Seemingly innocuous component actually serves important role

Apple recently grabbed headlines with its decision to do away with the audio jack in its latest iPhone devices, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

iPhone 7

There are plenty of theories online to entertain why the company made this decision, ranging from it being a money making scheme (forcing users to buy new headphones) to increasing the size of the device’s components so as to improve its overall performance. 

Perhaps more important, though, is the question “what?”—as in, “what went in its place?”

This is especially important in this instance because the iPhone 7 offers a lot of the same specs as its predecessor, the iPhone 6s. It’s not smaller, thinner, or much lighter. 

Well, now that the much-anticipated device has gone on sale, so too has its teardowns, and now we have an answer—a tiny piece of black plastic occupies the area formerly owned by the audio jack.

iPhone 7 audio jack

It seems simple enough—there is space available, so occupy it with plastic so the company doesn’t have to go through with a drastic redesign between models. But believe it or not, this seemingly innocuous component actually serves a more important purpose—the new iPhone 7 is being marketed as waterproof. To lend credibility to this claim, the device needs to be a sealed box. And so the space previously occupied by the audio jack now houses various components (including the piece of black plastic) to serve as a barometric vent for the phone; specifically, to equalize the internal pressure and maintain an accurate altimeter.

iPhone 7 vent

Additionally, this vent serves to increase the dynamic range of the device’s stereo speakers. It’s strategically positioned just so to improve the quality of the sound.

As to whether this is all worth the sacrificing of an audio jack is up to the individual, but it does lend credibility to the company’s claim that it removed the component to enhance many of the device’s other features and functions.

Via Mashable