Though Apple isn't the first company to remove 3.5mm headphone jacks from its phones, by building the new iPhone 7 without them, it has sounded the death knell for a standard that's over 50 years old. While the Cupertino company is known for popularizing new gadget categories such as smartphones and tablets, it has also killed a number of technologies along the way, by either dropping support for them or making them unnecessary. Here's a list of 7 technologies that Apple has effectively dragged into the trashcan of history.
The 3.5mm headphone jack that appears on just about every portable device and stereo in the world has been around for at least 50 years while the technology behind it dates back to the 19th century. With its new iPhone 7s, Apple has put this popular port out to pasture, in favor of wireless headphones or those that connect via the Lightning port. It will be a few years before most other devices get rid of their 3.5mm connectors, but the end is nigh.
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In 1998, Apple unveiled the first iMac, which was the first major desktop to ship without a floppy disk drive. At a time when most people still saved their work to 3.5-inch disks, Apple's move was extremely controversial, but just a few years later, floppies were dead and gone. Large hard drives, the rise of the internet for sending data and the popularity of optical discs such as CDs and DVDs made 1.44MB removable disks unnecessary and Steve Jobs knew it. Image Credit: Todja / Shutterstock
Phones with Keyboards
Millions of people used smartphones before the iPhone debuted in 2007, but the leading handsets (ex: BlackBerry, Windows Mobile devices) all had physical keyboards. With its touch-friendly interface and slate design, the iPhone changed the landscape. Google's original Android prototype also had a Blackberry-like design, but by the time the first Android phones shipped, they either had slide-out keyboards or no keyboards at all. Today, you'll have a hard time finding a mass-market smartphone on any platform that has actual QWERTY keys.
For years, Adobe's Flash player was the engine that powered web video. However, when Apple refused to add mobile Flash support to iOS and Steve Jobs called the player "buggy" and insecure, it sounded the death knell for the plugin. Today, you'll still find some Flash on the desktop web, but most websites and video providers have dumped it for open standards like HTML 5. In 2011, even Adobe gave up on bringing the technology to mobile devices.
Apple wasn't the first manufacturer to release a laptop without an optical drive, but when the company unveiled the first-gen MacBook Air (2009) without one, it signaled the beginning of the end for discs on portable computers. Today, laptops with built-in DVD or Blu-ray burners are a dying breed and most software is available via a downloadable install, rather than a package with a disc inside.
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Back in the 1990s, music was all about CDs. We carried around portable CD players and bought disc-changing stereos so we could switch between a couple of albums at a time. However, when Apple introduced the iPod and iTunes in 2001, it took digital music mainstream, liberating albums and songs from physical media. Today, you can still a buy a CD if you want one, but online music services like Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music have taken over.Image Credit: Shutterstock / Carlos andre Santos
Touchpads with Buttons
In 2008, Apple switched out the traditional touchpad for a "clickpad" with no buttons that requires you to press down on its surface. Today, a majority of PC laptops have buttonless pads, though the models with discrete buttons tend to be more accurate. For 2015's MacBook 12-inch, Apple ditched the clickpad in favor of a Force Touch trackpad that doesn't press down at all, which could soon be the next standard for PC vendors.