The Backlash on Twitter Over Apple’s New iPhones Is Predictable, and It May Not Matter

Lack of headphone jack causes stir

Headshot of Christopher Heine

Right after Apple's annual event ended today in San Francisco, "6S Plus" immediately began trending on Twitter nationally. Here's a big reason why: The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus—the crown jewels of Apple's announcements—do not include a headphone jack.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company wants consumers to buy wireless ear pieces called AirPods for $159. The problem is, many people believe they are expensive and fear they will lose them if they buy them. And they cannot simply run to the corner store and buy cheap, generic replacements for a few bucks—there's no jack for that. The phones come with one complimentary adapter for headphones that will run through the devices' lightning port, but replacements will cost $9 through Apple. 

According to Amobee Brand Intelligence, 29 percent of the sentiment around "headphone jack" on Twitter was negative this afternoon, while just 10 percent of it was positive. Sixty-one percent was neutral.

Will the move create a marketing challenge for Apple and its ad agency, TBWA\Media Arts Lab? Even though the initial data points seem bad, said Jonathan Cohen, principal brand analyst at Amobee, marketers for the new iPhones will probably be just fine: They have always been able to push cutting-edge features in the past.

"Consider when Apple updated the iPhone 5 to include a lightning port—consumers were displeased when they first announced that as well," Cohen said. "Apple has a long history of making innovative, yet radical changes to their devices that make the most vocal opponents speak out, but they also have a loyal consumer base that praise their progressive design, too. Any marketing challenges that Apple will have, will be short-lived as they have a positive track record of showing an increase in performance of their products."

Trevor Wade, global marketing director at Landor, largely concurred. "Although many people may initially be frustrated by this decision," she said, "Apple has earned consumer trust over the years and people will quickly come around."

Underscoring their points was this tweet, in particular:

Meanwhile, here are a handful other Twitter reactions that illustrate some of the social-media aftermath thanks to doing away with the headphone jack.

UPDATE: This story originally stated that an adapter had to be purchased to allow the iPhone 7 models to be immediately usable with regular headphones.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.
Publish date: September 7, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT