iPhone 7 – Bluetooth vs. the headphone jack
The removal of the 3.5mm jack &ndas...
The new iPhone 7 was unveiled yesterday, and the announcement confirmed the long-rumoured lack of headphone jack.
The removal of the 3.5mm jack – and subsequent forcible use of Apple’s own Bluetooth earphones – has received a lot of negative press. It is one of the very few elements of an iPhone which has always been standardised in accordance with other devices, meaning users could use their preferred earphones or headphones in their iPhone, but now they can only use the branded $159 buds.
Others say that wireless earphones could actually solve a lot of problems and improve device reliability. Teleplan recently tested around 5,000 smartphones and found that headphone jack faults occur more regularly than Bluetooth faults.
Sven Boddington, Teleplan’s VP of Client Solutions, said of Apple’s decision to introduce the AirPods:
“There has a been a huge focus on the concerns of consumers around moving away from the traditional headphone jack, and we do not know how this might be replaced in terms of USB-C or something else. However, when it comes to Bluetooth, it is in fact four times more reliable than the headphone jack. It stands to reason that something which is regularly physically connected to and removed from a device is going to cause some damage in the long run.
“The transition to wireless headphones as one of the possibilities is one that results in higher reliability of the device, and reducing demand for the replacement and repair of faulty devices can only be a good thing for manufacturers. That means iPhone 7 owners and any other phone models adopting this change in approach will have one less reason that they might be parted with their smartphone for repair.”
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IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.