Apple’s war on ports and buttons
Apple is known for slashing buttons and ports from its products. Jason Snell looks at what’s next on the chopping block
Keep it simple. That’s been Apple’s design philosophy for ages. Whether it’s buttons or ports, the history of modern Apple design makes it clear that it is a company that looks at every product and asks, “Could there be less stuff on this thing?”
When Steve Jobs announced the original Apple Remote, he displayed a slide comparing it to two typical TV remotes – one with 43 buttons and the other with 45. In contrast, the Apple Remote had six. The third-generation iPod Shuffle was designed with no buttons at all, an extreme decision that led to a rare flip-flop on Apple’s part – the next
honest, we’re surprised Apple didn’t remove the ring/silent switch from the iPhone years ago. Yes, there are many of us who have grown accustomed to flipping that switch back and forth to verify that our phones have been silenced. And you do need a piece of hardware to rely on to ensure that your phone won’t make noise at the movies – but that could easily just be the volume-down button, which could mute your phone when you hold it down for a second and even vibrate the Taptic Engine to give you confirmation.
iPhone Lightning port
It’s hard to seal your device off from all ways to make a data connection. Plugging in a cable is always a useful fallback when your device is well and truly borked. (This is why it’s somewhat dangerous to run beta software on an Apple Watch, for example – if it crashes hard there’s no place to plug it in and load a fresh copy of watchOS.) And of course, the single Lightning port is a gateway to a large number of different accessories. Even if Apple adds some sort of wireless charging feature to the iPhone in the future, it’s likely that the Lightning port will stick around for a while.
Apple would really like the iPhone to replace our wallets, so we can use Apple Pay to buy anything we want, anywhere, no cards or cash required. This, too, is a dream that’s going to take some time for the company to accomplish – even now, two years after the launch of Apple Pay, it’s still unavailable in many of the stores I shop at.
iPhone 7’s Home Button