709)
    Tim Cook deserves a "Profiles in Courage" award.
  • Has anyone figured this out yet?

    It seems like it would be kind of obvious, a 3.5mm female jack on the headset itself and a M-M 3.5mm cable to use with devices without bluetooth. The jack would just bypass all the BT electronics and go direct to the speakers.

    That way when the battery quit or you had something without a BT option, you could just plug in. Might even be useful for crudely mixing a BT source and an analog source simultaneously.

    • Good headphones and work just the way you describe with excellent Noice Cancelling also.

      Big and ugly but I use mine all the time.

    • My Sony XB950BT headphones do exactly that. Though I haven't tested what happens if the battery in them dies and I try just the wired connection. But they do work for wired/wireless as desired. Rechargeable from a micro USB connection like most Android phones, but strangely does not work wirelessly with a PS4.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Has anyone figured this out yet?

      It seems like it would be kind of obvious, a 3.5mm female jack on the headset itself and a M-M 3.5mm cable to use with devices without bluetooth. The jack would just bypass all the BT electronics and go direct to the speakers.

      That way when the battery quit or you had something without a BT option, you could just plug in. Might even be useful for crudely mixing a BT source and an analog source simultaneously.

      There's quite a few headphones that support wired and wireless. Usual

  • apple again? Fuck apple/ I have a Samsung with a REAL audio jack
  • And it's not because of Apple, it's a logical development.

    Who buys headphones? Well, people who need new ones because the old ones are dead and/or sound like shit. Headphones are not really an item you buy due to fashion changing. Well, most people don't, I know that there are certainly some that have to have headphones that match the color and style of their handbag, but let's go with the sane majority.

    So you have the choice between cordless and corded headphones. What will be the decider here is probably

  • by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @02:23PM (#53649075)

    "Sales of dongles soar after Apple removes MacBook Pro ports"

    I can see what's next:

    "Sales of external battery packs soar after Apple eliminates batteries from all products to make them 2 mm thinner"

    "Sales of wireless keyboards soar after Apple removes keyboard from MacBooks to make them 1 mm thinner"

    "Sales of trackpads, displays, and logic boards soar after Apple announces new MacBook Pro is an empty cardboard box; calls it 'our most innovative and courageous product ever'"

  • ... they could drop the terrible windows build of itunes and replace it with a linux build? Wouldn't be much work to port from osx and would show the market how dominant they really are.

  • There is another way to read this news. I don't buy the concept that these people actually *wanted* wireless because then they would have already been using wireless. Maybe people just wanted the iPhone and while they were neck deep in high tech stats like megapixels and megahertz, didn't think they had to confirm that it had a feature that all phones were previously just assumed to have. Really, brilliant planning on Apples part; when I buy a laptop or computer I don't confirm it has an audio port eithe
  • Apple removed the headphone jack to prevent users from molesting the phones.

    It is odd that other phone brands don't believe their users physically capable of this and thus kept the headphone jack.

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