New Apple technology exploits consumers

Robin Boch, Associate Views Editor

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

The buzz began this year with the iPhone 7’s unveiling in early September. From tech bloggers, to consumers, no one has stopped talking about it since.

The iPhone’s new features include water-resistant protection, a home button redesigned with force sensitivity, a thinner design, improved battery life and performance speed. These new updates may appear exciting and innovative to some but is not worth the high price tag or the possible health risks associated with the lack of a headphone jack and the use of wireless earbuds.

Though it is possible to use standard headphones and Apple EarPods with the iPhone 7, the process is inconvenient. New models of EarPods are now plugged directly into the Lightning port that in the past had only been used for charging the device. Headphones and EarPods with a 3.5 millimeter (.14 inches) plug can now only work in conjunction with an adapter. The other option, of course, is that customers can choose to either use Bluetooth headphones or purchase a pair of the newly released wireless earbuds known as AirPods.

Apple’s new AirPods are essentially regular earbuds with the wires gone. The announcement of this new headphone option was very exciting to many Apple customers, but when taking a closer look at this device, it is evident that we are not yet ready for all technology to be wireless.

One downside to the AirPods is it requires constant charging, as its battery life only lasts for five hours. Additionally, it cannot be used for noise cancellation and does not give customers high-quality audio.

More concerning is the likelihood that when using AirPods, customers are exposing themselves to radio frequency, which is known to have negative health effects. RF is composed of non-ionizing radiation, which is much less dangerous than the ionizing radiation used in devices such as x-rays. Many cell phone companies, including Apple, have been known to advise customers against holding RF devices against the ear.

“To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones or other similar accessories,” Apple said to users of the iPhone 6. By using these same RF devices in AirPods, however, Apple is going against what they have advised and possibly endangering customers’ health.

The new iPhone updates and the release of AirPods appears as just another way for Apple to make money.

In 2012, it was new chargers, iHomes and other docking systems. Today, it is headphones, earbuds and wireless earbuds, all of which will result in more profits for Apple.

In addition to these costs, the price tag of the iPhone itself has also risen significantly compared to release prices of previous models. Thirty-two GB iPhones are expected to cost about $702, but the 32GB iPhone 7 sellss for $780. When you also consider that customers must spend an additional $159 if they want a pair of AirPods, these new products are quite an investment for technology that’s reportedly difficult to use and associated possible health risks.

Robin is a freshman at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected]