Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 10 will follow Apple’s lead in getting rid of the headphone jack on its smartphone, according to reports.
Engadget reports that the new Galaxy Note 10 will come out on August 23 2019 with a wider display and bigger battery, but at the cost of the surrounding bezel and the phone’s trusty headphone jack:
The Note 10 squeezes in more battery power and other goodies, but at the cost of the familiar old jack. So now the company is doing an about-face and declaring that many people use wireless headphones anyway. … Samsung officials told reporters separately that while the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack might seem small, every smidgeon of saved space can help extend battery life. Samsung is including wired headphones that plug into the phone’s USB-C data and charging port. An adapter for other wired headphones is sold separately for $10. Apple and Google also have ditched the standard headphone jack.
To play music outside of the phone’s internal speaker, the Samsung will require access to a wireless speaker or – more commonly – a pair of wireless headphones, or “air buds.”
Through their increasing popularity and ubiquity, wireless earbuds have been identified as one of the most deleterious products for the environment that are being manufactured today. Though very small, they’re produced in massive quantities (certainly to increase following Samsung’s move as they become the industry standard) and many – most of all, Apple’s AirPods – will start breaking down after about 18 months and are unfixable by design. Caroline Haskins at Vice wrote a fascinating article called “AirPods Are a Tragedy” about a product that one repair guru calls “evil”:
For roughly 18 months, AirPods play music, or podcasts, or make phone calls. Then the lithium-ion batteries will stop holding much of a charge, and the AirPods will slowly become unusable. They can’t be repaired because they’re glued together. They can’t be thrown out, or else the lithium-ion battery may start a fire in the garbage compactor. They can’t be easily recycled, because there’s no safe way to separate the lithium-ion battery from the plastic shell. Instead, the AirPods sit in your drawer forever. … Even if you only own AirPods for a few years, the earth owns them forever. When you die, your bones will decompose in less than a century, but the plastic shell of AirPods won’t decompose for at least a millennium. Thousands of years in the future, if human life or sentient beings exist on earth, maybe archaeologists will find AirPods in the forgotten corners of homes. They’ll probably wonder why they were ever made, and why so many people bought them. But we can also ask ourselves those same questions right now.
Apple removed headphone jacks from all new iPhone models three years ago. At the time, Samsung actually released ads mocking the iPhone for removing the jack, which are reportedly being scrubbed from across the internet following this announcement.