Apple Inc. today announced its next-generation iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 7S, which features an all-new Pro Audio Port for use with professional audio equipment. The new connector, which was first included on the latest MacBook Pro models, is a sleek 3.5mm jack that allows the smartphone to connect to an array of audio accessories.
“We’re really proud of the work our engineering team has done to bring this innovative new connector to mobile devices,” said Apple marketing SVP Phil Schiller. “With the inclusion of the 3.5mm Pro Audio Port, professionals in the music industry can take full advantage of their iPhones to create and capture their inspiration anywhere they go.”
The benevolent company has graciously opened the Pro Audio Port as a free-to-use standard for accessory makers, which will allow it to be used not just in specially-built partner devices, but in a wide array of consumer hardware applications. Of the decision to make the port an open standard, Schiller said, “We’re excited to see what new uses the industry comes up with for this port to enable even the average customer to create or enjoy music and other audio recordings on-the-go. We think this is a big win for portable audio.”
Apple has already captured the attention of many accessory makers, who have integrated the new connector into their audio products. From speaker and headphone manufacturers such as Apple-owned Beats to third parties like Bose, and even car makers like Ford and Honda, a plethora of companies have already expressed an interest in incorporating the new technology into their hardware.
“At Ford, we’re always looking for the next big thing in mobile connectivity. That’s why we created our revolutionary SYNC technology with Microsoft, and why we were quick to adopt features like Siri Eyes-Free and CarPlay. Now, we’re looking to the future with Apple’s universal media adapter. This is going to be the audio connector that propels us forward for years to come,” said Ford CTO Raj Nair.
Ford is expected to include support for the Pro Audio Port (marketed by Ford as an “Audio Universal Experience,” or “AUX”) right in the dashboard of its entire 2018 vehicle lineup.
But at Apple, while these other uses may serve to make the port more useful for general consumers, pro users remain the primary use case.
“We’ve always been focused on the professional and prosumer market,” Schiller said in an interview with CNET following the unveiling. “That’s why we take the time to keep products like the Mac Pro up-to-date with the latest industry changes. It’s why we removed the useless function and escape keys from the MacBook Pro and replaced them with an ever-changing strip of touchscreen controls.”
Later in the interview, he further commented on the company’s commitment to pro users: “The professional market has always been one of our key demographics. They’re a big part of why Apple is what it is today. We want to keep taking care of them the way they’ve taken care of us. That’s why we’re proud when we can show off these amazing new innovations that will help them do more. That’s what Apple is all about.”