If Apple had “courage” last September to announce the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus without a headphone jack, then Samsung this week was brave to unveil the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ with a headphone jack. In short, Samsung didn’t copy Apple just for the sake of copying Apple.
By removing the headphone jack, Samsung could have kept its phones the same thickness as Apple did or even shaved off a few precious millimeters. Instead, the company made the S8 and the S8+ slightly thicker than their predecessors.
By removing the headphone jack, Samsung could have launched a line of wireless headphones and then sold them separately like Apple did. Instead, the company included $99 AKG by Harman earbuds in the box.
By removing the headphone jack, Samsung could have told customers that wireless is the future, like Apple did. Instead, the company is apparently including a feature that allows streaming music to two headphones at once.
Samsung wants to “overcome Apple” — but it’s not going to do it by making decisions that inconvenience its customers.
Smartphones should shed the headphone jack when a superior alternative has emerged. Apple is showing that it believes the way to get users to embrace alternatives is by removing the original functionality. Samsung is showing it believes in offering alternatives alongside the original functionality and letting the best option win.
Apple tells customers what they want. Samsung listens to customers and overdelivers.
Nothing lasts forever, but there’s more than one way to usher in the future.
ProBeat is a column in which Emil rants about whatever crosses him that week.