The iPhone is too thin. It’s hard to hold, its camera bump is unseemly, and its battery is too small to last all that long. Yet it seems like Apple still believes that the iPhone needs to lose some weight every time it receives an even-year upgrade.
Reports claimed in November that Apple wants to get rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack from the next iPhone. There are several reasons why that would be a bad idea, including the fact that Bluetooth headphones aren’t nearly as popular as their wired forebears, but the most important is its effect on battery life.
My iPhone 6 doesn’t last more than a full day on a charge. I don’t often use it for anything particularly taxing: I read things I’ve saved to Instapaper, browse the Web with Safari, stream albums via Apple Music, and listen to podcasts with Pocket Casts. I almost never watch videos or play any games.
I would prefer a thicker iPhone with a larger battery. Not only would it solve the problem of the iPhone being hard to hold — I’ve flipped my iPhone 6 out of my grasp too many times to count — but it would also help me get more use out of the device. Then I’d be able to watch videos or play games without any concerns.
I’m not the only one who would prefer a thicker iPhone. Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s tech columnist, Christopher Mims:
[E]ven as displays become sharper and microchips faster, we are stuck charging our phones every chance we get.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a simple enough solution. It requires a company brave enough to persuade users that one of the things we’ve come to expect from phones and other gadgets—that every year, they become thinner and lighter—is a trend that has outlived its usefulness.
The weird thing is that Apple knows iPhone battery life isn’t great. I know this because the company introduced a battery case that makes the iPhone look like an Apple-made Droid Incredible while offering extended battery life. That’s right: Apple is asking its customers to cover the iPhone’s design with a battery case that makes the device look like an HTC phone from 2010.
Apple’s battery case also makes it hard to use many headphones, according to Mashable’s Christina Warren. The case makes it hard for the cranium speakers to fit into the headphone jack — which might explain why Apple wants to get rid of the damned thing. (Because clearly people want a battery case more than they want to listen to music without disturbing others.) Warren writes:
The one real downside of the Smart Battery Case is the headphone jack. It’s impossible to get a lot of headphones inside the case. If you have Apple EarPods, they’ll work just fine — but if you are using other headphones — including Apple owned Beats headphones — you’ll need a headphone extender.
The device seems to work well. It extended the battery life of Fortune writer Jason Cipriani’s iPhone from 14 hours to 31.5 hours. That’s not bad! It’s not as good as some other battery cases, but given its ability to charge at the same time as the iPhone it’s clothing and its brand, it’ll probably sell well.
That’s unfortunate. The iPhone needs to stop getting thinner. It should probably keep its headphone port, unless Apple’s going to dramatically improve the quality of the earbuds bundled with its products, at least for now. What it doesn’t need to do is create another revenue stream for Apple by all-but-requiring people to buy a $99 battery case to fix a problem that shouldn’t exist.