iphone 5 headphone jack on the bottom sucks

I’ve had the iPhone 5 for almost a week now and it’s a huge step up from my iPhone 4. I even went so far as to change service providers this time around. After having been with AT&T for 12 years, their constant throttling of my data plan was too much for me to take. The phone would become almost unusable (in terms of internet) once the cap was set in place. I mean seriously, it took about 2-3 full minutes to load all of the pictures on my Instagram feed… Seriously AT&T? How do you expect me to get my fill of hipster-filtered images while I’m in the bathroom, if it takes longer to load the pictures than some of my bathroom quests take… Unacceptable. The dropped calls and lack of service in a lot of places in downtown Chicago lead me to finally ditch them and move to Sprint. I know, I know… why would I go to Sprint when I could go to Verizon and get much better service and existing LTE… Well for one, the wife is on Sprint, so to add a line to her existing plan (with work discount) saves us about $40/mo. Money savings aside, Sprint still offers unlimited data without throttling. Now granted, their 3G service is much slower than AT&T’s 3G and their LTE has only just started to roll out in the Chicagoland area, I still like knowing that if I hit the 3 GB mark for the month, I’m not going to be throttled to near unusable speeds. Yes, I would give up fast speeds for 1/2 the month for mediocre speeds for the entire month. Plus when the LTE comes in it won’t even matter. It’s already rolled out near my work and I’ve gotten upwards of 30 Mbps down and 9 Mbps up, so it’s pretty quick. So for the moment, I’m happy with my decision to move to Sprint. AT&T was fine up until the last year or so, but that was all it took.

Service aside, lets talk about the actual iPhone 5 itself. It’s definitely much lighter than the iPhone 4/4S, which is a good and bad thing. It definitely makes the phone feel a bit cheaper, but once you get used to it, I prefer the lightness. The profile of the phone is slimmer, which is nice, and it’s a bit taller, which I also like. They seemed to have made the external speakers louder, and the camera is better. Although, in terms of the camera, I’m just amazed at how fast it can take pictures. It took forever for the camera app to load up on my iPhone 4, causing me to miss out on countless cool pictures that were just begging for Instagram filters. Obviously, like everyone else, I’m not a big fan of the new maps app in iOS 6, but I wanted to keep this post more towards the physical aspects of the hardware itself. Which leads me to my two biggest gripes about the phone. I understand the need for one of the changes, but the other, I’m not quite sure.

First, the new 8-pin Lightning Connector. I understand that it was time to make a change and that, in order to get the thinness that they were going for, they had to ditch the old 30-pin connector, not a huge deal. I think it’s a little annoying that they didn’t allow 3rd party cable developers to create cables right away due to a chip in the cable, but I’m sure we’ll get some eventually. So I’m not too upset with the fact that they changed the connector, but what I am really annoyed with is the moving of the headphone jack to the bottom of the phone.

I have yet to read a legitimate reason for the move of the headphone jack, but there’s got to be a reason. I even went over to the Apple support forums to see what people were saying and then quickly ran away because of fanboy comments like this one.

Wow.  Seems like an over reaction. If heaphone port location is such a huge deal to you, then the iphone 5 is not for you.

Apple chose to put it there.  I have seen no announcement of the reason for this.

Makes me embarrassed to say that I like Apple products… But anyways, the only other decent reasons that people came up with were the fact that with the slimmer design it had to be moved, the 8-pin Lightning Connector can’t do analog audio, and people like to put the phone in their pocket upside down. Lets take a look at those reasons.

The fact that it was moved in order to fit with the slimmer design seems to make some sense to me. They moved the front camera to the middle of the phone so maybe they had to move something internally to the top left of the phone thus taking away space for the headphone jack. The 8-pin connector not doing analog audio also seems like a semi-legitimate reason. If they can’t pass analog audio through it to radio docks and stereos, maybe the new peripherals will have a 3.5 mm headphone jack positioned next to the 8-pin dock connector on the devices, so when you plug in you get audio and charging. It seems kind of dumb that the lightning connector wouldn’t do analog audio though, but who knows… this is just what people on the forums were saying, not me. And the last reason, that people like to put the phone in their pockets upside down is a ridiculous answer to this. I definitely do put the phone in my pocket upside down, but when I’m listening to music with it in my pocket, it’s not that hard to turn it around… That seems like a dumb reason.

My gripes with the headphone jack on the bottom stem from when I use the phone at work and when I use it in my car. When I’m at work I listen to music and podcasts from my phone, I also have it plugged in to the charger the whole day so it doesn’t die. With 2 cords plugged into the bottom of the phone, combined with the way I hold the phone (with 2 hands), means that my fingers are blocked completely by the headphone cord. This is just a small issue I have, not a huge problem, but a bit annoying anyways. My big issue comes from when I use the phone in my car. My car has an AUX port that allows me to hook up an external device, via the headphone port, to the car stereo so I can listen to music/podcasts off of the phone. I also have a nice little spot in my car that the phone sits in, right in front of the cup holders. This is where I’ve kept my phone for years leading up to the iPhone 5. With the headphone jack on the top of the phone, I could set the phone in that spot, plug the AUX cord into the top and be on my way. Now, with the headphone plug on the bottom of the phone, I have to just plug the AUX cord in and leave it sitting on the passenger seat, as it won’t sit in that spot anymore with the cord hanging out.

Now I know what you’re going to say, “Oh, just turn the phone upside down in that holder, the music player and podcast player screens will flip and you’ll be fine”. Yeah, but the homescreen doesn’t flip… Plus, the power button is on the top so when it’s sitting in that holder, there’s a good chance there is dirt and whatever, getting into the power button, or even worse, just holding the power button down (which usually isn’t the case cause it’s so light), but still, I’m not trying to leave my phone upside down every time I want to listen to music in the car.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me and maybe I’m just being too picky. I love everything else about the phone, I just don’t understand why the headphone jack had to move to the bottom. I think it’s time to do a little customization work on my car so that I can just set the phone in it’s original spot and have a lightning connector and headphone cable poking up through the bottom… but I’m lazy, so that will probably never happen. So can someone give me a real explanation as to why the headphone jack was moved to the bottom? Am I the only one complaining about this?

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What started as a hobby has turned into so much more. The site has changed over the course of the years, but we just try to write about what we enjoy.

  • Taylor Levesque

    When you put the phone in your pocket you normally put it top down correct? That’s why the headphone jack is on the bottom. I use my phone as my music play as well. I like being able to pull it out of my pocket and not have to flip it around in my head to get the proper orientation.

    • I definitely do put my phone in my pocket upside down, but I guess because I don’t really listen to music on my phone unless I’m in the car or at work (meaning the phone isn’t in my pocket), I didn’t see that as being a reason for the headphone jack on the bottom, but you’re absolutely right. It still annoys me in the car though, especially when using GPS and the maps apps (even the new Google Maps for iOS) don’t flip orientation