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

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

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.

Our wal­lets

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

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